Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Duke University (2015)
  • Bachelor of Science, China Agricultural University (2006)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Differentiation and maturation of oligodendrocytes in human three-dimensional neural cultures. Nature neuroscience Marton, R. M., Miura, Y., Sloan, S. A., Li, Q., Revah, O., Levy, R. J., Huguenard, J. R., Pașca, S. P. 2019


    Investigating human oligodendrogenesis and the interaction of oligodendrocytes with neurons and astrocytes would accelerate our understanding of the mechanisms underlying white matter disorders. However, this is challenging because of the limited accessibility of functional human brain tissue. Here, we developed a new differentiation method of human induced pluripotent stem cells to generate three-dimensional brain organoids that contain oligodendrocytes as well as neurons and astrocytes, called human oligodendrocyte spheroids. We found that oligodendrocyte lineage cells derived in human oligodendrocyte spheroids transitioned through developmental stages similar to primary human oligodendrocytes and that the migration of oligodendrocyte lineage cells and their susceptibility to lysolecithin exposure could be captured by live imaging. Moreover, their morphology changed as they matured over time in vitro and started myelinating neurons. We anticipate that this method can be used to study oligodendrocyte development, myelination, and interactions with other major cell types in the CNS.

    View details for PubMedID 30692691

  • Spatiotemporal Control of CNS Myelination by Oligodendrocyte Programmed Cell Death through the TFEB-PUMA Axis. Cell Sun, L. O., Mulinyawe, S. B., Collins, H. Y., Ibrahim, A., Li, Q., Simon, D. J., Tessier-Lavigne, M., Barres, B. A. 2018


    Nervous system function depends on proper myelination for insulation and critical trophic support for axons. Myelination is tightly regulated spatially and temporally, but how it is controlled molecularly remains largely unknown. Here, we identified key molecular mechanisms governing the regional and temporal specificity of CNS myelination. We show that transcription factor EB (TFEB) is highly expressed by differentiating oligodendrocytes and that its loss causes precocious and ectopic myelination in many parts of the murine brain. TFEB functions cell-autonomously through PUMA induction and Bax-Bak activation to promote programmed cell death of a subset of premyelinating oligodendrocytes, allowing selective elimination of oligodendrocytes in normally unmyelinated brain regions. This pathway is conserved across diverse brain areas and is critical for myelination timing. Our findings define an oligodendrocyte-intrinsic mechanism underlying the spatiotemporal specificity of CNS myelination, shedding light on how myelinating glia sculpt the nervous system during development.

    View details for PubMedID 30503207

  • Microglia and macrophages in brain homeostasis and disease NATURE REVIEWS IMMUNOLOGY Li, Q., Barres, B. A. 2018; 18 (4): 225–42


    Microglia and non-parenchymal macrophages in the brain are mononuclear phagocytes that are increasingly recognized to be essential players in the development, homeostasis and diseases of the central nervous system. With the availability of new genetic, molecular and pharmacological tools, considerable advances have been made towards our understanding of the embryonic origins, developmental programmes and functions of these cells. These exciting discoveries, some of which are still controversial, also raise many new questions, which makes brain macrophage biology a fast-growing field at the intersection of neuroscience and immunology. Here, we review the current knowledge of how and where brain macrophages are generated, with a focus on parenchymal microglia. We also discuss their normal functions during development and homeostasis, the disturbance of which may lead to various neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.

    View details for PubMedID 29151590

  • Single-cell transcriptomics of 20 mouse organs creates a Tabula Muris. Nature 2018; 562 (7727): 367–72


    Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4

    View details for PubMedID 30283141

  • Developmental Heterogeneity of Microglia and Brain Myeloid Cells Revealed by Deep Single-Cell RNA Sequencing. Neuron Li, Q., Cheng, Z., Zhou, L., Darmanis, S., Neff, N. F., Okamoto, J., Gulati, G., Bennett, M. L., Sun, L. O., Clarke, L. E., Marschallinger, J., Yu, G., Quake, S. R., Wyss-Coray, T., Barres, B. A. 2018


    Microglia are increasingly recognized for their major contributions during brain development and neurodegenerative disease. It is currently unknown whether these functions are carried out by subsets of microglia during different stages of development and adulthood or within specific brain regions. Here, we performed deep single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of microglia and related myeloid cells sorted from various regions of embryonic, early postnatal, and adult mouse brains. We found that the majority of adult microglia expressing homeostatic genes are remarkably similar in transcriptomes, regardless of brain region. By contrast, early postnatal microglia are more heterogeneous. We discovered a proliferative-region-associated microglia (PAM) subset, mainly found in developing white matter, that shares a characteristic gene signature with degenerative disease-associated microglia (DAM). Such PAM have amoeboid morphology, are metabolically active, and phagocytose newly formed oligodendrocytes. This scRNA-seq atlas will be a valuable resource for dissecting innate immune functions in health and disease.

    View details for PubMedID 30606613