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Ping Zhang

Postdoctoral Researcher in Statistical Functional Genomics

Genomics and Immunology

The maps of human genetic variants that associate with disease susceptibility allow us to generate and test biological hypotheses. Emerging evidence suggests that causal variants underlying disease susceptibility often function through regulatory effects on the transcription of target genes. However, there are challenges in harnessing of susceptibility loci for drug target identification and therapeutic application, including limitations in (i) exposition of causal variants within susceptibility loci, (ii) understanding of the specific affected genes and pathways that are therapeutically targetable, and (iii) mechanistic insights into their influence on cellular behaviours and clinical outcomes.

My current research is centered on identifying and characterizing regulatory variants modulating extreme innate immune response phenotypes in order to gain insights into the causal alleles driving heterogeneity of pathogenesis in sepsis and other diseases caused by immune dysfunction. The research combines bioinformatics, high-throughput CRISPR screening and multi-omics approaches to study variants in disease relevant cells and human iPSC-derived models.