Huiping Zhang, PhD

Research Scientist; Assistant Professor (2009-2016)

Research Interests

Mental Disorders; Genetics; Psychiatry; Stem Cells; Genomics; Epigenomics

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Human Genetics, Division of | Psychology Section

Faculty Research

Stem Cell Center, Yale

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

We are examining genetic and epigenetic changes that may increase the risk for substance dependence and related psychiatric disorders.

Specialized Terms: Substance Dependence; Psychiatric Genetics; Epigenetics; Functional genomics; Stem cell

Extensive Research Description

Our research goal is to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of substance (alcohol or drug) dependence and related psychiatric disorders. We are using a number of approaches [such as candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) as well as next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies] to identify gene variants that influence the vulnerability to the disorders. We are also profiling transcriptomic and epigenomic changes (such as mRNA and microRNA as well as DNA methylomic alterations) in saliva, blood, and reward-related brain regions of subjects affected with substance dependence. Transcriptomic and epigenomic changes identified in postmortem brains of human subjects affected with substance dependence are being validated using a mouse model. Moreover, we are performing post-GWAS research to (1) prioritize substance dependence-associated variants using bioinformatics approaches, and (2) study the function of prioritized variants (particularly noncoding variants) using massive parallel reporter assay and RNA sequencing (MPRA/RNA-Seq). Additionally, we are using human embryonic stem cell (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons as models to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of substance dependence.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Huiping Zhang, PhD
Mailing Address
Veterans Affairs Medical Center / 116A2
950 Campbell Avenue

West Haven, CT 06516