Cungui Mao, PhD

Cungui Mao, PhD
Professor of Medicine

Dr. Mao received his PhD from East China Normal University (ECNU) and Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, and obtained his postdoctoral training in Dr. Lina Obeid’s laboratory at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Mao has been working on the metabolism and signaling functions of bioactive lipids, sphingolipids in particular, in different species, such as yeast, insects, and mammals for two decades. Dr. Mao and his associates have identified and cloned numerous genes encoding enzymes responsible the metabolism of sphingolipids, including two yeast sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) phosphatases (YSR2 and YSR3), two yeast alkaline ceramidases (YPC1 and YDC1), one Drosophila alkaline ceramidase (DaCER1), three mouse alkaline ceramidases (Acer1, Acer2, and Acer3), and three human alkaline ceramidases (ACER1, ACER2, and ACER3). Dr. Mao’s group have demonstrated that these enzymes play important roles in regulating bioactive sphingolipids implicated in various biological processes. His research achievements are highlighted as follows:

  1. Yeast YSR2 and YSR3 regulate heat stress response and cell cycle progression in yeast cells.
  2. Yeast YPC1 and YDC1 regulate heat stress response, cell cycle progression, and chronological life span.
  3. Drosophila melanogaster DaCER1 regulates oxidative stress response and longevity.
  4. Acer1/ACER1 regulates epidermal keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation, epidemal barrier function, hair follicle stem cell homeostasis.
  5. Acer2/ACER2 regulates cell cycle progression, cell survival, apoptosis, cell adhesion, DNA damage response, angiogenesis, tumorigenesis, and placenta development.
  6. Acer3/ACER3 regulates neuronal survival and inflammation.
  7. ACER3 mutations are linked to various neurological disorders, such as spinocerebellular ataxia and leukodystrophgy.

The long-term goal of Dr. Mao’s group is to develop novel approaches to the prevention and intervention of cancers and age-related diseases based on a deep understanding of the roles of these enzymes in regulating the metabolism of bioactive sphingolipids and biological responses.

For a complete list of Dr. Mao's publications, Click Here.