Qian Peng, PhD

Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience


Research Focus

Dr. Peng’s research interest broadly defined is to understand the biological determinants of human behaviors through innovative applications of algorithms and statistics. Specifically, we are currently focusing on dissecting the complex genomic and epigenomic basis of addiction and related behaviors through multi-omics and integrative computational approaches. We are also interested in determining how ancestral background and genetic interactions confer risk or protection for addictive and comorbid mental disorders. Our goal is to provide more precision in the understanding of the mechanism underlying risk for addiction and thus provide a substrate for more effective prevention and intervention.


B.S. (Computer Science), Beijing University,
M.S. (Biomedical Engineering), University of Tennessee-Memphis,
Ph.D. (Computer Science), University of California, San Diego,

Professional Experience

2016-2017 Assistant Professor of MCN, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (MCN), Scripps Research
2015-2016 Research Associate, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (MCN), Scripps Research

Awards & Professional Activities

NIH NIDA Avenir Award in Genetics and Epigenetics of Substance Abuse (DP1)
Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award, Research Society on Alcoholism
NSF IGERT Fellowship

Selected References

All Publications

Peng, Q. & Ehlers, C. L. Long tracks of homozygosity predict the severity of alcohol use disorders in an American Indian population. (2021). Molecular Psychiatry, PMCID: PMC8254832.

Aguirre, C. A., Morale, M. C., Peng, Q., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Cintron-Colon, R., Feng, K. G., Fazelpour, S., Maher, P. & Conti, B. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms in IL13 and IL13RA1 from individuals with idiopathic Parkinson's disease increase cellular susceptibility to oxidative stress. (2020). Brain Behavior and Immunity, 88, 920.

Fan, X., Wang, H., Sun, L., Zheng, X., Yin, X., Zuo, X., Peng, Q., Standish, K. A., Cheng, H., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Xiao, F., et al. Fine mapping and subphenotyping implicates ADRA1B gene variants in psoriasis susceptibility in a Chinese population. (2019). Epigenomics, 11(4), 455-467.

Peng, Q., Bizon, C., Gizer, I. R., Wilhelmsen, K. C. & Ehlers, C. L. Genetic loci for alcohol-related life events and substance-induced affective symptoms: indexing the "dark side" of addiction. (2019). Translational Psychiatry, 9. PMCID: PMC6362044.

Deacon, D. C., Happe, C. L., Chen, C., Tedeschi, N., Manso, A. M., Li, T., Dalton, N. D., Peng, Q., Farah, E. N., Gu, Y., Tenerelli, K. P., Tran, V. D., et al. Combinatorial interactions of genetic variants in human cardiomyopathy. (2019). Nature Biomedical Engineering, 3(2), 147-157.

Peng, Q., Gizer, I. R., Wilhelmsen, K. C. & Ehlers, C. L. Associations between genomic variants in alcohol dehydrogenase genes and alcohol symptomatology in American Indians and European Americans: distinctions and convergence. (2017). Alcoholism-Clinical and Experimental Research, 41(10), 1695-1704. PMCID: PMC5626638.

Peng, Q., Schork, N. J., Wilhelmsen, K. C. & Ehlers, C. L. Whole genome sequence association and ancestry-informed polygenic profile of EEG alpha in a Native American population. (2017). American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B-Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 174(4), 435-450. PMCID: PMC5435561.

Ehlers, C. L., Gizer, I. R., Bizon, C., Slutske, W., Peng, Q., Schork, N. J. & Wilhelmsen, K. C. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the REG-CTNNA2 region of chromosome 2 and NEIL3 associated with impulsivity in a Native American sample. (2016). Genes Brain and Behavior, 15(6), 568-577. PMCID: PMC4935619.

Peng, Q., Schork, A., Bartsch, H., Lo, M. T., Panizzon, M. S., Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition and Genetics Study, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Westlye, L. T., Kremen, W. S., Jernigan, T. L., Le Hellard, S., Steen, V. M., et al. Conservation of distinct enetically-mediated human cortical pattern. (2016). PLoS Genetics, 12. PMCID: PMC4961377.

Chen, C. H., Schork, A. J., Lo, M. T., Fan, C. C., Wang, Y., Desikan, R. S., Bettella, F., Hagler, D. J., Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Westlye, L. T., Kremen, W. S. Large-scale genomics unveil polygenic architecture of human cortical surface area. (2015). Nature Communications, 6, 7549. PMCID: PMC4518289.


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