Photo of Tianyi Mao, Ph.D.

Tianyi Mao Ph.D.

Tianyi Mao is an assistant 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.

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


  • Fortin DA, Tillo SE, Yang G, Rah JC, Melander JB, Bai S, Soler-Cedeño O, Qin M, Zemelman BV, Guo C, Mao T*, and Zhong H*. (2014) Live imaging of endogenous PSD-95 using ENABLED: a conditional strategy to fluorescently label endogenous proteins. J. Neurosci. 34:16698-16712. *Co-senior authorship

  • Hunnicutt BJ, Jongbloets BC, Birdsong WT, Gertz KJ, Zhong H, and Mao T. (2016) A comprehensive excitatory input map of the striatum reveals novel functional organization. Elife 5:e19103.

  • Shi W, Xianyu A, Han Z, Tang X, Li Z, Zhong H, Mao T, Huang K, and Shi SH. (2017) Ontogenetic establishment of order-specific nuclear organization in the mammalian thalamus. Nature Neurosci. 20:516-528.

  • Jongbloets BC, Lemstra S, Schellino R, Broekhoven MH, Parkash J, Hellemons AJ, Mao T, Giacobini P, van Praag H, De Marchis S, Ramakers GM, and Pasterkamp RJ. (2017) Stage-specific functions of Semaphorin7A during adult hippocampal neurogenesis rely on distinct receptors. Nature Commun. 8:14666.

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