Yuan Ma


Education and work experience

2002.09-2006.06, Bachelor, Bioengineering, Wuhan University of Technology
2008.09-2015.06, PhD, School of Life Sciences, Wuhan University
2016.09-2018.12, Postdoctoral, Fudan University Cancer Hospital,
2019.05-present, Postdoctoral, Chinese Institute For Brain Research, Beijing

Research Interests

The core of Darwinian evolution is to retain adaptive mutations which means that only adaptive mutation combinations are retained through natural selection. On the whole, evolution is a process from simple to complex, resulting in a multi-level interactive life system. Among them, cell evolution is an important part of this process. The direct product of cell evolution is the diversification of cell types. The essence of cell types corresponds to the evolution of regulatory sequences, which is the main driving force for animal evolution. Our goal is to track the evolutionary history of all cell types by comparing the neuron types of closely related species of Drosophila. This will involve the exploration of cell-type-specific gene regulatory networks of all species, as well as neurobiology and behavioral research methods.

Current research projects

I focus on the evolution of brain cells that control the behavior of Drosophila, and use the classic evolutionary biological problem of sexual selection as a starting point for research. The research will establish a set of neuron types, neuron morphology, axon projections and behavior Evolutionary biology research methods. Specifically:
1) Similar to the genome, using single-cell sequencing technology to define neural cell types from the evolutionary concept and establish a good reference frame. In order to compare cell types, discover the neuron types related to the behavioral phenotype of the species.
2) Genetic modification of the discovered cell types, using imaging to observe their morphology, spatial distribution and development process.
3) Use high-definition imaging equipment to obtain a large amount of behavioral data, conduct artificial intelligence training, complete behavioral definition and behavior model construction. Combining genetic manipulation techniques such as transgenes to mark the differentiation process of neurons and their projections to behavior.
4) Utilizing the rich species resources of Drosophila, after the implementation of this study, a set of multi-level evolution model references from animal cell types, neural circuits, and behaviors can be established. In the end, it will lay a solid foundation for the study of more complex and higher animal intelligence evolution and its influence on behavior.

Representative Publications

1. Zhang Y*, Ma Y*, Li Y, Shen X, Yu Y, Pan Y, Zhang Y, Zheng D, Zhao Y, Ye T, Li B, Hu H, Sun Y, Zhang Y, Xiang J, Chen H. Comparative analysis of co-occurring mutations of specific tumor suppressor genes in lung adenocarcinoma between Asian and Caucasian populations [J]. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol, 2019, 145(3): 747-757.
2. Pan Y, Yuan C, Cheng C, Zhang Y, Ma Y, Zheng D, Zheng S, Li Y, Jin Y, Sun Y, Chen H. Frequency and clinical significance of NF1 mutation in lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian patients [J]. Int J Cancer, 2019, 144(2): 290- 296.
3. Zhang Y*, Ma Y*, Li Y, Shen X, Yu Y, Pan Y, Zhang Y, Yu S, Zheng D, Zhao Y, Hu H, Sun Y, Zhang Y, Xiang J, Chen H. Are exon 19 deletions and L858R different in early stage lung adenocarcinoma? [J]. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol, 2018, 144(1): 165-171.
4. Liang J*, Ma Y*, Wu J, Cheng F, Liu B, Wang X. Map-based cloning of the dominant genic male sterile Ms-cd1 gene in cabbage (Brassica oleracea) [J]. Theor Appl Genet, 2017, 130(1):1. 71-79.
5. Ma Y, Kang J, Wu J, Zhu Y, Wang X. Identification of tapetum-specific genes by comparing global gene expression of four different male sterile lines in Brassica oleracea [J]. Plant Mol Biol, 2015, 87(6): 541-554.