Liang Ma, PhD

Assistant Professor


Neurodevelopmental disorders, like schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, are highly heritable diseases. The long-term goal of Liang Ma, PhD, 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.

Dr. Ma’s 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, like 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.

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Publications

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–       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

–       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

–       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

–       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