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Jian Yu Rao



DepartmentsType of Faculty
EpidemiologyJoint Appointment
Contact Information

Factor 10-952
41-275 CHS
CAMPUS - 173216

Areas of Interest: 

The research in my laboratory is focused on developing biomarkers that can be used for individual risk assessment, early detection, and therapeutic monitoring of cancer. To reach this goal, we have two specific research areas: The first area of research is to study the molecular basis of tumor morphogenesis, we focus our effort on investigating how cytoskeletal proteins, specifically the microfilament actin and the associated binding proteins, are altered in tumorigenesis. We hypothesize that since tumor cells have morphological features that are distinctive from normal cells, and since actin family proteins play important roles in regulating cell morphology, adhesion, as well as motility, investigating these protein changes during tumorigenesis will not only provide molecular insight for tumor morphology, but at the same time develop surrogate markers that are more sensitive and specific than morphological analysis alone. Since actin network is regulated by multiple complex oncogenic signal transduction events, including Ras superfamily small G proteins Rac/Rho/Cdc42, and Src family proteins, and many of these proteins have been developed as the potential therapeutic targets, it is possible that an actin centric strategy for cancer detection/monitoring/prevention/therapy can be developed in he future. Our second area of research is to develop approaches that can be used to detect early malignant lesions, especially cancer of the breast, bladder, and prostate. The detection of low stage malignant and premalignant lesions is essential for the successful halt, or even the reversion of malignant progression through chemoprevention strategy. The focus will be to develop simple, high throughput techniques that can be used to detect expressional abnormalities of multiple genes on a small sample volume basis. One specific example is to develop Quantitative Fluorescence Image Analysis (QFIA) as a single-cell proteomic method for biomarker analysis on cytological materials. Recently, collaborating with investigators from California Nanosystem Institute, we have investigated the possibility of nanomechanical profiles as markers for not only detecting cancer cells, but providing prognostic and therapeutic information to guide cancer management at individual patient level.

  Dr. J Rao is an internationally renowned cytopathologist and established investigator in cancer molecular epidemiology and biomarker studies. Prior to be a pathologist, he was already an established molecular epidemiologist involved in multiple high profile cancer prevention studies. He completed his anatomic/clinical pathology residency and cytopathology fellowship at UCLA, and joined the UCLA Department of Pathology as a faculty in 1999. Dr. J. Rao is a full professor and the director of Cytopathology, the director of gynecological pathology, and the medical director of cytotechnology school. He has dual appointments in pathology and epidemiology. He is particularly well known for urine cytology, especially in utilizing biomarkers as adjunct for detecting bladder cancer. He has been invited to be a speaker for over 100 meetings and occasions locally, nationally and internationally for topics including cancer chemoprevention, biomarkers, urine cytology, Fine Needle Aspiration cytology, and gynecological pathology. Dr. Rao has an active role in teaching and research, with continuous funding from NIH or other agencies for cancer biomarker and prevention studies in the last 20 years, with over 100 peer-reviewed research publications. He is also interested in developing new technologies for pathology especially cytopathology, including imaging analysis, nanotechnology and telepathology.


MD.,Shanghai Medical University
This faculty member is available to serve as: 
Doctoral Advisor
PhD Committee Member
MS Thesis Committee Member
MS Report Committee Member
Field Studies Advisor

Please check with the faculty member or their office about availability to serve during current academic period.

Selected Publications: 

Sharma S, Santiskulvong C, Bentolila LA, Rao J, Dorigo O, Gimzewski JK. Correlative nanomechanical profiling with super-resolution F-actin imaging reveals novel insights into mechanisms of cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer cells. . Nanomedicine 2012; 8(5): 757-766.

Daniel R. Gossetta, Henry T. K. Tse, Serena A. Lee, Yong Ying, Anne G. Lindgren, Otto O. Yang, Jianyu Rao, Amander T. Clark, and Dino Di Carlo Hydrodynamic stretching of single cells for large population mechanical phenotyping. PNAS. 2012; 109(20): 7630-7635.

