University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Jean C. Shih



Cell & Neurobiology, Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology
Keck School of Medicine
School of Pharmacy

Research Topics

  1. Neurobiology of Emotion
  2. Autism and brain developmental disorders
  3. MAO as Noval target for Cancer Therapeutics
  4. Gene regulation and functions
  5. Drug discovery and development

Research Overview

Research objectives in Shih Lab are to understand the roles of neurotransmitters on gene expression, signal transduction behaviors and ultimately diseases. They are studying the role of serotonin and dopamine in neuronal development, regulation of transcription factors in a series of monoamine oxidase (MAO) gene knock-out mice, which are animal models for anxiety, aggression and autistic-like-behavior and aggression. Recently, they showed these gene knockout mice also slowed down the progression and metastasis of prostate and brain cancers Thus provides unique animal models to study the interaction between tumors and microenvironment. Currently, Shih Lab used these KO mice model to develop novel targets for the treatment and early diagnosis of autistic-like ?behaviors, prostate and brain cancer.

Contact Information

Web Sites:
School of Pharmacy
PIBBS (Programs in Biomedical and Biosciences
Jean C. Shih Lab
Mailing Address:
9121 HSC
Office Location:
PSC 518
Office Phone:
(323) 442-1441
(323) 224-7473


  • BS 1964 Biochemistry - National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • PhD 1968 Biochemistry - University of California, Riverside
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship:
  • 1968 - 1970 University of California, Los Angeles

Selected Publications

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Early postnatal inhibition of serotonin synthesis results in long-term reductions of perseverative behaviors, but not aggression, in MAO A-deficient mice.  Bortolato M, Godar SC, Tambaro S, Li FG, Devoto P, Coba MP, Chen K, Shih JC.  Neuropharmacology. 2013 Dec;75:223-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Jul 16.  PMID: 23871843   [PubMed - in process]

-PubMed -Link

Cognitive abnormalities and hippocampal alterations in monoamine oxidase A and B knockout mice.  Singh C, Bortolato M, Bali N, Godar SC, Scott AL, Chen K, Thompson RF, Shih JC. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 30;110(31):12816-21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308037110. Epub 2013 Jul 15.  PMID:  23858446    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Monoamine oxidase A and A/B knockout mice display autistic-like features.  Bortolato M, Godar SC, Alzghoul L, Zhang J, Darling RD, Simpson KL, Bini V, Chen K, Wellman CL, Lin RC, Shih JC.  Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 May;16(4):869-88. doi: 10.1017/S1461145712000715. Epub 2012 Jul 31.  PMID:  22850464   [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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NMDARs mediate the role of monoamine oxidase A in pathological aggression.  Bortolato M, Godar SC, Melis M, Soggiu A, Roncada P, Casu A, Flore G, Chen K, Frau R, Urbani A, Castelli MP, Devoto P, Shih JC.  J Neurosci. 2012 Jun 20;32(25):8574-82. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0225-12.2012.  PMID:  22723698  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Behavioral outcomes of monoamine oxidase deficiency: preclinical and clinical evidence.  Bortolato M, Shih JC.  Int Rev Neurobiol. 2011;100:13-42. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386467-3.00002-9. Review.  PMID:  21971001   [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Social deficits and perseverative behaviors, but not overt aggression, in MAO-A hypomorphic mice.  Bortolato M, Chen K, Godar SC, Chen G, Wu W, Rebrin I, Farrell MR, Scott AL, Wellman CL, Shih JC.  Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Dec;36(13):2674-88. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.157. Epub 2011 Aug 10.  PMID:  21832987   [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

-PubMed -Link

Valproic acid induces monoamine oxidase A via Akt/forkhead box O1 activation.  Wu JB, Shih JC.  Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;80(4):714-23. doi: 10.1124/mol.111.072744. Epub 2011 Jul 20.  PMID:  21775495  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Monoamine oxidase A regulates neural differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells.  Wang ZQ, Chen K, Ying QL, Li P, Shih JC.  J Neural Transm. 2011 Jul;118(7):997-1001. doi: 10.1007/s00702-011-0655-0. Epub 2011 May 24.  PMID:  21607742  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Transcription factor E2F-associated phosphoprotein (EAPP), RAM2/CDCA7L/JPO2 (R1), and simian virus 40 promoter factor 1 (Sp1) cooperatively regulate glucocorticoid activation of monoamine oxidase B.  Chen K, Ou XM, Wu JB, Shih JC.  Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Feb;79(2):308-17. doi: 10.1124/mol.110.067439. Epub 2010 Oct 27.  PMID:  20980443  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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Regulation of monoamine oxidase A by the SRY gene on the Y chromosome.  Wu JB, Chen K, Li Y, Lau YF, Shih JC.  FASEB J. 2009 Nov;23(11):4029-38. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-139097. Epub 2009 Aug 6.  PMID:  19661285  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

-PubMed -Link

MAOA is essential for prostate tumorigenesis and cancer metastasis  Boyang Wu J, Shao C, Li X, Li Q, Hu P, Shi C, Li Y, Chen Y, Yin F, Liao C, Stiles BL, Zhau HE, Shih JC, Chung LWK.  Journal Clinical Investigation, will be published on May 25, 2014.