Photo of Tianyi Mao, Ph.D.

Tianyi Mao Ph.D.

Tianyi Mao is a scientist in the Vollum Institute at OHSU. After earning her B.S. in Biological Science and Biotechnology at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 1997, she received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2005. She did postdoctoral research at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and then at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus. Dr. Mao joined the Vollum Institute in 2010 and was promoted to scientist in 2017.

The research mission of the Mao Lab is to examine the functional connectivity within basal ganglia and its interaction with cerebral cortex and thalamus. The basal ganglia are critical for many fundamental brain functions, such as movement control and decision-making. Dysfunction of the basal ganglia contributes to the pathophysiology of many neurodegenerative diseases, most notably Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Areas of interest

  • basal ganglia circuit analysis
  • cortical-subcortical interactions
  • optogenetics
  • genetically engineered calcium indicators
  • two-photon calcium imaging


  • B.S., Tsinghua University, Beijing China 1997
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore Maryland 2005


  • "Ontogenetic establishment of order-specific nuclear organization in the mammalian thalamus." Nature Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 20, No. 4, 29.03.2017, p. 516-528.
  • "Stage-specific functions of Semaphorin7A during adult hippocampal neurogenesis rely on distinct receptors." Nature Communications  In: , Vol. 8, 14666, 10.03.2017.
  • "A comprehensive excitatory input map of the striatum reveals novel functional organization." eLife  In: , Vol. 5, No. November2016, e19103, 28.11.2016.
  • "Optogenetic Control of Mouse Outer Hair Cells." Biophysical Journal In: , Vol. 110, No. 2, 19.01.2016, p. 493-502.
  • "Live imaging of endogenous PSD-95 using ENABLED : A conditional strategy to fluorescently label endogenous proteins." Journal of Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 34, No. 50, 10.12.2014, p. 16698-16712.
  • "A comprehensive thalamocortical projection map at the mesoscopic level." Nature Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 17, No. 9, 01.09.2014, p. 1276-1285.
  • "Organization of cortical and thalamic input to pyramidal neurons in mouse motor cortex." Journal of Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 33, No. 2, 09.01.2013, p. 748-760.
  • "A toolbox of Cre-dependent optogenetic transgenic mice for light-induced activation and silencing." Nature Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 15, No. 5, 05.2012, p. 793-802.
  • "Long-Range Neuronal Circuits Underlying the Interaction between Sensory and Motor Cortex." Neuron  In: , Vol. 72, No. 1, 06.10.2011, p. 111-123.
  • "A role for Myosin VI in the localization of axonal proteins." PLoS Biology In: , Vol. 9, No. 3, e1001021, 03.2011.
  • "Inputs to the dorsal striatum of the mouse reflect the parallel circuit architecture of the forebrain." Frontiers in Neuroanatomy In: , No. DEC, 27.12.2010.
  • "Subcellular Dynamics of Type II PKA in Neurons." Neuron  In: , Vol. 62, No. 3, 14.05.2009, p. 363-374.
  • "Myosin-dependent targeting of transmembrane proteins to neuronal dendrites." Nature Neuroscience In: , Vol. 12, No. 5, 05.2009, p. 568-576.
  • "The subcellular organization of neocortical excitatory connections." Nature  In: , Vol. 457, No. 7233, 26.02.2009, p. 1142-1145.
  • "Imaging neural activity in worms, flies and mice with improved GCaMP calcium indicators." Nature Methods In: , Vol. 6, No. 12, 2009, p. 875-881.
  • "Characterization and subcellular targeting of GCaMP-type genetically-encoded calcium indicators." PLoS One  In: , Vol. 3, No. 3, e1796, 19.03.2008.
  • "MICALs, a family of conserved flavoprotein oxidoreductases, function in plexin-mediated axonal repulsion." Cell In: , Vol. 109, No. 7, 28.06.2002, p. 887-900.

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