Lab

Our lab is located in Department of Human Genetics at University of Chicago.  We are broadly interested in understanding the genetic basis of complex human diseases. What are the genes and genetic variants that influence the susceptibility of diseases? What are the mechanisms linking genetic changes to phenotypic consequences? We develop and employ computational or statistical tools to address these challenges. Genomic technologies are generating a huge amount of data, exploring multiple dimensions of cellular processes such as transcriptome, epigenome and gene networks. These create great opportunities for computational analysis that extracts meaning from the data. We are particularly interested in developing novel methods that integrate multiple genomic datasets to have better power of detecting disease genes and gain deeper insights into the disease mechanisms. We are also interested in the variations of phenotypes in a longer time-scale: between different species. In particular, what are the genetic changes that enable the evolution of novel functions and forms?

Some specific topics of current interest include:

  1. Systems genetics studies genetic variations related to molecular-level traits such as gene expression. How do we utilize such data to enrich our understanding of diseases?
  2. For many developmental diseases, de novo mutations play an important role. They are often rare, but can have large effects. How do we take advantage of de novo mutations to identify disease genes?
  3. Perturbations of gene regulation underlie many common diseases. What are the mechanisms controlling complex spatial-temporal gene expression patterns? How is this process disrupted by DNA mutations?

Systems_genetics

At University of Chicago, we are fortunate to be in a very stimulating and supportive environment. We share our space with the computational labs of Matthew Stephens and John Novembre. We interact regularly with other groups in our department that share our interests in human disease genetics, regulatory genomics and evolution. We also have ties with other outstanding researchers in the university in places such as Section of Genetic Medicine and Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology.

One main mission of our lab is to train next generation of scientists. Students and postdocs at the lab will have opportunities to learn both quantitative skills and the ability to use such skills to attack important biological problems. We believe there is a great demand of people with such training in both academia and industry, and we will create an environment that is conducive to learning and applying new skills. If you are interested in joining the lab, read this page!