Qiumin Tan

Qiumin Tan

Ph.D., Washington State University

Associate Professor
Office: 6-24A Medical Sciences Building
Laboratory: 6-24 and 6-32B Medical Sciences Building
Telephone: 780-492-1523


  • Canada Research Chair Tier II in Molecular Genetics of Human Disease

Research Interests

Life and Death of Hippocampal Neurons
The hippocampus is a brain region important for learning and memory, spatial navigation, and mood regulation. Structural and functional changes of the hippocampus have been found in several neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. Using the hippocampus as a model system, we study how diverse cells types are produced, maintained or eliminated, and integrated into the brain circuit. Knowledge gained from our study may shed light on the pathogenic mechanism of neurological diseases and may facilitate the development of more effective treatments.
Early Postnatal Hippocampus Development
In contrast to many other cortical regions, which complete neurogenesis by birth, the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus undergoes protracted postnatal development.

Dentate gyrus

Our research questions are:
How is early postnatal neurogenesis regulated?
What controls the migration of progenitors and newborn neurons?
What factors promote precise projection of newly generated neurons?


Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Most neurons in our brains arise during embryonic development and around birth. However, the mammalian brain retains the capacity to generate new neurons even throughout adulthood. 

The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is a brain region where new neurons are continuously produced. The adult-born neurons from this region are thought to be important for learning, memory formation and mood regulation.

We are particularly interested in neuronal maturation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis, specifically, the stages of neuroblast and immature neuron maturation.

These are some of the questions that we are studying:
What regulates the initiation and termination of neuronal migration?
How is the dendritic architecture of new-born granule neurons built?
What confers vulnerability to cell death?

Development and Function of Hippocampal Cajal-Retzius Cells
In the developing brain, the birth of neurons is followed by the death of 20‒40% of these neurons, raising the question of the importance of such demise for the adult brain. Cajal-Retzius cells – pioneer neurons of the embryonic brain but then almost completely disappear – present a unique system to address this question. Incomplete CR cell removal has been described in human brain pathologies including epilepsy, opening the intriguing possibility that CR cell death plays a constructive role in sculpting the mature cerebral cortex.
Our research questions are:
What regulates the developmental cell death of Cajal-Retzius cells?
What are the roles of Cajal-Retzius cells in the adult hippocampus?
How may Cajal-Retzius cells play a role in epilepsy?

Selected Publications

R. van Bruggen, Z.H. Patel, M. Wang, T.R. Suk, M.W.C. Rousseaux, Q. Tan (2023) A Versatile Strategy for Genetic Manipulation of Cajal-Retzius Cells in the Adult Mouse Hippocampus. eNeuro.

S. Sharma, B. Hourigan, Z. Patel, J.A. Rosenfeld, K.M. Chan, M.F. Wangler, J.S. Yi, A. Lehman, the CAUSES Study, G. Horvath, P.A. Cloos, Q. Tan.  Novel CIC variants identified in individuals with neurodevelopmental phenotypes.  Human Mutation, (2022) 1-11.

H. Hong, J. Lee, G.Y. Park, S. Kim, J. Park, J.S. Park, Y. Song, S. Lee, T.J. Kim, Y.J. Lee, T.Y. Roh, S.K. Kwok, S.M. Kim, Q. Tan, Y. Lee, Postnatal regulation of B-1a cell development and survival by the CIC-PER2-BHLHE41 axis, Cell Reports, 38 (2022) 110386.

B. Hourigan, S.D. Balay, G. Yee, S. Sharma, Q. Tan, Capicua regulates the development of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus, Scientific Reports, 11 (2021) 11725. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-91168-5 

C.S. Kao, R. van Bruggen, J.R. Kim, X.X.L. Chen, C. Chan, J. Lee, W.I. Cho, M. Zhao, C. Arndt, K. Maksimovic, M. Khan, Q. Tan, M.D. Wilson, J. Park, Selective neuronal degeneration in MATR3 S85C knock-in mouse model of early-stage ALS, Nat Commun, 11 (2020) 5304.

