Dr. Jiaqian Wu, Ph.D

Dr. Jiaqian Wu, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery & Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine

Email Address: jiaqian.wu@uth.tmc.edu
Phone Number: 713-500-3421
Room Number: SRB 637C


Dr. Jiaqian Wu is an Associate Professor in the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery and Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Wu earned her doctorate in molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where her research focused on novel mammalian gene discovery and the characterization of transcriptome complexity. Dr. Wu led the NIH Mammalian Gene Collection effort and cloned thousands of mammalian genes which are publicly available through GE Dharmacon now.  During her postdoctoral training at Yale University and Stanford University, Dr. Wu employed interdisciplinary approaches including molecular and cellular biology and genomics to study gene expression, transcription factor regulation, and regulatory networks of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. She was one of the first using RNA-Seq to characterize stem cell neural differentiation process. In her independent laboratory at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston, The Wu lab has carried out unprecedented transcriptome profiling for eight highly purified neural cell types from brain by RNA-Seq. The Wu lab identified a large number of novel lncRNAs, and functional and genetic experiments substantiated the role of lncRNA in oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) formation. One of the neurological diseases that Dr. Wu is focusing on is spinal cord injury (SCI). The Wu lab has already published RNA-Seq studies for acute and chronic SCI phases (2 days, 7 days, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months after injury) in mouse and rat contusive injury models.  The Wu lab provided unprecedented data source and a powerful analysis framework for functional investigations of coding and long non-coding RNAs in CNS cell types and SCI.  Dr. Wu’s work has been recognized with prestigious honors and awards, including the National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Annual Meeting Travel Award, the National Institute of Health Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00), R01 and the Senator Lloyd and B.A. Bentsen Investigator Award. A reviewer for NIH, New York State Department of Health-Spinal Cord Injury Research Board, MRC, ANR, the journals Nucleic Acids Research, Genome Research, and Genome Biology, Dr. Wu has presented invited talks and lectures on stem cell biology, neuroscience, and functional genomics at international conferences, the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the University of Florida, etc. She has developed a patent, authored two books, and wrote many articles that have appeared in PNAS, the Journal of Neuroscience, Plos Genetics, Genome Research, Genome Biology, and Nature, among others.

General Research Interests

Wu laboratory combines stem cell biology and systems-based approaches involving genomics, bioinformatics and functional assays to unravel gene transcription and regulatory mechanisms governing stem cell differentiation. One major focus of our group is investigating stem cell neural differentiation and developing effective and safe treatment for spinal cord injury and neurological diseases. We are studying gene expression and the regulation of transcription factors and regulatory RNAs using next-generation sequencing technologies including RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, and ATAC-Seq etc.. These studies are crucial in understanding the molecular mechanism of stem cell neural differentiation and its clinical implications. Our goal is to identify and modulate key regulators as therapeutic targets to direct the differentiation of stem cell into desired neural cell types more efficiently, and to increase transplantation safety.

The other area of our research interest lies in the studies of the regulatory networks of hematopoietic precursor cell self-renewal and differentiation using multipotent EML (erythroid, myeloid, and lymphocytic) cell as a model system. We are using integrated genomic and proteomic approaches to identify key components that control the switch. We have identified TCF7, together with RUNX1 are important regulators in this process. Future study will generate a global interaction network and a novel and comprehensive view of the regulation of early stages of hematopoietic precursor self-renewal and differentiation. This study can serve as a model for the analysis of cell self-renewal and differentiation in general and provide insight for efficient expanding and manipulating hematopoietic precursor and stem cells.

Research Projects

  • Investigate gene expression and regulatory mechanisms during stem cell differentiation
  • Characterize molecular signatures and identify therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury and neurological diseases
  • Pinpoint key transcription factors and regulatory RNAs, and modulate key regulators to steer the direction of stem cell differentiation and improve efficiency
  • Determine the molecular switch of hematopoietic precursor cell self-renewal and differentiation
  • Network analysis of stem cell differentiation and global network integration of multiple types of omic data 


Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:



Wu Lab Research News:

Scientists discover clues to neurological diseases in uncharted area of genome

International Society for Stem Cell Research Member Spotlight on Jiaqian Wu, PhD

Researchers Make Progress Toward Single-Cell Sequencing, Though Key Hurdles Remain

Wide Variety of Genetic Splicing in Embryonic Stem Cells Identified  

Stanford Team Combines Sequencers to Detail Transcriptome Changes in Neural Cell Differentiation

Scientists first to identify wide variety of genetic splicing in embryonic stem cells

Scientists discover clues to neurological diseases in uncharted area of genome