Liang Ma, Ph.D.
Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases
Department of Pharmacology
Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. schizophrenia) and neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) are highly heritable diseases. The long-term goal of his lab is to bridge neurogenetics and neurobiology by determining risk genes/transcripts across a range of human brain diseases, and investigate which and how genomic variations affect gene transcriptions and further contribute to diseases’ risk.
His research interest focuses on identifying causative genomic variations, genes, and splicing transcripts of human polygenic diseases using genome-wide association study (GWAS), whole-genome sequencing (WGS), RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, and DNA methylation. Using cutting-edge integrative omics approaches, he has identified a list of functional genetic variants and gene domains (e.g., SNX19, CYP2D6) that potentially increase the risk of schizophrenia. Another research interest of his lab is performing genome editing on neural stem cells of their identified genomic targets, followed by genome editing of human iPS cell lines, and differentiated them to functional neurons and glia for mechanism investigation. The results will help provide accurate molecular targets to guide the future development of precise and effective therapeutics.
He received his Ph.D. degree in Human Genetics at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He performed his postdoc work at the School of Medicine of Johns Hopkins and Stanford. He has published 17 papers, 7 of them are first-authored that include 3 papers published on Molecular Psychiatry. Furthermore, Dr. Ma served as a reviewer for 14 peer-reviewed journals.
- 2014 - PhD. - Genetics - University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
- 2010 - M.S. - Genetics - Northwest A&F University
- 2007 - B.S. - Animal Science - Shanxi Agricultural University
Instruction & Training
- 07/2014 - 06/2017, Postdoctoral fellow, Lieber Institute for Brain Development, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- 07/2017 – 11/2017, Postdoctoral fellow, School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
- 12/2017 – 01/2019, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
- 02/2019 – 08/2020, Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
Research & Grants
- Ma L*, Scherbina A, Chetty S*. (2020) Variations and expression features of CYP2D6 contribute to schizophrenia risk. Molecular Psychiatry. PMID: 32047265 *Corresponding author
- Ma L, Semick SA, Chen Q, Li C, Tao R, Price AJ, Shin JH, Jia Y, BrainSeq Consortium, Brandon NJ, Cross AJ, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE, Jaffe AE, Weinberger DR, Straub RE. (2019) Schizophrenia risk variants influence multiple classes of transcripts of sorting nexin 19 (SNX19). Molecular Psychiatry. PMID: 30635639
- Ma L, Jia P, Zhao Z (2018) Splicing QTL of human adipose-related traits. Scientific Reports 8:318. PMID: 29321599
- Ma L, Wu DD, Ma SL, Tan L, Chen X, Tang NL, Yao YG (2014) Molecular evolution in the CREB1 signal pathway and a rare haplotype in CREB1 with genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatric Research 57:84-89. PMID: 25043418
- Ma L, Tang J, Wang D, Zhang W, Liu W, Liu XH, Gong W, Yao YG, Chen X (2013) Evaluating risk loci for schizophrenia distilled from genome-wide association studies in Han Chinese from central China. Molecular Psychiatry 18: 638-639. PMID: 22584866
- Ma L, Zhang W, Tang J, Tan L, Yao YG, Chen X (2013) No association between genetic polymorphisms of the NDUFS7 gene and schizophrenia in Han Chinese. Psychiatric Genetics 23: 29-32. PMID: 22935918
- Ma L, Qu YJ, Huai YT, Li ZJ, Wang J, Lan XY, Zhang CL, Wang JQ, Chen H (2011) Polymorphisms identification and associations of KLF7 gene with cattle growth traits. Livestock Science 135: 1-7
- Price AJ, Collado-Torres L, Ivanov NA, Xia W, Burke EE, Shin JH, Tao R, Ma L, Jia Y, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE, Weinberger DR, Jaffe AE (2018) Divergent neuronal DNA methylation patterns across human cortical development: Critical periods and a unique role of CpH methylation. Genome Biology 20:196. PMID: 31554518
- Tenenbaum JD, Bhuvaneshwar K, Gagliardi JP, Hollis KF, Jia P, Ma L, Nagarajan R, Rakesh G, Subbian V, Visweswaran S, Zhao Z, Rozenblit L (2017) Translational bioinformatics in mental health: open access data sources and computational biomarker discovery. Briefings in Bioinformatics. PMID: 29186302
- Su LY, Li H, Lv L, Feng YM, Li GD, Luo R, Zhou HJ, Lei XG, Ma L, Li JL, Xu L, Hu XT, Yao YG (2015) Melatonin attenuates MPTP-induced neurotoxicity via preventing CDK5-mediated autophagy and SNCA/α-synuclein aggregation. Autophagy 11:1745-1759. PMID: 26292069
- Qu Y, Liu Y, Ma L, Sweeney S, Lan X, Chen Z, Li Z, Lei C, Chen H (2011) Novel SNPs of butyrophilin (BTN1A1) and milk fat globule epidermal growth factor (EGF) 8 (MFG-E8) are associated with milk traits in dairy goat. Molecular Biology Reports 38: 371-377. PMID: 20361262