Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Xiangbo Ruan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Department and Institute Affiliations

  • Martin Trapecar, Ph.D.Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research, Johns Hopkins All Children’s
  • Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Department of Medicine (Primary Appointment), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Lab Name

The Ruan Lab of RNA Metabolism

Contact Information

Research and Education Building, Room 3112
600 Fifth Street S
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 

Phone: 727-767-8937
Fax: 727-767-8804

Twitter: @XiangboR
Learn more about Dr. Ruan’s work

Post-doctoral opportunities

The Ruan Lab is recruiting two postdoctoral research fellows to study RNA metabolism in the context of health and diseases. To apply for the position, please send your CV with a brief introduction to xruan5@jhmi.eduClick here for more information


  • Bachelor of Science, Biotechnology, Wuhan University, China, 2006 
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, 2012 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology and Molecular Biology, NHLBI, Maryland, 2021 


Dr. Ruan is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Ruan’s research aims to understand how environmental and genetic factors affect RNA metabolism at the organism level and how dysregulation of these processes causes diseases as well as aging in humans. 

Honors and Awards

  • NHLBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Basic Science, 2017 
  • Orloff Science Awards, NHLBI, 2017 
  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), NIH, 2016 
  • Pfizer Scholarships, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2010-2011 


Research Interests

RNA metabolism includes the transcription, splicing, modification, transportation, translation and degradation of RNA molecules. While it is known that dysregulation of RNA metabolism causes many diseases, our understanding of RNA metabolism in humans is largely not clear. As almost all key elements involved in RNA metabolism; including promoters, splicing signals and untranslated regions; are poorly conserved among different species, our knowledge gained in model animals may not easily be applied to humans. Meanwhile, in vitro cultured human cells are often incapable of capturing complex in vivo physiological environments, which is crucial to understand disease development.

The Ruan lab’s research aims to understand how genetic/environmental factors affect human RNA metabolism at the organism level and why dysregulation of this process causes diseases. Using humanized mouse models combined with CRISPR mediated genome editing, gene activation/inhibition, and state-of-the-art molecular biology tools in RNA biology, we are passionate about revealing non-coding RNA-mediated human-specific regulatory mechanisms controlling gene expression in health and diseases. 

The current projects are: 

  • Study the molecular mechanisms controlling the activity of our recently identified human lncRNAs associated with cardiometabolic traits. 
  • Reveal how the 5' RNA degradation pathway is regulated by overnutrition and explore its role in fatty liver diseases. 
  • Identify nuclear-enriched lncRNAs that regulate pre-mRNA splicing in the liver and brain and explore their roles in aging. 



Select Publications

  • Ruan X, Li P, Ma Y, Jiang CF, Chen Y, Shi Y, Gupta N, Seifuddin F, Pirooznia M, Ohnishi Y, Yoneda N, Nishiwaki M, Dumbovic G, Rinn JL, Higuchi Y, Kawai K, Suemizu H, Cao H. Identification of human long noncoding RNAs associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic homeostasis. J Clin Invest. 2021 Jan 4;131(1). doi: 10.1172/JCI136336. PubMed PMID: 33048844; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7773374. 
  • Ruan X, Li P, Chen Y, Shi Y, Pirooznia M, Seifuddin F, Suemizu H, Ohnishi Y, Yoneda N, Nishiwaki M, Shepherdson J, Suresh A, Singh K, Ma Y, Jiang CF, Cao H. In vivo functional analysis of non-conserved human lncRNAs associated with cardiometabolic traits. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 2;11(1):45. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13688-z. PubMed PMID: 31896749; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6940387. 
  • Ruan X, Li P, Cangelosi A, Yang L, Cao H. A Long Non-coding RNA, lncLGR, Regulates Hepatic Glucokinase Expression and Glycogen Storage during Fasting. Cell Rep. 2016 Mar 1;14(8):1867-75. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.062. Epub 2016 Feb 18. PubMed PMID: 26904944; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4775326. 
  • Li P*, Ruan X*, Yang L*, Kiesewetter K, Zhao Y, Luo H, Chen Y, Gucek M, Zhu J, Cao H. A liver-enriched long non-coding RNA, lncLSTR, regulates systemic lipid metabolism in mice. Cell Metab. 2015 Mar 3;21(3):455-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.02.004. PubMed PMID: 25738460; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4350020. *equal contribution. 

Publication Links

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Read more about Dr. Ruan's work:

Chasing RNA and its Secrets About Diseases

Xiangbo Ruan, Ph.D., is working to unravel the secrets of ribonucleic acid (RNA) to better understand how RNA modifications affect human organs and potentially cause disease.

Read More