Cheng-Ming Chuong

National Cheng Kung University, 臺南市, Taiwan, Taiwan

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Publications (85)656.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Regional specificity allows different skin regions to exhibit different characteristics, enabling complementary functions to make effective use of the integumentary surface. Chickens exhibit a high degree of regional specificity in the skin and can serve as a good model for when and how these regional differences begin to emerge.ResultsWe used developing feather and scale regions in embryonic chickens as a model to gauge the differences in their molecular pathways. We employed cosine similarity analysis to identify the differentially regulated and co-regulated genes. We applied low cell techniques for expression validation and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-based enhancer identification to overcome limited cell availabilities from embryonic chicken skin.We identified a specific set of genes demonstrating a high correlation as being differentially expressed during feather and scale development and maturation. Some members of the WNT, TGF-beta/BMP, and Notch family known to be involved in feathering skin differentiation were found to be differentially regulated. Interestingly, we also found genes along calcium channel pathways that are differentially regulated. From the analysis of differentially regulated pathways, we used calcium signaling pathways as an example for further verification. Some voltage-gated calcium channel subunits, particularly CACNA1D, are expressed spatio-temporally in the skin epithelium. These calcium signaling pathway members may be involved in developmental decisions, morphogenesis, or epithelial maturation. We further characterized enhancers associated with histone modifications, including H3K4me1, H3K27ac, and H3K27me3, near calcium channel-related genes and identified signature intensive hotspots that may be correlated with certain voltage-gated calcium channel genes.Conclusion We demonstrated the applicability of cosine similarity analysis for identifying novel regulatory pathways that are differentially regulated during development. Our study concerning the effects of signaling pathways and histone signatures on enhancers suggests that voltage-gated calcium signaling may be involved in early skin development. This work lays the foundation for studying the roles of these gene pathways and their genomic regulation during the establishment of skin regional specificity.
    BMC genomics. 01/2015; 16(1):22.
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of adult stem cells (SCs) is fundamental for organ maintenance and tissue regeneration. On the body surface, different ectodermal organs exhibit distinctive modes of regeneration and the dynamics of their SC homeostasis remain to be unraveled. A slow cycling characteristic has been used to identify SCs in hair follicles and sweat glands; however, whether a quiescent population exists in continuously growing nails remains unknown. Using an in vivo label retaining cells (LRCs) system, we detected an unreported population of quiescent cells within the basal layer of the nail proximal fold, organized in a ring-like configuration around the nail root. These nail LRCs express the hair stem cell marker, keratin 15 (K15), and lineage tracing show that these K15-derived cells can contribute to both the nail structure and peri-nail epidermis, and more toward the latter. Thus, this stem cell population is bifunctional. Upon nail plucking injury, the homeostasis is tilted with these SCs dominantly delivering progeny to the nail matrix and differentiated nail plate, demonstrating their plasticity to adapt to wounding stimuli. Moreover, in vivo engraftment experiments established that transplanted nail LRCs can actively participate in functional nail regeneration. Transcriptional profiling of isolated nail LRCs revealed bone morphogenetic protein signaling favors nail differentiation over epidermal fate. Taken together, we have found a previously unidentified ring-configured population of bifunctional SCs, located at the interface between the nail appendage organ and adjacent epidermis, which physiologically display coordinated homeostatic dynamics but are capable of rediverting stem cell flow in response to injury.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ectodermal appendages such as feathers, hair, mammary glands, salivary glands, and sweat glands form branches, allowing much-increased surface for functional differentiation and secretion. Here, the principles of branching morphogenesis are exemplified by the mammary gland and feathers.
    Cell 08/2014; 158(5):1212–1212.e1. · 33.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Feathers are hallmark avian integument appendages, although they were also present on theropods. They are composed of flexible corneous materials made of α- and β-keratins, but their genomic organization and their functional roles in feathers have not been well studied. First, we made an exhaustive search of α- and β-keratin genes in the new chicken genome assembly (Galgal4). Then, using transcriptomic analysis, we studied α- and β-keratin gene expression patterns in five types of feather epidermis. The expression patterns of β-keratin genes were different in different feather types, while those of α-keratin genes were less variable. In addition, we obtained extensive α- and β-keratin mRNA in situ hybridization data, showing that α-keratins and β-keratins are preferentially expressed in different parts of the feather components. Together, our data suggest that feather morphological and structural diversity can largely be attributed to differential combinations of α- and β-keratin genes in different intra-feather regions and/or feather types from different body parts. The expression profiles provide new insights into the evolutionary origin and diversification of feathers. Finally, functional analysis using mutant chicken keratin forms based on those found in the human α-keratin mutation database led to abnormal phenotypes. This demonstrates that the chicken can be a convenient model for studying the molecular biology of human keratin-based diseases.