Li Y, Chang SC, Goldstein BY, Scheider WL, Cai L, You NC, Tarleton HP, Ding B, Zhao J, Wu M, Jiang Q, Yu S, Rao J, Lu QY, Zhang ZF, Mu L Green tea consumption, inflammation and the risk of primary hepatocellular carcinoma in a Chinese population. Cancer Epidemiol. 2011; Epub ahead of print: .

Sarah E Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Qing-Yi Lu, JianYu Rao and James K Gimzewski Green tea extract selectively targets nanomechanics of live metastatic cancer cells. Nanotechnology. 2011; 22(21): .

Izadyar F, Wong J, Maki C, Pacchiarotti J, Ramos T, Howerton K, Yuen C, Greilach S, Zhao HH, Chow M, Chow YC, Rao J, Barritt J, Bar-Chama N, Copperman A Identification and characterization of repopulating spermatogonial stem cells from the adult human testis. Hum Reprod. 2011; Epub ahead of print: .

Klatte T, Seligson DB, Rao JY, Yu H, de Martino M, Garraway I, Wong SG, Belldegrun AS, Pantuck AJ Absent CD44v6 expression is an independent predictor of poor urothelial bladder cancer outcome. J Urol. 2010; 183(6): 2403-8.

Park SL, Bastani D, Goldstein BY, Chang SC, Cozen W, Cai L, Cordon-Cardo C, Ding B, Greenland S, He N, Hussain SK, Jiang Q, Lee YC, Liu S, Lu ML, Mack TM, Mao JT, Morgenstern H, Mu LN, Oh SS, Pantuck A, Papp JC, Rao J, Reuter VE, Tashkin DP, Wang H, You NC, Yu SZ, Zhao JK, Zhang ZF Associations between NBS1 polymorphisms, haplotypes and smoking-related cancers. Carcinogenesis. 2010; 31(7): 1264-71.

Jin P, Lu XJ, Sheng JQ, Fu L, Meng XM, Wang X, Shi TP, Li SR, Rao J Estrogen stimulates the expression of mismatch repair gene hMLH1 in colonic epithelial cells. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010; 3(8): 910-6.

Sheng JQ, Li SR, Su H, Li JS, Sun ZQ, Wu ZT, Wu X, Xia CH, Rao J Fecal cytology in conjunction with immunofecal occult blood test for colorectal cancer screening. Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 2010; 32(3): 131-5.

Li HX, Li M, Li CL, Ma JH, Wang MR, Rao J, Pan QJ ImmunoCyt and cytokeratin 20 immunocytochemistry as adjunct markers for urine cytologic detection of bladder cancer: a prospective study. Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 2010; 32(1): 45-52.

Wilson L, Cross S, Gimzewski J, Rao J Nanocytology: a novel class of biomarkers for cancer management. IDrugs. 2010; 13(12): 847-51.

Oh SS, Chang SC, Cai L, Cordon-Cardo C, Ding BG, Greenland S, He N, Jiang Q, Kheifets L, Le A, Lee YC, Liu S, Lu ML, Mao JT, Morgenstern H, Mu LN, Pantuck A, Papp JC, Park SL, Rao JY, Reuter VE, Tashkin DP, Wang H, You NC, Yu SZ, Zhao JK, Belldegrun A, Zhang ZF Single nucleotide polymorphisms of 8 inflammation-related genes and their associations with smoking-related cancers. Int J Cancer. 2010; 127(9): 2169-82.

Peggy S Sullivan, Jessica B Chan, Mary R Levin, and Jianyu Rao Urine cytology and adjunct markers for detection and surveillance of bladder cancer. Am J Transl Res. 2010; 2(4): 412-440.

Mao JT, Nie WX, Tsu IH, Jin YS, Rao JY, Lu QY, Zhang ZF, Go VL, Serio KJ White tea extract induces apoptosis in non-small cell lung cancer cells: the role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-{gamma} and 15-lipoxygenases. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010; 3(9): 1132-40.

Klatte T, Seligson DB, Rao JY, Yu H, de Martino M, Kawaoka K, Wong SG, Belldegrun AS, Pantuck AJ Carbonic anhydrase IX in bladder cancer: a diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic molecular marker. Cancer. 2009; 115(7): 1448-58.

