Lab introduction


One of the major focuses in the neuroscience field is to understand the pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, which afflict millions of people worldwide. However, no effective therapeutic interventions have been developed to date. This is partially attributed to our limited knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying these debilitating disorders. In the JiaLab at Tsinghua, we aim to investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of and advance therapeutic-target discovery for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases.


Our main approaches to achieve these goals include animal models of disease using chemical-induced mutant mice, such as mutagen ENU (N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea)-induced mutants. These disease models recapitulate the vital pathological mechanisms of neuro-

degenerative and neurodevelopmental phenotypes. Intriguingly, mice share over 90% gene similarity with humans. The identification of disease mutant genes in mice has significantly deepened our insights into the disease mechanisms. Furthermore, what we have discovered about disease-causing and/or disease-modifying genes will enhance our understanding of their physiological functions in the brain.


Our group employs ENU-induced mutagenesis and screens for new genes or modifiers involved in neurological or neurodegenerative phenotypes. Our current research focuses include:

(1) Investigating the disease mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders resulting from RNA metabolism abnormalities and the dysregulation of ER homeostasis.

(2) Exploring molecular mechanisms underlying mammal vocalization and their dysfunctions in neurodevelopmental disorders.

(3) Developing novel cell and animal models for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

About the PI


Dr. Yichang Jia, Ph. D., is a Tenured Professor in the School of Medicine, Tsinghua University. He is a Principal Investigator at the Peking-Tsinghua Joint Center for Life Sciences, the IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Tsinghua University, and the Tsinghua Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence (THBI). He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai (2006). Subsequently, he joined Dr. Susan Ackerman's laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory/Howard Hugh Medical Institute for his postdoctoral training in mouse genetics and neurodegeneration. His expertise encompasses: 1. The development of rational animal models for ALS; 2. The molecular mechanisms underlying ALS pathogenesis and progression by using these animal models, such as disease mutation knock-in models; 3. The exploration of novel treatments for ALS with gene therapy, such as AAV (Adeno-Associated Virus)-based gene expression and ASO (Antisense oligonucleotides)-mediated gene expression regulation.


JiaLab Tsinghua University