A. Didonna, E. Canto Puig, Q. Ma, A. Matsunaga, B. Ho, S.J. Caillier, H. Shams, N. Lee, S.L. Hauser, Q. Tan, S.S. Zamvil, J.R. Oksenberg, Ataxin-1 regulates B cell function and the severity of autoimmune experimental encephalomyelitis, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 117 (2020) 23742-23750.

Q. Tan, H.Y. Zoghbi, Mouse models as a tool for discovering new neurological diseases, Neurobiol Learn Mem, 165 (2019) 106902. (co-corresponding authors)

V.V. Bondar, C.J. Adamski, T.S. Onur, Q. Tan, L. Wang, J. Diaz-Garcia, J. Park, H.T. Orr, J. Botas, H.Y. Zoghbi, PAK1 regulates ATXN1 levels providing an opportunity to modify its toxicity in Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, Hum Mol Genet, DOI 10.1093/hmg/ddy200(2018).

M.W.C. Rousseaux, T. Tschumperlin, H.C. Lu, E.P. Lackey, V.V. Bondar, Y.W. Wan, Q. Tan, C.J. Adamski, J. Friedrich, K. Twaroski, W. Chen, J. Tolar, C. Henzler, A. Sharma, A. Bajic, T. Lin, L. Duvick, Z. Liu, R.V. Sillitoe, H.Y. Zoghbi, H.T. Orr, ATXN1-CIC Complex Is the Primary Driver of Cerebellar Pathology in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1 through a Gain-of-Function Mechanism, Neuron, 97 (2018) 1235-1243 e1235.

Q. Tan, L. Brunetti, M.W.C. Rousseaux, H.C. Lu, Y.W. Wan, J.P. Revelli, Z. Liu, M.A. Goodell, H.Y. Zoghbi, Loss of Capicua alters early T cell development and predisposes mice to T cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 115 (2018) E1511-E1519. (co-corresponding authors)

H.C. Lu*, Q. Tan*, M.W. Rousseaux, W. Wang, J.Y. Kim, R. Richman, Y.W. Wan, S.Y. Yeh, J.M. Patel, X. Liu, T. Lin, Y. Lee, J.D. Fryer, J. Han, M. Chahrour, R.H. Finnell, Y. Lei, M.E. Zurita-Jimenez, P. Ahimaz, K. Anyane-Yeboa, L. Van Maldergem, D. Lehalle, N. Jean-Marcais, A.L. Mosca-Boidron, J. Thevenon, M.A. Cousin, D.E. Bro, B.C. Lanpher, E.W. Klee, N. Alexander, M.N. Bainbridge, H.T. Orr, R.V. Sillitoe, M.C. Ljungberg, Z. Liu, C.P. Schaaf, H.Y. Zoghbi, Disruption of the ATXN1-CIC complex causes a spectrum of neurobehavioral phenotypes in mice and humans, Nat Genet, 49 (2017) 527-536. (*co-first authors)

Q. Tan, H.K. Yalamanchili, J. Park, A. De Maio, H.C. Lu, Y.W. Wan, J.J. White, V.V. Bondar, L.S. Sayegh, X. Liu, Y. Gao, R.V. Sillitoe, H.T. Orr, Z. Liu, H.Y. Zoghbi, Extensive cryptic splicing upon loss of RBM17 and TDP43 in neurodegeneration models, Hum Mol Genet, 25 (2016) 5083-5093. (Journal issue cover image.)

J. Park, I. Al-Ramahi, Q. Tan, N. Mollema, J.R. Diaz-Garcia, T. Gallego-Flores, H.C. Lu, S. Lagalwar, L. Duvick, H. Kang, Y. Lee, P. Jafar-Nejad, L.S. Sayegh, R. Richman, X. Liu, Y. Gao, C.A. Shaw, J.S.C. Arthur, H.T. Orr, T.F. Westbrook, J. Botas, H.Y. Zoghbi, RAS-MAPK-MSK1 pathway modulates ataxin 1 protein levels and toxicity in SCA1, Nature, 498 (2013) 325-331.

Laboratory Members

Graduate Students
Zain Patel

Rebekah van Bruggen
Mi Wang