Jianning Tao, Ph.D.


  • Post-doc, Human & Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry/Development Biology, University of Tennessee HSC, Memphis, TN
  • M.S., Biochemistry, West China University of Medical Science, Chengdu, China
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China


  • Assistant Professor, USDSSM

Current Research: 

The Tao Lab investigates the genetic pathways that affect skeletal health and diseases. In particular, we are focused on understanding the role of Notch signaling pathway in the maintenance of bone cancer stem cells and metastasis. We hope to gain better understanding of how the genetic pathways act in a concerted fashion to promote the spread of cancer cells and then to find a way to treat cancer disease. In our lab, we use genetically engineered animal models that recapitulate the development of human OS to address two fundamental questions: 1) how does the genetic pathway such as Notch initiate and promote tumor formation, and 2) what is the mechanism that maintains bone cancer stem cells and promotes metastasis? Mouse tumors and primary cell lines derived from these models will be studied and expression profiling, sequencing, and proteomic analysis will be employed. At the same time, we are also interested in investigating tumor cells of origin and genetic interaction among evolutionarily conserved pathways. Our long-term goal is to better understand the requirement for critical genetic factors and pathways in tumorigenesis, to advance our knowledge of cancer stem cells, and to provide novel diagnostic biomarkers and more effective targeted therapies against childhood cancer.