Lingling Miao was born and educated in China, receiving her Ph.D. degree from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2013. After that, she worked as an assistant and then associate investigator in CAS studying miRNA-mediated gene regulation. She subsequently joined Dr. Isaac Brownell’s lab in 2016 as a visiting fellow to study Merkel cell development and the related skin cancer Merkel cell carcinoma.

Research Statement

Merkel cells are neuroendocrine cells in the epidermis with both neuronal and epithelial features. They are innervated by nerve endings and functions in light touch sensation. In mouse skin, Merkel cells cluster in a specialized structure called the touch dome. Merkel cells are derived from epithelial progenitors, however, the underlying molecular mechanisms of this process are largely unknown. Using sophisticated mouse genetics and single-cell transcriptome analysis Lingling Miao studies the roadmap of embryonic Merkel cell development, and the regulatory mechanisms through which epithelial progenitors give rise to neuroendocrine cells. Since embryonic development shares many similarities with tumorigenesis, she also investigates how the signaling pathways responsible for Merkel cell development function in Merkel cell carcinoma.

Scientific Publications

A Cascade of Wnt, Eda, and Shh Signaling Is Essential for Touch Dome Merkel Cell Development.

Xiao Y, Thoresen DT, Miao L, Williams JS, Wang C, Atit RP, Wong SY, Brownell I.

MicroRNA-1304 suppresses human non-small cell lung cancer cell growth in vitro by targeting heme oxygenase-1.

Li C, Pu M, Li C, Gao M, Liu M, Yu C, Yan H, Peng C, Zhao Y, Li Y, Ma Z, Qi X, Wang Y, Miao L*, Ren J*. (*, co-corresponding authors)

Role of multiple microRNAs in the sexually dimorphic expression of Cyp2b9 in mouse liver.

Xie X†, Miao L†, Yao J, Feng C, Li C, Gao M, Liu M, Gong L, Wang Y, Qi X, Ren J. (†, equally contributed)


Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica & Institute of Neuroscience, CAS, Shanghai, China
Ph.D., Pharmacology, 2013

West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
B.S., Pharmacy, 2007

Last Updated: October 2019