Yan Cui, Ph.D.

Yan Cui, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
858 Madison Ave.
101G Molecular Science Building
Memphis, TN 38163
Email: ycui2@uthsc.edu
Lab Webpage
Phone: 901-448-3240
Fax: 901-448-7360


Research Interests

Causal Pathways from Genotype to Phenotype

Elucidating causal pathways bridging genotype and phenotype is one of the fundamental challenges for genetic and genomic research. Gene variants that control phenotypes are typically discovered by combined linkage analysis and molecular validation. However, these genotype-phenotype associations do not expose the underlying causal pathways through which gene variants operate on phenotypes. We are exploring genomic and computational approaches to uncover the causal pathways through which genetic loci influence phenotypes and predict the effects of genetic and transcriptional variations/interventions on gene expression and physiological/behavioral phenotypes of individuals with different genetic backgrounds. We believe research towards this direction will ultimately lead to the development of the computational methods that enable personalized predictive genetics and medicine.

Phenotypic Effects of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

There has been great expectation that knowledge of an individual’s genotype will provide a basis for assessing susceptibility to diseases and designing individualized therapy. Vast majority of sequence variants in humans are differences in single bases of DNA, called single nucleotide polymorphisms. Nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNP) that lead to an amino acid change in the protein product are of particular interest because they account for nearly half of the known genetic variations related to human inherited diseases. We investigate the correlations between selective constraint, structural environments and functional impacts of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) and develop computational methods to predict the phenotypic effects of nsSNPs. We are also study the phenotypic effects of SNPs in the non-coding regions such as insulators and microRNA target sites.


  • Postdoc with Wing Hung Wong, Harvard University, 2000-2002, UCLA, 1999-2000
  • Ph. D. with Runsheng Chen, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1995-1998
  • M. Sc., Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1992-1995
  • B. Sc., Peking University, Department of Physics, 1988-1992