Staff Profiles

Qingzhong Ren, Ph.D.

Scientist II

Ren joined the Allen Institute as part of the Mouse Cell Types team in 2019. He currently works on establishing new techniques for systematic cell type identification in the mouse brain. Before joining the Institute, Ren completed his postdoctoral training at the Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he developed genetic techniques that enable sub-dividing cells within a defined cell class based on their distinct lineage origins. Application of these techniques into the brain of Drosophila revealed novel insights toward the origins of sexual dimorphism, glial cell development, and neuronal temporal fate diversification. Ren received a Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Shandong Normal University and a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Research Interests

The cerebral cortex is responsible for the majority of higher-level cognitive functions, including sensory perception, decision making, motor planning, memory, and language. Despite years of research, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the degree of neuronal diversity in the cerebral cortex, which is composed of approximately 86 billion neurons in humans. The recent advances in single-cell biology have allowed revisiting this issue using cutting-edge genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic methods. At the Allen Institute, I am part of the Mouse Cell Types program that aims to catalog and understand the astonishing diversity of neural cells, the fundamental building blocks of the brain. In particular, I am working on developing new methods that reveal the transcriptomic and epigenetic landscapes of individual neurons in the mouse brain. 


  • RNA sequencing

  • Developmental Neuroscience

  • Cognitive and behavioral Neuroscience

Research Programs

  • Molecular Genetics

Selected Publications

Lineage-guided Notch-dependent gliogenesis by Drosophila multi-potent progenitors

June 11, 2018

Ren Q, Awasaki T, Wang YC, Huang YF, Lee T

Cell Class-Lineage Analysis Reveals Sexually Dimorphic Lineage Compositions in the Drosophila Brain

Current Biology
October 10, 2016

Ren Q, Awasaki T, Huang YF, Liu Z, Lee T