    Genome Biology and Evolution 08/2014; · 4.53 Impact Factor
  • Lorenzo Alibardi, Ping Wu, Cheng-Ming Chuong
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    ABSTRACT: Feathers regenerate from stem cells localized in a region of the follicle indicated as the bulge of the collar. Stem cells are slow cycling cells and some of these cells can be identified after labeling experiments using 5-bromo-deoxyuridine to detect label retaining cells (5BrdU LRCs). The present electron microscopic analysis of 5BrdU LRCs has described the ultrastructural characteristics of small cells present in the bulge region of the follicle in regenerating feathers of chickens that include stem cells. Labeled feather stem cells are smaller than 10 lm in average diameter, possess large nuclei with high nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, and contain evenly distributed ribosomes, sparse bundles of intermediate filaments, scarce or no endoplasmic reticulum, and few mitochondria. The nuclei are mainly euchromatic with a variable amount of heterochromatin clumps and the nucleoli show developed granular and fibrillar components. These features indicate that feather stem cells are transcriptionally active cells for ribosomal and proteins synthesis. The cell surface of feather stem cells often shows small and irregular folds resembling microvilli in contact with the surrounding cells. The latter characteristics may be related to the exchange of molecules and/or with the migration of stem cells among other epithelial cells of the collar epithelium.
    Journal of Morphology 07/2014; 275(7):768-74. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    Ping Wu, Lorenzo Alibardi, Cheng-Ming Chuong
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    ABSTRACT: Lizard skin can produce scales during embryonic development, tail regeneration, and wound healing; however, underlying molecular signaling and extracellular matrix protein expression remains unknown. We mapped cell proliferation, signaling and extracellular matrix proteins in regenerating and developing lizard scales in different body regions with different wound severity. Following lizard tail autotomy (self-amputation), de novo scales regenerate from regenerating tail blastema. Despite topological differences between embryonic and adult scale formation, asymmetric cell proliferation produces the newly formed outer scale surface. Regionally different responses to wounding were observed; open wounds induced better scale regeneration from tail skin than trunk skin. Molecular studies suggest NCAM enriched dermal regions exhibit higher cell proliferation associated with scale growth. β-catenin may be involved in epidermal scale differentiation. Dynamic tenascin-C expression suggests its involvement in regeneration. We conclude that different skin regions exhibit different competence for de novo scale formation. While cellular and morphogenetic paths differ during development and regeneration of lizard scale formation, they share general proliferation patterns, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and similar molecular modules composed of adhesion and extracellular matrix molecules.
    Regeneration. 02/2014; 1(1):15-26.
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    ABSTRACT: Avian feathers have robust growth and regeneration capability. To evaluate the contribution of signaling molecules and pathways in these processes, we profiled gene expression in the feather follicle using an absolute quantification approach. We identified hundreds of genes that mark specific components of the feather follicle: the dermal papillae (DP) which controls feather regeneration and axis formation, the pulp mesenchyme (Pp) which is derived from DP cells and nourishes the feather follicle, and the ramogenic zone epithelium (Erz) where a feather starts to branch. The feather DP is enriched in BMP/TGF-β signaling molecules and inhibitors for Wnt signaling including Dkk2/Frzb. Wnt ligands are mainly expressed in the feather epithelium and pulp. We find that while Wnt signaling is required for the maintenance of DP marker gene expression and feather regeneration, excessive Wnt signaling delays regeneration and reduces pulp formation. Manipulating Dkk2/Frzb expression by lentiviral-mediated overexpression, shRNA-knockdown, or by antibody neutralization resulted in dual feather axes formation. Our results suggest that the Wnt signaling in the proximal feather follicle is fine-tuned to accommodate feather regeneration and axis formation.
    Developmental Biology 01/2014; · 3.64 Impact Factor
  • Maksim V Plikus, Cheng-Ming Chuong
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    ABSTRACT: The hair follicle (HF) regeneration paradigm provides a unique opportunity for studying the collective behavior of stem cells in living animals. Activation of HF stem cells depends on the core inhibitory BMP and activating WNT signals operating within the HF microenvironment. Additionally, HFs receive multilayered signaling inputs from the extrafollicular macroenvironment, which includes dermis, adipocytes, neighboring HFs, hormones, and external stimuli. These activators/inhibitors are integrated across multiple stem-cell niches to produce dynamic hair growth patterns. Because of their pigmentation, these patterns can be easily studied on live shaved animals. Comparing to autonomous regeneration of one HF, populations of HFs display coupled decision making, allowing for more robust and adaptable regenerative behavior to occur collectively. The generic cellular automata model used to simulate coordinated HF cycling here can be extended to study population-level behavior of other complex biological systems made of cycling elements.
    Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 01/2014; 4(1). · 7.56 Impact Factor
  • Erin L Weber, Cheng-Ming Chuong
    Plastic &amp Reconstructive Surgery 01/2014; 133:214-215. · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • Erin L Weber, Cheng-Ming Chuong
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Michael W Hughes, Wange Lu, Cheng-Ming Chuong
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    ABSTRACT: Recent progress in epigenetics reveals dynamic chromatin interactions in the nucleus during development, regeneration, reprogramming, and in disease. Higher-order chromatin organization is manifested as changes in the topological distribution of eu-/heterochromatin and in nuclear morphology. We are now able to gain new knowledge about these changes at the genomic level.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 09/2013; 133(9):2130-3. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regenerative cycling of hair follicles offers an unique opportunity to explore the role of circadian clock in physiological tissue regeneration. We focused on the role of circadian clock in actively proliferating transient amplifying cells, as opposed to quiescent stem cells. We identified two key sites of peripheral circadian clock activity specific to regenerating anagen hair follicles, namely epithelial matrix and mesenchymal dermal papilla. We showed that peripheral circadian clock in epithelial matrix cells generates prominent daily mitotic rhythm. As a consequence of this mitotic rhythmicity, hairs grow faster in the morning than in the evening. Because cells are the most susceptible to DNA damage during mitosis, this cycle leads to a remarkable time-of-day-dependent sensitivity of growing hair follicles to genotoxic stress. Same doses of γ-radiation caused dramatic hair loss in wild-type mice when administered in the morning, during mitotic peak, compared with the evening, when hair loss is minimal. This diurnal radioprotective effect becomes lost in circadian mutants, consistent with asynchronous mitoses in their hair follicles. Clock coordinates cell cycle progression with genotoxic stress responses by synchronizing Cdc2/Cyclin B-mediated G2/M checkpoint. Our results uncover diurnal mitotic gating as the essential protective mechanism in highly proliferative hair follicles and offer strategies for minimizing or maximizing cytotoxicity of radiation therapies.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reptiles and fish have robust regenerative powers for tooth renewal. However, extant mammals can either renew their teeth one time (diphyodont dentition) or not at all (monophyodont dentition). Humans replace their milk teeth with permanent teeth and then lose their ability for tooth renewal. Here, we study tooth renewal in a crocodilian model, the American alligator, which has well-organized teeth similar to mammals but can still undergo life-long renewal. Each alligator tooth is a complex family unit composed of the functional tooth, successional tooth, and dental lamina. Using multiple mitotic labeling, we map putative stem cells to the distal enlarged bulge of the dental lamina that contains quiescent odontogenic progenitors that can be activated during physiological exfoliation or artificial extraction. Tooth cycle initiation correlates with β-catenin activation and soluble frizzled-related protein 1 disappearance in the bulge. The dermal niche adjacent to the dermal lamina dynamically expresses neural cell adhesion molecule, tenascin-C, and other molecules. Furthermore, in development, asymmetric β-catenin localization leads to the formation of a heterochronous and complex tooth family unit configuration. Understanding how these signaling molecules interact in tooth development in this model may help us to learn how to stimulate growth of adult teeth in mammals.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: How organs are shaped to specific forms is a fundamental issue in developmental biology. To address this question, we used the repetitive, periodic pattern of feather morphogenesis on chicken skin as a model. Avian feathers within a single tract extend from dome-shaped primordia to thin conical structures with a common axis of orientation. From a systems biology perspective, the process is precise and robust. Using tissue transplantation assays, we demonstrate that a "zone of polarizing activity," localized in the posterior feather bud, is necessary and sufficient to mediate the directional elongation. This region contains a spatially well-defined nuclear β-catenin zone, which is induced by wingless-int (Wnt)7a protein diffusing in from posterior bud epithelium. Misexpressing nuclear β-catenin randomizes feather polarity. This dermal nuclear β-catenin zone, surrounded by Notch1 positive dermal cells, induces Jagged1. Inhibition of Notch signaling disrupts the spatial configuration of the nuclear β-catenin zone and leads to randomized feather polarity. Mathematical modeling predicts that lateral inhibition, mediated by Notch signaling, functions to reduce Wnt7a gradient variations and fluctuations to form the sharp boundary observed for the dermal β-catenin zone. This zone is also enriched for nonmuscle myosin IIB. Suppressing nonmuscle myosin IIB disrupts directional cell rearrangements and abolishes feather bud elongation. These data suggest that a unique molecular module involving chemical-mechanical coupling converts a pliable chemical gradient to a precise domain, ready for subsequent mechanical action, thus defining the position, boundary, and duration of localized morphogenetic activity that molds the shape of growing organs.