Yingtao "Jerry" Zhao, Ph.D., is a biomedical scientist specializing in genomics, glycobiology, and neurobiology. His research aims to understand the molecular basis of heparan sulfate, long genes, and brain disorders. His research uses multidisciplinary approaches, including disease mouse models, genomics, glycobiology, neuroscience, bioinformatics, and molecular biology.

The Zhao laboratory is particularly interested in heparan sulfate and long genes. (1) Heparan sulfate is a sugar molecule that covers the surface of all human cells. Heparan sulfate plays an important role in the pathogenesis of multiple brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Kallmann syndrome. (2) Long genes (> 100 kilobases) are specifically expressed in the brain and show unique genomic and epigenomic features. Long genes are associated with brain disorders, such as autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The long-term goal of the Zhao laboratory is to use mouse models, genomics, and epigenetics to reveal the role and molecular mechanisms of heparan sulfate and long genes in brain disorders, with a hope to eventually develop a cure.

Zhao received his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he specialized in genomics and bioinformatics, and earned his bachelor's degree in economics from the Nanjing University. Lastly, he received his postdoctoral training in epigenetics and brain disorders from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Fundings and Awards

  • 2023, The Department of Defense RCRP Idea Development Award (Co-Investigator)
  • 2023, The Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience (Japan) Research Grant Award (PI)
  • 2022, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) NINDS Research Enhancement Award (PI)
  • 2022, The Adele Smithers Parkinson’s Disease Center Research Grant Award (PI)
  • 2022, The Alzheimer’s Association AARG Award (PI)


  • Sohyun Moon, Ying-Tao Zhao. Convergent biological pathways underlying the Kallmann syndrome-linked genes Hs6st1 and Fgfr1. Human Molecular Genetics, 2022.
  • Sohyun Moon, Ying-Tao Zhao. Recursive splicing is a rare event in the mouse brain. PLOS ONE, 2022.
  • Sohyun Moon, Ying-Tao Zhao. Spatial, temporal, and cell-type-specific expression profiles of genes encoding heparan sulfate biosynthesis enzymes and proteoglycan core proteins. Glycobiology, 2021.
  • Victor Muthu, Alex. M. Rohacek, Yao Yao, Staci M. Rakowiecki, Alexander S. Brown, Ying-Tao Zhao, James Meyers, Kyoung-Jae Won, Shweta Ramdas, Christopher D. Brown, Kevin A. Peterson, Douglas J. Epstein. Genomic architecture of Shh dependent cochlear morphogenesis. Development, 2019.
  • Ying-Tao Zhao, Deborah Y Kwon, Brian S Johnson, Maria Fasolino, Janine M Lamonica, Yoon Jung Kim, Boxuan Simen Zhao, Chuan He, Golnaz Vahedi, Tae Hoon Kim, Zhaolan Zhou. Long genes linked to autism spectrum disorders harbor broad enhancer-like chromatin domains. Genome Research, 2018.
  • Brian S Johnson*, Ying-Tao Zhao*, Maria Fasolino*, Janine M Lamonica, Yoon Jung Kim, George Georgakilas, Kathleen H Wood, Daniel Bu, Yue Cui, Darren Goffin, Golnaz Vahedi, Tae Hoon Kim, Zhaolan Zhou. Biotin tagging of MeCP2 in mice reveals contextual insights into the Rett syndrome transcriptome. Nature Medicine, 2017.
  • Ying-Tao Zhao, Maria Fasolino, Zhaolan Zhou. Locus- and cell-type-specific epigenetic switching during cellular differentiation in mammals. Frontiers in Biology, 2016.
  • Yao Yao, Paul J Minor*, Ying-Tao Zhao*, Yongsu Jeong, Ariel M Pani, Anna N King, Orsolya Symmons, Lin Gan, Wellington V Cardoso, François Spitz, Christopher J Lowe, Douglas J Epstein. Cis-regulatory architecture of a brain signaling center predates the origin of chordates. Nature Genetics, 2016.

View a complete list of publications

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • Case-based Learning 1
  • Case-based Learning 2
  • Neuroanatomy Lab
  • D.O./Ph.D. Research Methods Course

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