Lu QY, Yang Y, Jin YS, Zhang ZF, Heber D, Li FP, Dubinett SM, Sondej MA, Loo JA, Rao JY Effects of green tea extract on lung cancer A549 cells: proteomic identification of proteins associated with cell migration. Proteomics. 2009; 9(3): 757-67.

Hussain SK, Mu LN, Cai L, Chang SC, Park SL, Oh SS, Wang Y, Goldstein BY, Ding BG, Jiang Q, Rao J, You NC, Yu SZ, Papp JC, Zhao JK, Wang H, Zhang ZF Genetic variation in immune regulation and DNA repair pathways and stomach cancer in China. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009; 18(8): 2304-9.

Liu YH, Xu FP, Rao JY, Zhuang HG, Luo XL, Li L, Luo DL, Zhang F, Xu J Justification of the change from 10% to 30% for the immunohistochemical HER2 Scoring criterion in breast cancer. Am J Clin Pathol. 2009; 132(1): 74-9.

Nosov V, Park S, Rao J, Memarzadeh S Non-Peutz-Jeghers syndrome associated ovarian sex cord tumor with annular tubules: a case report. Fertil Steril. 2009; 92(4): 1497 e5-8.

Rettig MB, Heber D, An J, Seeram NP, Rao JY, Liu H, Klatte T, Belldegrun A, Moro A, Henning SM, Mo D, Aronson WJ, Pantuck A Pomegranate extract inhibits androgen-independent prostate cancer growth through a nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent mechanism. Mol Cancer Ther.. 2009; 7(9): 2662-71.

Klatte T, Said JW, de Martino M, Larochelle J, Shuch B, Rao JY, Thomas GV, Kabbinavar FF, Belldegrun AS, Pantuck AJ Presence of tumor necrosis is not a significant predictor of survival in clear cell renal cell carcinoma: higher prognostic accuracy of extent based rather than presence/absence classification. J Urol.. 2009; 181(4): 1558-64.

Zhang C, Rao J, Tu Z, Ni Y Surgical resection of resectable thoracic metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg.. 2009; 138(1): 240-1.

J Sheng, S Li, Z Wu, C Xia, X Wu, J Chen, J Rao Transferrin (Tf) dipstick as a potential novel test for colon cancer screening: a comparative study with immuno fecal occult blood test (IFOBT). Cancer Epi Biomarker Prev.. 2009; 18(8): 2182-5.

Park SL, Chang SC, Cai L, Cordon-Cardo C, Ding BG, Greenland S, Hussain SK, Jiang Q, Liu S, Lu ML, Mao JT, Morgenstern H, Mu LN, Ng LJ, Pantuck A, Rao J, Reuter VE, Tashkin DP, You NC, Yu CQ, Yu SZ, Zhao JK, Belldegrun A, Zhang ZF Associations between variants of the 8q24 chromosome and nine smoking-related cancer sites. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.. 2008; 17(11): 3193-202.

Xie Q, Shi R, Xu G, Cheng L, Shao L, Rao J Effects of AR7 Joint Complex on arthralgia for patients with osteoarthritis: results of a three-month study in Shanghai, China. Nutr J. 2008; 7(31): .

Sartippour MR, Seeram NP, Rao JY, Moro A, Harris DM, Henning SM, Firouzi A, Rettig MB, Aronson WJ, Pantuck AJ, Heber D Ellagitannin-rich pomegranate extract inhibits angiogenesis in prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Int J Oncol.. 2008; 32(2): 475-80.

Norris AJ, Sartippour MR, Lu M, Park T, Rao JY, Jackson MI, Fukuto JM, Brooks MN Nitroxyl inhibits breast tumor growth and angiogenesis. Int J Cancer. 2008; 122(8): 1905-10.

Wang JM, Xu B, Rao JY, Shen HB, Xue HC, Jiang QW Diet habits, alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking, green tea drinking, and the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the Chinese population. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007; 19(2): 171-6.

