Associate Professor, Epigenetics and Addiction Laboratory Researcher
Title Associate Professor, Epigenetics and Addiction Laboratory Researcher
Education Huiping Zhang is a researcher studying the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of substance (alcohol or drug) dependence and related psychiatric disorders at BMC. Zhang utilizes a number of approaches to identify gene variants that may influence an individual’s predisposition for substance dependence. Zhang joined BMC after completing an academic appointment at Yale University.
Dr Zhang’s research goal is to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of substance (alcohol or drug) dependence and related psychiatric disorders or traits. Supported by NIH (NIDA & NIAAA)-funded grants, he has been performing several genetic and epigenetic research projects: 1) Profile mRNA and miRNAs transcriptome alterations in multiple reward-related brain regions of human subjects with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) using microarray assays and next-generation sequencing approaches (mRNA-Seq and miRNA-Seq) to generate AUD-associated brain miRNA-mRNA regulatory networks; (2) Examine DNA methylome alterations in reward-related brain regions of AUD subjects using DNA methylation array assays; (3) Study childhood adversity-associated DNA methylome alterations using DNA methylation array assays; (4) Verifying AUD-associated transcriptome and DNA methylome alterations using drinking-in-the-dark (DID) mice and human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neurons as models; (5) Identify differentially expressed salivary miRNAs using miRNA-Seq in AUD subjects as biomarkers (in combination with AUD-associated genetic variants) for AUD prediction; (6) Identify genetic variants that are associated with substance dependence and related traits such as obesity and cognitive flexibility using genome-wide association studies (GWAS); and (7) Unravel the function of disease-associated genetic variants by post-GWAS research.