Huiping Zhang, PhD

Associate Professor, Epigenetics and Addiction Laboratory Principal Investigator

  • Title Associate Professor, Epigenetics and Addiction Laboratory Principal Investigator
  • Education Dr. Huiping Zhang’s research goal is to comprehend the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying substance use disorders (SUD). Employing innovative approaches, Dr. Zhang seeks to identify genetic and epigenetic markers associated with an individual’s predisposition for SUD and related psychiatric illnesses or traits. This research builds upon Dr. Zhang’s research experience gained during an academic appointment at Yale University before joining BMC.

    Supported by NIH (NIDA, NIAAA, & NICHD)-funded grants, Dr. Zhang has been conducting a range of genetic and epigenetic research projects. These include:

    1. Identifying genetic variants associated with SUD and related traits (such as obesity and cognitive flexibility) using genome-wide association studies (GWAS).
    2. Unraveling the function of SUD-associated genetic variants through post-GWAS research.
    3. Studying childhood adversity-associated DNA methylome alterations using DNA methylation assays.
    4. Identifying differentially expressed microRNAs using small RNA-seq in the saliva of subjects with alcohol use disorder (AUD) as biomarkers, in combination with AUD-associated genetic variants, for AUD prediction.
    5. Profiling mRNA and microRNA transcriptome alterations in multiple reward-related brain regions of human subjects with alcohol use disorder (AUD). This involves using next-generation sequencing approaches (RNA-seq and small RNA-seq) to generate AUD-associated brain microRNA-mRNA regulatory networks.
    6. Modeling AUD-associated transcriptome and DNA methylome alterations using drinking-in-the-dark (DID) and chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) exposure in mice and human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neurons.
    7. Modeling microRNA transcriptome changes in the cortico-accumbal pathway during abstinence from escalated cocaine intake in rats.
    8. Examining DNA and RNA methylome alterations in reward-related brain regions of AUD subjects using microarray-based methylation profiling.
    9. Profiling human placental transcriptome and DNA methylome changes associated with prenatal opioid exposure by RNA-seq and DNA methylome assay.

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