Lu QY, Jin YS, Zhang ZF, Le AD, Heber D, Li FP, Dubinett SM, Rao JY Green tea induces annexin-I expression in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells: involvement of annexin-I in actin remodeling. Lab Invest. 2007; 87(5): 456-65.

Klatte T, Rao JY, Ribas A, Pantuck AJ Metastatic melanoma to the kidney presenting with renal vein tumor thrombus. Urology. 2007; 69(5): 982.

S Cross, Y Jin, J Rao, J Gimzewski Nanomechanical Analysis of Cells from Cancer Patients. Nature Nanotechnology. 2007; 2: 780-783.

GS Xiao, YS Jin, QY Lu, ZF Zhang, A Belldegrun, R Figlin, A Pantuck, Y Yen, F Li, and J Rao Proteomic Analysis of an in vitro Urothelial Model Identifies Annexin-I as a Potential Target for Green Tea Extract (GTE) Induced Actin Remodeling. International J. Cancer. 2007; 120(1): 111-120.

Jin, Y. Iwata, K. K. Belldegrun, A. Figlin, R. Pantuck, A. Zhang, Z. F. Lieberman, R. Rao, J. Effect of an epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor on actin remodeling in an in vitro bladder cancer carcinogenesis model. Mol Cancer Ther. 2006; 5(7): 1754-63.

S Li, H Wang, J Hu, N Li, Y Liu, Z Wu, Y Zheng, H Wang, K Wu, H Ye, and J Rao A new immunochemical fecal occult blood test (Hemosure IFOBT) with two-consecutive stool sample testing is a cost-effective approach for colon cancer screening: Results of a prospective multi-center study. International J. Cancer. 2006; 118(12): 3078-83.

D Matei, RE Emerson, YC Lai, LA Baldridge, J Rao, C Yiannoutsos, DD Donner Autocrine activation of PDGFR-alpha promotes the progression of ovarian cancer. Oncogene. 2006; 25(14): 2060-2069.

W Zhang, YC Yung, BN Zhang, Q Pan, SD Hart, K Duvall, ZF Zhang, J Rao Biomarker Analysis on Breast Ductal Lavage Cells in Chinese Women with and without Breast Cancer. International J. Cancer. 2006; 15(119): 359-64.

G Zeng, Aldridge M, Tian X, D Seiler, Zhang X, Y Jin, J Rao, et al Dendritic Cell Surface Calreticulin Is A Receptor For NY-ESO-1: Direct Interactions between Tumor-Associated Antigen and the Innate Immune System. Journal of Immunology. 2006; 177(6): 3582-9.

YS Jin, KK Iwata, A Belldegrun, R Figlin, A Pantuck, R Lieberman, ZF Zhang, and J Rao Effect of Erlotinib on Actin Remodeling in a Multistep Bladder Cancer Carcinogenesis Model. Mol Cancer Ther.. 2006; 5 (7): 1754-63.

Hung RJ, Zhang ZF, Rao JY, Pantuck A, Reuter VE, Heber D, Lu QY Protective effects of plasma carotenoids on the risk of bladder cancer. J Urol. 2006; 176(3): 1192-7.

Sartippour MR, Pietras R, Marquez-Garban DC, Chen HW, Heber D, Henning SM, Sartippour G, Zhang L, Lu M, Weinberg O, Rao JY, Brooks MN The combination of green tea and tamoxifen is effective against breast cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2006; 27(12): 2424-33.

QY Lu, YS Jin, A Pantuck, ZF Zhang, A Belldegrun, M Brooks, R Figlin, J Rao Green Tea Extract Modulates Actin Remodeling via Rho Activity in an in vitro Multi-step Carcinogenic Model. Clinical Cancer Research. 2005; 11(4): 1675-1683.

Wiley DJ, Huh J, Rao JY, Chang C, Goetz M, Poulter M, Masongsong E, Chang CI, Bernard HU Methylation of human papillomavirus genomes in cells of anal epithelia of HIV-infected men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005; 39(2): 143-51.