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tooth renewal is initiated from epithelium associated with existing teeth. The development of new teeth requires dental epithelial cells that have competence for tooth formation, but specific marker genes for these cells have not been identified. Here, we analyzed expression patterns of the transcription factor Sox2 in two different modes of successional tooth formation: tooth replacement and serial addition of primary teeth. We observed specific Sox2 expression in the dental lamina that gives rise to successional teeth in mammals with one round of tooth replacement as well as in reptiles with continuous tooth replacement. Sox2 was also expressed in the dental lamina during serial addition of mammalian molars, and genetic lineage tracing indicated that Sox2+ cells of the first molar give rise to the epithelial cell lineages of the second and third molars. Moreover, conditional deletion of Sox2 resulted in hyperplastic epithelium in the forming posterior molars. Our results indicate that the Sox2+ dental epithelium has competence for successional tooth formation and that Sox2 regulates the progenitor state of dental epithelial cells. The findings imply that the function of Sox2 has been conserved during evolution and that tooth replacement and serial addition of primary teeth represent variations of the same developmental process. The expression patterns of Sox2 support the hypothesis that dormant capacity for continuous tooth renewal exists in mammals.
    Development 03/2013; · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hair follicles facilitate the study of stem cell behavior because stem cells in progressive activation stages, ordered within the follicle architecture, are capable of cyclic regeneration. To study the gene network governing the homeostasis of hair bulge stem cells, we developed a Keratin 15-driven genetic model to directly perturb molecular signaling in the stem cells. We visualize the behavior of these modified stem cells, evaluating their hair-regenerating ability and profile their molecular expression. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-inactivated stem cells exhibit molecular profiles resembling those of hair germs, yet still possess multipotentiality in vivo. These cells also exhibit up-regulation of Wnt7a, Wnt7b, and Wnt16 ligands and Frizzled (Fzd) 10 receptor. We demonstrate direct transcriptional modulation of the Wnt7a promoter. These results highlight a previously unknown intra-stem cell antagonistic competition, between BMP and Wnt signaling, to balance stem cell activity. Reduced BMP signaling and increased Wnt signaling tilts each stem cell toward a hair germ fate and, vice versa, based on a continuous scale dependent on the ratio of BMP/Wnt activity. This work reveals one more hierarchical layer regulating stem cell homeostasis beneath the stem cell-dermal papilla-based epithelial-mesenchymal interaction layer and the hair follicle-intradermal adipocyte-based tissue interaction layer. Although hierarchical layers are all based on BMP/Wnt signaling, the multilayered control ensures that all information is taken into consideration and allows hair stem cells to sum up the total activators/inhibitors involved in making the decision of activation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the process of organogenesis, different cell types form organized tissues and tissues are integrated into an organ. Most organs form in the developmental stage, but new organs can also form in physiological states or following injuries during adulthood. Feathers are a good model to study post-natal organogenesis because they regenerate episodically under physiological conditions and in response to injuries such as plucking. Epidermal stem cells in the collar can respond to activation signals. Dermal papilla located at the follicle base controls the regenerative process. Adhesion molecules (e.g., neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), tenascin), morphogens (e.g., Wnt3a, sprouty, fibroblast growth factor [FGF]10), and differentiation markers (e.g., keratins) are expressed dynamically in initiation, growth and resting phases of the feather cycle. Epidermal cells are shaped into different feather morphologies based on the molecular micro-environment at the moment of morphogenesis. Chicken feather variants provide a rich resource for us to identify genetic determinants involved in feather regeneration and morphogenesis. An example of using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to identify alpha keratin 75 as the mutation in frizzled chickens is demonstrated. Due to its accessibility to experimental manipulation and observation, results of regeneration can be analyzed in a comprehensive way. The layout of time dimension along the distal (formed earlier) to proximal (formed later) feather axis makes the morphological analyses easier. Therefore feather regeneration can be a unique model for understanding organogenesis: from activation of stem cells under various physiological conditions to serving as the Rosetta stone for deciphering the language of morphogenesis.
