Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Zhonghua Gao, PhD

Zhonghua Gao, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

During mammalian development, hundreds of cell types derived from a single zygote are maintained throughout cell cycles. Deregulation of cell identity is often associated with pathogenesis such as cancer. Despite identical genetic information, cells with distinct identity are controlled by the differential epigenetic landscape. Dr. Zhonghua Gao's research interest is to understand how cell identity is established and maintained via epigenetic mechanisms, particularly how Polycomb group complexes are involved in regulating chromatin structure and gene transcription.

Dr. Gao's lab has established an in vitro neuronal differentiation model using both mouse and human embryonic stem cells. These efforts led to an identification and characterization of novel essential component for a sub-type of PRC1 complex.

The lab is currently continuing to investigate how this regulation controls cell fate determination as well as its involvement in diseases such as cancer and autism.

Dr. Gao is part of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology program at Penn State College of Medicine.


  • Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • Casein Kinase I
  • Neoplasms
  • Peptides
  • Chromatin
  • Genes
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
  • CB 30865
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Calcineurin

Recent Publications


Hanafiah, A, Geng, Z, Wang, Q & Gao, Z 2020, 'Differentiation and characterization of neural progenitors and neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells', Journal of Visualized Experiments, vol. 2020, no. 159, e61446.


Chen, S, Wang, Q, Yu, H, Capitano, ML, Vemula, S, Nabinger, SC, Gao, R, Yao, C, Kobayashi, M, Geng, Z, Fahey, A, Henley, D, Liu, SZ, Barajas, S, Cai, W, Wolf, ER, Ramdas, B, Cai, Z, Gao, H, Luo, N, Sun, Y, Wong, TN, Link, DC, Liu, Y, Boswell, HS, Mayo, LD, Huang, G, Kapur, R, Yoder, MC, Broxmeyer, HE, Gao, Z & Liu, Y 2019, 'Mutant p53 drives clonal hematopoiesis through modulating epigenetic pathway', Nature communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 5649.


Wang, Q, Geng, Z, Gong, Y, Warren, K, Zheng, H, Imamura, Y & Gao, Z 2018, 'WDR68 is essential for the transcriptional activation of the PRC1-AUTS2 complex and neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells', Stem Cell Research, vol. 33, pp. 206-214.

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)