• Ruifeng (Ray) Cao
  • Ruifeng (Ray) Cao
  • Associate Professor
  • Department: Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology
  • Program(s): Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program
  • Major Research Interest(s): Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Genomics, Molecular Medicine, Molecular Genetics, Physiology, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Signaling
  • Research Organisims: Cell lines, Mice
  • Rotating Faculty
  • Phone: 1.7322354071
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Research Tower, Room 346, 675 Hoes Lane
  • Piscataway, NJ 08854
  • Key Words: circadian rhythm, biological clocks, autism, depression, and brain trauma
  • Lab Site URL

Circadian (~24 h) rhythmicity is an evolutionarily conserved property that regulates fundamental biological processes. Rhythmic gene expression is found in a variety of cells and tissues. In mammals, the master pacemaker is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. The SCN relays photic information from the retina to the brain to synchronize endogenous rhythms to ambient light/dark cycles. Disruption of the circadian rhythm and body clock function is associated with many human diseases.

We are interested in mRNA translational control mechanisms that regulate the functions of the circadian clock and how dysregulated translational control is involved in circadian dysfunction in neurological and psychiatric diseases. We are particularly interested in the role of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and integrated stress response as the coupling mechanisms between cell metabolism and the circadian clock. We constantly look for talented and motivated undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers to join us.


Research Techniques:

Our laboratory utilizes a combination of molecular, cellular, and behavioral technologies, including polysome profiling, RNA sequencing, qRT-PCR, Western blotting, immunocytochemistry, electrophysiology, confocal microscopy, viral-mediated gene silencing and animal behavioral analysis (e.g., circadian, social and memory tests, EEG). A variety of model systems, including cell culture, organotypic slice culture, and whole animals (transgenic and knockout mice) are employed.