Ritchie Ho, PhD

Ritchie Ho, PhD

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424-315-2553

Ritchie Ho, PhD

Research in the laboratory of Ritchie Ho, PhD aims to develop faithful models of late-onset diseases using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and in vivo, animal models by understanding and recapitulating how genetic and environmental conditions causing disease in older adults interact with intrinsic cellular aging pathways. Currently, no iPSC-differentiated tissues mature past the fetal state, limiting their capacity to recapitulate decades worth of in vivo pathological events leading to diseases in adults. This is a major challenge facing personalized and regenerative medicine. Dr. Ho’s prior work has explored how signaling and epigenetic factors regulate the transition between pluripotent, fetal, and adult cellular states, both in forward development and in reprogramming. His recent work has demonstrated that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a late-onset, neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons, preferentially disrupts neuronal maturation and aging gene expression networks, thereby expounding the latent nature of this devastating condition. The Ho lab applies molecular, cell, and systems biology to gauge the fidelity of iPSC and animal models to in vivo human tissue physiology. The current goals of the Ho lab are to 1) map the intersection of tissue and cell type-specific maturation and aging signatures to neurodegenerative signatures, 2) delineate conserved and divergent gene expression networks among human and rodent species, and 3) engineer strategies that can accelerate maturation, aging, and late-onset disease readouts in all systems. Faithful aging models will advance the development of predictive diagnostics and preventive therapies for individual patients predisposed to these diseases.

  • Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley, 2004
  • Doctorate: University of California, Los Angeles, 2013
  • Post Doctorate: Cedars-Sinai, 2019

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  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow Advisor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2020
  • Burns and Allen Research Institute Bohdan (Danny) Malaniak Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2018
  • NIA K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award: Comparative genomics approaches to improve iPSC-derived motor neuron models of ALS, 2017
  • Molecular Biology Institute Amgen Dissertation Award, University of California, Los Angeles, 2011
  • Molecular Biology Institute Paul D. Boyer Outstanding Teaching Award, University of California, Los Angeles, 2010

Click here for a list of peer-reviewed publications.

  • Ho, R., Sances, S., Gowing, G., Amoroso, M.W., O’Rourke, J.G., Sahabian, A., Wichterle, H., Baloh,R.H., Sareen, D., and Svendsen, C.N. (2016). ALS disrupts spinal motor neuron maturation and aging pathways within gene co-expression networks. Nat Neurosci. 2016 Sep;19(9):1256-67.
  • Laperle, A.H.*, Sances, S.*, Yucer, N.*, Dardov, V.J., Garcia, V.J., Ho, R., Fulton, A., Jones, M.R.,Roxas, K., Avalos, P., et al. (2020). iPSC modeling of young onset Parkinson’s Disease reveals a molecular signature of disease and novel therapeutic candidates. Nat Med. 2020 Feb;26(2):289-299. (*equal contribution)
  • Sances, S., Ho, R., Vatine, G., West, D., Laperle, A., Meyer, A., Godoy, M., Kay, P.S., Mandefro, B., Hatata, S., et al. (2018). Human iPSC-Derived Endothelial Cells and Microengineered Organ-ChipEnhance Neuronal Development. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Apr 10;10(4):1222-1236.

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