Wiriosuparto, S. Krassilnik, N. Bhuta, S. Rao, J. Firschowitz, S. Solitary fibrous tumor: report of a case with an unusual presentation as a spindle cell parotid neoplasm. Acta Cytol. 2005; 49(3): 309-13.

M Lu, L Zhang, S Maul, A Noris, M Sartippour, A. Norris, J. Whitelegge, J Rao, M Brooks The novel gene EG-1 stimulates cellular proliferation. Cancer Research. 2005; 65(14): 6159-66.

Sartippour MR, Rao JY, Apple S, Wu D, Henning S, Wang H, Elashoff R, Rubio R, Heber D, Brooks MN A pilot clinical study of short-term isoflavone supplements in breast cancer patients. Nutrition and cancer. 2004; 49(1): 59-65.

GE Mao, VE. Reuter, C Cordon?Cardo, G Dalbagni, HI Scher, ZF Zhang, J Rao Decreased Retinoid X Receptor-Alpha Protein Expression in Basal Cells Occurs in the Early Stage of Human Prostate Cancer Development. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2004; 13(3): 383-390.

Rao, J. Li, N. Microfilament actin remodeling as a potential target for cancer drug development. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2004; 4(4): 345-54.

Visapaa H, Seligson D, Eeva M, Gaber F, Rao J, Belldegrun A, Palotie A 8q24 amplification in transitional cell carcinoma of bladder. Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2003; 11(1): 33-6.

Visapaa, H. Bui, M. Huang, Y. Seligson, D. Tsai, H. Pantuck, A. Figlin, R. Rao, J. Y. Belldegrun, A. Horvath, S. Palotie, A. Correlation of Ki-67 and gelsolin expression to clinical outcome in renal clear cell carcinoma. Urology. 2003; 61(4): 845-50.

Cao W, Hashibe M, Rao JY, Morgenstern H, Zhang ZF Comparison of methods for DNA extraction from paraffin-embedded tissues and buccal cells. Cancer Detection and Prevention. 2003; 27(5): 397-404.

Zhang W, Wang L, Chang A, Jin Y, Rao J Immunohistochemical analysis of cyclooxygenase-2 expression in premalignant and malignant esophageal glandular and squamous lesions in Cixian, China. Cancer Detection and Prevention. 2003; 27(4): 243-9.

Visapaa H, Seligson D, Huang Y, Rao JY, Belldegrun A, Horvath S, Palotie A Ki67, gelsolin and PTEN expression in sarcomatoid renal tumors. Urol Res. 2003; 30(6): 387-9.

Rao, J. Seligson, D. Hemstreet, G. P. Protein expression analysis using quantitative fluorescence image analysis on tissue microarray slides. Biotechniques. 2002; 32(4): 924-6, 928-30, 932.

Matei D, Graeber TG, Baldwin R, Karlan BY, Rao JY and Chang DD Gene Expression in Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma. Oncogene . 2002; 21(41): 6289-98 .

Lin, S. Hirschowitz, S. L. Williams, C. Shintako, P. Said, J. Rao, J. Y. Cytokeratin 20 as an immunocytochemical marker for detection of urothelial carcinoma in atypical cytology: preliminary retrospective study on archived urine slides. Cancer Detect Prev. 2001; 25(2): 202-9.

GP Hemstreet, WS Yin, RB Bonner, WF Bi, , JY Rao, P Feng, RE Hurst, et al. Long-term monitoring and management of an occupational bladder cancer cohort stratified by risk by biomarkers.. JNCI 2001; 93(6): 427-436.

Rao, J. Y. Apple, S. K. Jin, Y. Lin, S. Nieberg, R. K. Hirtschowitz, S. L. Comparative polymerase chain reaction analysis of c-myc amplification on archival breast fine-needle aspiration materials. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000; 9(2): 175-9.

JY Rao, RE Hurst, GP Hemstreet. Molecular Pathology of Early Bladder Cancer.. Molecular Pathology of Early Cancer 1999; .

