Mao Lab

Axonal projections in the striatal cortex

Scientist and Principal Investigator: Tianyi Mao

Opportunities for young scientists

The research mission of the Mao Lab is to gain mechanistic understanding of the neural circuitry underlying motor control and sensori-motor integration in both normal and motor deficient animals. We value high quality science, collaboration and career development for young scientists. RO1 funded postdoctoral fellow positions are currently available. We also encourage graduate students and undergraduate students who are excited by our research to contact us. Please email Tianyi Mao (mao AT ohsu DOT edu) with any inquiries.

A Comprehensive Thalamocortical Projection Map at the Mesoscopic Level

The Mao Lab used modern viral tracing techniques and high-speed imaging to label thalamic projections and image their cortical targets from 75 brains with 254 injections. A comprehensive thalamocortical projection map, with a quantitative description of the thalamic origin of 19 cortical targets, is available to the public.

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Current lab members

Tianyi Mao in the Mao Lab

Tianyi Mao, Scientist and Principal Investigator
Contact: mao AT ohsu DOT edu

After earning her B.S. in Biological Science and Biotechnology at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 1997, Mao 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. Mao was appointed as an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute in September 2010.

Yang Chen in the Mao Lab

Yang Chen, Graduate Student
Contact: chenyan AT ohsu DOT edu

Yang joined the Mao lab in 2018 as an NGP graduate student. She earned her B.A. in Biological Chemistry from Grinnell College, where she studied the effect of homocysteine on neurotransmission in the mouse neuromuscular junction. For her graduate work, Yang plans to explore subregional inhibitory circuits in the striatum using laser scanning photostimulation combined with electrophysiology. Outside of the lab, Yang enjoys music, travelling and developing cooking recipes.

Bart Jongbloets in the Mao Lab

Bart Jongbloets, Postdoc
Contact: jongbloe AT ohsu DOT edu

Bart joined the Mao lab in summer 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow. He earned his Ph.D. at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Translational Neuroscience, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. During his graduate studies he identified novel roles for Semaphorin 7A, an axon guidance protein, in the adult brain. By combining his expertise in biochemistry and genetics with electrophysiology, optogenetics and 2-photon imaging, Bart will investigate the heterogeneity of functional circuitry in the striatum. Outside the lab, Bart enjoys testing new cooking protocols and kitesurfing in the wind and waves off the Oregon coast.

Tess Lameyer in the Mao Lab

Tess Lameyer, Research Assistant 2
Contact: lameyer AT ohsu DOT edu

After completing the neuroscience honors thesis program Bowdoin College with a focus on neurophysiology and transcriptomics, Tess joined the Mao lab in 2017 as a research assistant. Her stereotactic injection surgeries, staining and tracing of neuron structures, and support of optogenetic imaging experiments is part of the lab's investigation into the neural circuitry of the mouse insular cortex. When not in lab, Tess spends her time drawing and painting, supporting community arts events, and visiting the oceanside.

Crystian Massengill in the Mao Lab

Crystian Massengill, Research Assistant 2
Contact: massengi AT ohsu DOT edu

Crystian joined the Mao lab as a research assistant in 2018 after graduating with dual degrees in Neuroscience and Religion Studies from Muhlenberg College. He is fundamentally interested in understanding the neural correlates of phenomenological experiences, and by utilizing two-photon imaging in conjunction with techniques in molecular biology, he continues an investigation into the development of sensors and manipulators for neuromodulatory activity with single-cell resolution. Outside of the lab, Crystian is an avid writer, pianist, and weightlifter, and he most enjoys relaxing with a cup of coffee and his kitten Artemis.

Michael Muniak with his record collection

Michael Muniak, Assistant Staff Scientist
Contact: muniak AT ohsu DOT edu

Michael joined the Mao lab at the start of 2019 as an assistant staff scientist. He was raised in the hinterlands of northern Michigan before spending ten years in Baltimore, MD, where he earned both his B.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2011) from Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Prof. David Ryugo. He then followed Prof. Ryugo to the antipodes, continuing his research on the structure and function of central auditory pathways as a postdoc at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, Australia. He will now apply his expertise on reconstructing and objectively characterizing neural circuits to the central nervous system. Beyond the bench, Michael maintains an ever-growing record collection that stretches common definitions of music, supports the experimental arts community, and enjoys exploring the outdoors with his partner.

Maozhen Qin in the Mao and Zhong Labs

Maozhen Qin, Lab Manager
Contact: qinm AT ohsu DOT edu

Maozhen obtained a bachelor's degree in nursing in China and has been working as a research assistant since 2008. She joined the Mao lab in 2011 where she quickly became the "go-to" person for genotyping, culturing slices, performing animal surgeries, and maintaining the inventory of lab supplies. Outside of work, Maozhen enjoys camping and hiking.

Contact information

Lab phone number

503-494-9285

Lab location

Vollum Room 2419

Faculty support

Ruth Frank
Administrative Coordinator

Email: frankru AT ohsu DOT edu
Phone: 503-494-0517

Mailing address

Tianyi Mao Lab
Vollum Institute, OHSU
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Mail code L474 (regular mail)
Dock 4, Vollum Rm. 2419 (express mail)
Portland, OR 97239-3098

Name Years in Lab Lab Position Current Position
Jessica Li 2011 Summer student Undergraduate Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
Deniz Kusefoglu 2010–2012 Master thesis student
Brian Long 2010–2013 Postdoc Scientist, Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle
Jian Qiu 2012–2013 Postdoc Research Assistant Professor, Physiology & Pharmacology, OHSU
Nicole Vollum 2013 Student Undergraduate Student, Reed College, Portland
Barbara Jeannie Hunnicutt 2011–2015 Graduate Student Data Scientist