Qinghua TAO,Ph.D.


2008 – present      Professor, School of Life Sciences (replacing the Department of Biological

                   Sciences and Biotechnology), Tsinghua University

2000 – 2008        Postdoctoral research fellow, associate, Children’s Hospital Medical center,

                  Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

1995 – 2000          Ph.D. candidate in the Developmental Biology and Cell Biology Program at Shanghai Institute of Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

1992—1995         Research assistant, Department of Biological technology, China Institute for Radiation protection, Taiyuan, China

1988 – 1992                Major in Genetics and Bio-engineering in the Department of Bio-engineering at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.

Research interest

Using Xenopus and neural stem cells as main model systems, taking advantages of modern technology in the molecular biology, genetics, functional genomics, and mass-spectrometry, we seek better understanding of how the pluripotency of embryonic cells is established and progressively lost during early embryogenesis and neurogenesis. In recent years, we focus on the subjects as follow:

1.       How do the maternal transcription factors (TFs) shape and reprogram the genome during the maternal-to-zygotic transition? We use the state-of-art mass-spectrometry to systematically identify maternally supplied TFs and take combinatorial approaches of ChIP-Seq and ChIP-MS to study the function of TFs in large scale.

2.       How do the proneural factors Ascl1 and Neurog2 regulate the neurogenic potential and neuronal differentiation? We focus on how Ascl1 and Neurog2 differentially interact with the chromatin modifiers during neurogenesis in vivo and in vitro.

3.       The regulation of Iron-Sulfur (Fe-S) cluster metabolism and its role in early embryonic development.


Selected publications

[1]     Gao L, Zhu XC, Chen G, Ma X, Zhang Y, Khand A, Shi H, Gu F, Lin H, Chen Y, Zhang H, He L, Tao QH* (2016) A novel role for Ascl1 in the regulation of mesndoderm formation via HDAC-dependent antagonism of VegT function. Development, 143:492-503. (*Correspondence authors).

[2]     Min Z, Lin H, Tao QH* (2016) Wdr5-mediated H3K4 timethylation is required for the Spemann’s organizer gene activation in Xenopus. (under revision; * correspondence author).

[3]     Zhu X, Min Z, Tan R, Tao QH* (2015) NF2/Merlin is required for the pattern formation in the Xenopus embryo. Mech Dev. 138:305-312. (* correspondence author).

[4]     Chen G, Tan RB, Tao QH* (2015) Sebox regulates mesoderm formation in early amphibian embryos. Dev. Dyn. 244(11):1415-26. (* correspondence author).

[5]     Sun G, Hu Z, Min Z, Yan X, Guan Z, Su H, Fu Y, Ma X, Chen YG, Zhang MQ*, Tao QH*, Wu W* (2015) Small C-terminal Domain Phosphatase 3 Dephosphorylates the Linker Sites of Receptor-regulated Smads (R-Smads) to Ensure Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ)-mediated Germ Layer Induction in Xenopus Embryos. J. Biol. Chem. 290(28):17239-49. (* co-correspondence authors).

[6]     Xue Y, Zheg X, Huang L, Xu P, Ma Y, Min Z, Tao QH, Tao Y, Meng A (2014) Organizer-derived Bmp2 is required for the formation of a correct Bmp activity gradient during embryonic development. Nat. Comm. 5 article # 3766; doi:10.1038/ncomms4766.

[7]     Zhang Y, Ding Y, Chen YG*, Tao QH* (2014) NEDD4L regulates convergent extension movements in Xenopus embryos via Dishevelled-mediated non-canonical Wnt signaling. Dev. Biol.  392(2014): 15-25. (* Co-correspondence authors).

[8]     Ding Y, Zhang Y, Xu C, Tao QH* and Chen YG* (2013) HECT Domain-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase NEDD4L negatively regulates Wnt signaling by targeting Dishevelled for proteasomal degradation. J. Biol. Chem. 288, 8289-98. (* Co-correspondence authors)

[9]     Tao QH, Nandadasa S, McCrea P, Heasman J and Wylie C. (2007) G protein-coupled signals control actin assembly by controlling cadherin expression in the early Xenopus embryos. Development, 134(14):2651-61.

[10] Tao QH, Yokota C, Puck H, Kofron M, Birsoy B, Dong Y, Asashima M, Wylie C, Lin X and 

[11] Heasman J. (2005a). Maternal Wnt11 activates the canonical Wnt signaling pathway required for axis formation in Xenopus embryos. Cell 120:857-871.


Contact information



Email: qhtaolab@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn