Current Research Projects

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    Relationships among Genetic Regulators of Aging, Health and Lifespan

    Integrative data analysis on different genetic and epidemiology data to understand systemic genetic mechanisms linking to aging/health/lifespan including various complex diseases.

    The objective of the project is to significantly improve our understanding of genetic mechanisms of human aging. A special focus of this research will be on the role of polygenic and pleiotropic genetic effects in determining the aging related phenotypes, and on the use of both hypothesis-free and candidate gene approaches. The first step is evaluating individual and polygenic (additive and epistatic) genetic effects on aging phenotypes specific for this project, without a preceding biological hypothesis, and then repeat the analyses of polygenic influence on the aging traits, using pleiotropic genes, and genes with similar biological functions and relevance to aging, selected as candidates for these analyses. To achieve this objective, four longitudinal human datasets will be used (FHS, CHS, ARIC, and MESA) containing rich phenotypic and genotyping information.

    Specific Aims:

    1. Evaluate individual and additive polygenic influence of SNPs on phenotypes of physiological aging.

    2. Select pleiotropic SNPs and evaluate their additive polygenic and epistatic influence on aging phenotypes.

    3. Investigate biological mechanisms of genetic effects on aging traits.

    4. Select candidate SNPs representing functionally related genes, and evaluate their additive and epistatic influence on aging phenotypes.

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    hdnom: Nomograms for High-Dimensional Cox Models

    R package building nomograms for high-dimensional Cox models, with support for reproducible model validation, calibration and comparison.

    Project website:

    Available from CRAN:

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    liftr: Dockerize R Markdown Documents

    R package for dockerizing R Markdown documents with support for Rabix.

    Project website:

    Available from CRAN:

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    Automatic Genetic Epidemiologist (AGE)

    Web application for large-scale automatic gene annotation and data integration-based network analysis in association studies.

    The goal of the AGE project is to accelerate the process of association study-based discovery by using bioinformatics and computational biology approaches. It will also improve the overall quality of the functional annotation through large-scale data integration.

    Built on machine learning, natural language processing, and integration-based network analysis methods.

Previous Research Projects

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    Air Pollution Exposure, Its Interaction with Genes and the Role of Systemic Inflammation on Skin-Related Outcomes

    Studied environmental and lifestyle factors affecting skin aging in different ethnic groups.

    A longitudinal study on more than 3,000 Chinese with more than 100 environmental factors and more than 50 different age-related outcomes. Please see Publications for details.

    At the same time, I was responsible for briefing several senior investigators from Peking University, Fudan University, CAS and IUF, organizing PhD students and research assistants in order to develop a highly effective team.

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    Environmental Exposures and Associated Genetic Factors for Allergic Diseases in Children

    Studied the genetic, environmental risk factors and their interactions in various allergic diseases.

    Prof. Ursula Krämer and I studied the genetic, environmental risk factors and their interactions in various allergic diseases in GINI and LISA cohort studies, covering almost 10,000 children with age range up 15 years in the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Germany. For this research project, I received a Wood-Whelan Research Fellowship from the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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    Late Cornified Envelope Genes and Their Associations with Psoriasis

    Studied the late cornified envelope genes and their associations with psoriasis in a Chinese population.

    Please see the paper Deletion of the late cornified envelope genes LCE3C and LCE3B is associated with psoriasis in a Chinese population in Publications for details.