JY Rao, S Apple, YS Jin, GP Hemstreet and R Nieberg. Single cell multiple biomarker analysis in archival Fine Needle Aspiration specimens: Quantitative Fluorescence Image Analysis of DNA ploidy, p53 and G-actin as breast cancer biomarkers.. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 1998; 7(11): 1027-1033.

JY Rao, GP Hemstreet, RE Hurst, RA Bass, KW Min, PL Jones. Cellular F-actin levels as a marker for cellular transformation: II. Correlation with bladder cancer risk.. Cancer Research 1991; 51: 2762-2767.

JY Rao, RE Hurst, WD Bales, PL Jones, BR Bass, LT Archer, GP Hemstreet. Cellular F-actin levels as a marker for cellular transformation: Relationship to cell division and differentiation.. Cancer Research 1990; 50: 2215-2220.

Sullivan, P. S. Nooraie, F. Sanchez, H. Hirschowitz, S. Levin, M. Rao, P. N. Rao, J. Comparison of ImmunoCyt, UroVysion, and urine cytology in detection of recurrent urothelial carcinoma: a "split-sample" study. Cancer Cytopathol. 2009; 117(3): 167-173.

Sartippour MR, Seeram NP, Heber D, Hardy M, Norris A, Lu Q, Zhang L, Lu M, Rao JY, Brooks MN Rabdosia rubescens inhibits breast cancer growth and angiogenesis. International Journal of Oncology. 2005; 26(1): 121-7.

Lu QY, Jin YS, Zhang Q, Zhang Z, Heber D, Go VL, Li FP, Rao JY Ganoderma lucidum extracts inhibit growth and induce actin polymerization in bladder cancer cells in vitro. Cancer letters. 2004; 216(1): 9-20.

Zhang Q, Zhang ZF, Rao JY, Sato JD, Brown J, Messadi DV, Le AD Treatment with siRNA and antisense oligonucleotides targeted to HIF-1alpha induced apoptosis in human tongue squamous cell carcinomas. International Journal of Cancer. 2004; 111(6): 849-57.

Zhang L, Maul RS, Rao J, Apple S, Seligson D, Sartippour M, Rubio R, Brooks MN Expression pattern of the novel gene EG-1 in cancer. Clinical Cancer Research: an Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 2004; 10(10): 3504-8.

Cheng L, Reiter RE, Jin Y, Sharon H, Wieder J, Lane TF, Rao J Immunocytochemical analysis of prostate stem cell antigen as adjunct marker for detection of urothelial transitional cell carcinoma in voided urine specimens. The Journal of Urology. 2003; 169(6): 2094-100.

Espineda, C. Seligson, D. B. James Ball, W., Jr. Rao, J. Palotie, A. Horvath, S. Huang, Y. Shi, T. Rajasekaran, A. K. Analysis of the Na,K-ATPase alpha- and beta-subunit expression profiles of bladder cancer using tissue microarrays. Cancer. 2003; 97(8): 1859-68.

Rao, J. Seligson, D. Visapaa, H. Horvath, S. Eeva, M. Michel, K. Pantuck, A. Belldegrun, A. Palotie, A. Tissue microarray analysis of cytoskeletal actin-associated biomarkers gelsolin and E-cadherin in urothelial carcinoma. Cancer. 2002; 95(6): 1247-57.

Rao, J. Targeting actin remodeling profiles for the detection and management of urothelial cancers--a perspective for bladder cancer research. Front Biosci. 2002; 7: e1-8.

Rao JY, Jin YS, Zheng Q, Cheng J, Tai J, Hemstreet GP Alterations of the actin polymerization status as an apoptotic morphological effector in HL-60 cells.. Journal of cellular biochemistry. . 1999; 75(4): 686-97.

Rao JY, Bonner RB, Hurst RE, Liang YY, Reznikoff CA, Hemstreet GP Quantitative changes in cytoskeletal and nuclear actins during cellular transformation.. International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer. . 1997; 70(4): 423-9.

Rao JY, Hemstreet GP, Hurst RE, Bonner RB, Jones PL, Min KW, Fradet Y Alterations in phenotypic biochemical markers in bladder epithelium during tumorigenesis.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. . 1993; 90(17): 8287-91.