Ziyue Gao, PhD

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Genetics
Department: Genetics

Contact information
405E Clinical Research Building
415 Curie Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Bachelor (Economics)
Tsinghua University, China, 2010.
Bachelor (Biological Sciences)
Tsinghua University, China, 2010.
PhD (Genetics)
University of Chicago, 2015.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise

Research interests: Research in the Gao lab aims to address questions in human genetics in an evolutionary context by computational approaches.

Keywords: population genetics, natural selection, mutation, human disease, complex traits

Research details: One theme of our research is the genesis and accumulation of mutations in natural populations. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms and timing of mutagenesis in the germline and somatic tissues as well as the causes and consequences of mutation rate variation. To answer these questions, we take a computational approach to integrate data from comparative genomics, human genetics, cancer genetics and developmental biology. Another research direction in the lab is to understand the genetic basis and evolution of human phenotypes. We have developed methods to detect and quantify impacts of natural selection under diverse evolutionary scenarios, including purifying selection on severe Mendelian disease mutations, balancing selection in maintaining ancient polymorphism, and stabilizing selection on gene expression. A primary aim of our current research is to understand the genetic architecture and evolution of complex traits in human populations by mathematical modeling and statistical analysis of genomic data from modern and ancient samples.

Selected Publications

Gao, Z., Moorjani, P., Sasani, T. A., Pedersen, B. S., Quinlan, A. R., Jorde, L. B., Amster, G., Przeworski, M.: Overlooked roles of DNA damage and maternal age in generating human germline mutations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(19): 9491-9500, 2019.

Antonio ML*, Gao Z*, Moots HM*, et al., Coppa A, Pinhasi R, Pritchard JK: Ancient Rome: a genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean. Science 366(6466): 708-714, 2019.

Sasani, T. A., Pedersen, B. S., Gao, Z., Baird, L., Przeworski, M., Jorde, L. B., Quinlan, A. R.: Large, three-generation human families reveal post-zygotic mosaicism and variability in germline mutation accumulation. Elife 8, 2019.

Glassberg, E. C., Gao, Z., Harpak, A., Lan, X., Pritchard, J. K.: Evidence for Weak Selective Constraint on Human Gene Expression. Genetics 211(2): 757-772, 2018.

Gao, Z., Wyman, M. J., Sella, G., Przeworski, M.: Interpreting the Dependence of Mutation Rates on Age and Time. PLoS Biol 14(1): e1002355, 2016.

Moorjani, P., Gao, Z., Przeworski, M.: Human Germline Mutation and the Erratic Evolutionary Clock. PLoS Biol 14(10): e2000744, 2016.

Field, Y., Boyle, E. A., Telis, N., Gao, Z., Gaulton, K. J., Golan, D., Yengo, L., Rocheleau, G., Froguel, P., McCarthy, M. I., Pritchard, J. K.: Detection of human adaptation during the past 2000 years. Science 354(6313): 760-764, 2016.

Gao, Z., Waggoner, D., Stephens, M., Ober, C., Przeworski, M.: An estimate of the average number of recessive lethal mutations carried by humans. Genetics 199(4): 1243-54, 2015.

Gao, Z., Przeworski, M., Sella, G.: Footprints of ancient-balanced polymorphisms in genetic variation data from closely related species. Evolution 69(2): 431-46, 2015.

Leffler, E. M., Gao, Z., Pfeifer, S., Segurel, L., Auton, A., Venn, O., Bowden, R., Bontrop, R., Wall, J. D., Sella, G., Donnelly, P., McVean, G., Przeworski, M.: Multiple instances of ancient balancing selection shared between humans and chimpanzees. Science 339(6127): 1578-82, 2013.

back to top
Last updated: 12/19/2023
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania