April Shu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences

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Chang Shu, also known as April Shu, is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Genetic Epidemiology and the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Shu specializes in psychiatric genetics and epidemiology. Her work focuses on autism genetics, substance use epigenetics, and single-cell transcriptomics. She utilizes advanced statistical and machine learning techniques to uncover novel genetic and epigenetic factors in mental and behavioral disorders. Dr. Shu received her Ph.D. in Mental Health focusing on psychiatric genetics and a concurrent master’s degree in Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds an additional master’s degree in Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health. Her current lab website is: https://www.aprilshulab.com/.


  • College on Problems of Drug Dependence: Early Career Investigators Awards, 2020
  • the DREAM challenge: Winner of single-cell transcriptome prediction, 2018
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society: Phi Beta Kappa, 2018
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Lucy Shum Memorial Scholarship for excellence in public health research, 2016


  • Differential expression of NPAS4 in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex following opioid overdose Drug Alcohol Depend Rep. 2022 Jun; 3:100040. . View in PubMed
  • Integrating de novo and inherited variants in 42,607 autism cases identifies mutations in new moderate-risk genes Nat Genet. 2022 09; 54(9):1305-1319. . View in PubMed
  • Imputing cognitive impairment in SPARK, a large autism cohort Autism Res. 2022 01; 15(1):156-170. . View in PubMed
  • Epigenome-wide association analyses of active injection drug use Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 06 01; 235:109431. . View in PubMed
  • Sex Difference and Interaction of SIRT1 and FOXO3 Candidate Longevity Genes on Life Expectancy: A 10-Year Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022 08 12; 77(8):1557-1563. . View in PubMed
  • Interaction of greenness and polygenic risk score of Alzheimer’s disease on risk of cognitive impairment Sci Total Environ. 2021 Nov 20; 796:148767. . View in PubMed
  • DNA methylation biomarker selected by an ensemble machine learning approach predicts mortality risk in an HIV-positive veteran population Epigenetics. 2021 Jun-Jul; 16(7):741-753. . View in PubMed
  • Gene-Environment Interaction of FOXO and Residential Greenness on Mortality Among Older Adults Rejuvenation Res. 2021 Feb; 24(1):49-61. . View in PubMed
  • Epigenome-wide study of brain DNA methylation following acute opioid intoxication Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 04 01; 221:108658. . View in PubMed
  • Epigenome-wide association scan identifies methylation sites associated with HIV infection Epigenomics. 2020 11; 12(21):1917-1927. . View in PubMed
  • Gene selection for optimal prediction of cell position in tissues from single-cell transcriptomics data Life Sci Alliance. 2020 11; 3(11). . View in PubMed
  • Single-cell Transcriptome Mapping Identifies Common and Cell-type Specific Genes Affected by Acute Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in Humans Sci Rep. 2020 02 26; 10(1):3450. . View in PubMed
  • APOE e4 Modifies Effect of Residential Greenness on Cognitive Function among Older Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis in China Sci Rep. 2020 01 09; 10(1):82. . View in PubMed
  • DNA methylation mediates the effect of cocaine use on HIV severity Clin Epigenetics. 2020 09 14; 12(1):140. . View in PubMed
  • Comparison of methylation capture sequencing and Infinium MethylationEPIC array in peripheral blood mononuclear cells Epigenetics Chromatin. 2020 11 23; 13(1):51. . View in PubMed
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse genomics consortium white paper: Coordinating efforts between human and animal addiction studies Genes Brain Behav. 2019 07; 18(6):e12577. . View in PubMed
  • Presence of an epigenetic signature of prenatal cigarette smoke exposure in childhood Environ Res. 2016 Jan; 144(Pt A):139-148. . View in PubMed
  • Examining the association between substance use disorder treatment and smoking cessation Addiction. 2015 Jun; 110(6):1015-24. . View in PubMed
  • Trends in smoking among adults with mental illness and association between mental health treatment and smoking cessation JAMA. 2014 Jan 08; 311(2):172-82. . View in PubMed