    Embryologia 01/2013; 55(1):139-48. · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patterns describe order which emerges from homogeneity. Complex patterns on the integument are striking because of their visibility throughout an organism's lifespan. Periodic patterning is an effective design because the ensemble of hair or feather follicles (modules) allows the generation of complexity, including regional variations and cyclic regeneration, giving the skin appendages a new lease on life. Spatial patterns include the arrangements of feathers and hairs in specified number, size, and spacing. We explore how a field of equivalent progenitor cells can generate periodically arranged modules based on genetic information, physical-chemical rules and developmental timing. Reconstitution experiments suggest a competitive equilibrium regulated by activators / inhibitors involving Turing reaction-diffusion. Temporal patterns result from oscillating stem cell activities within each module (micro-environment regulation), reflected as growth (anagen) and resting (telogen) phases during the cycling of feather and hair follicles. Stimulating modules with activators initiates the spread of regenerative hair waves, while global inhibitors outside each module (macro-environment) prevent this. Different wave patterns can be simulated by Cellular Automata principles. Hormonal status and seasonal changes can modulate appendage phenotypes, leading to "organ metamorphosis", with multiple ectodermal organ phenotypes generated from the same precursors. We discuss potential evolutionary novel steps using this module based complexity in several amniote integument organs, exemplified by the spectacular peacock feather pattern. We thus explore the application of the acquired knowledge of patterning in tissue engineering. New hair follicles can be generated after wounding. Hairs and feathers can be reconstituted through self-organization of dissociated progenitor cells.
    Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Developmental biology. 01/2013; 2(1):97-112.
  • Ming-Xing Lei, Cheng-Ming Chuong, Randall B Widelitz
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of β-catenin was shown to be of central importance for hair development and cycling. Recent progress brought more understanding to how Wnt signaling is regulated during hair follicle generation and regeneration, telogen-anagen reentry, and extra-follicular macro-environmental modulation. This new understanding presents multiple possibilities to fine tune Wnt signaling for desired hair growth.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 01/2013; 133(1):7-9. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hair follicle system represents a tractable model for the study of stem cell behaviour in regenerative adult epithelial tissue. However, although there are numerous spatial scales of observation (molecular, cellular, follicle and multi follicle), it is not yet clear what mechanisms underpin the follicle growth cycle. In this study we seek to address this problem by describing how the growth dynamics of a large population of follicles can be treated as a classical excitable medium. Defining caricature interactions at the molecular scale and treating a single follicle as a functional unit, a minimal model is proposed in which the follicle growth cycle is an emergent phenomenon. Expressions are derived, in terms of parameters representing molecular regulation, for the time spent in the different functional phases of the cycle, a formalism that allows the model to be directly compared with a previous cellular automaton model and experimental measurements made at the single follicle scale. A multi follicle model is constructed and numerical simulations are used to demonstrate excellent qualitative agreement with a range of experimental observations. Notably, the excitable medium equations exhibit a wider family of solutions than the previous work and we demonstrate how parameter changes representing altered molecular regulation can explain perturbed patterns in Wnt over-expression and BMP down-regulation mouse models. Further experimental scenarios that could be used to test the fundamental premise of the model are suggested. The key conclusion from our work is that positive and negative regulatory interactions between activators and inhibitors can give rise to a range of experimentally observed phenomena at the follicle and multi follicle spatial scales and, as such, could represent a core mechanism underlying hair follicle growth.
    PLoS Computational Biology 12/2012; 8(12):e1002804. · 4.83 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
656.67 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • National Cheng Kung University
      • Institute of Clinical Medicine
      臺南市, Taiwan, Taiwan
  • 2002–2014
    • University of Southern California
      • Department of Pathology
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2013
    • National Cheng Kung University Hospital
      臺南市, Taiwan, Taiwan
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2012
    • Academia Sinica
      • Biodiversity Research Center
      Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2009
    • Keck School of Medicine USC
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2007–2009
    • University of Oxford
      • • Centre for Mathematical Biology
      • • Mathematical Institute
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Helsinki
      • Institute of Biotechnology
      Helsinki, Province of Southern Finland, Finland
  • 2004
    • Tzu Chi University
      Hua-lien, Taiwan, Taiwan
    • Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology
      • Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
      Beijing, Beijing Shi, China
  • 2003
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States