People: Current Members

Principal Investigator

Professor of Human GeneticsProfessor & Associate Chair for Research of Computational Medicine and BioinformaticsFaculty, Center for Statistical Genetics; Comprehensive Cancer CenterMember, Depression Center; Michigan Diabetes Research Center; Michigan Metabolomics & Obesity CenterCo-Director, Michigan Center for Single-Cell Genomic Data Analytics
5940A Buhl1241 E. Catherine St. SPC 5618Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5618junzli@med.umich.edu734-615-5754

The Li lab studies the genetic and functional basis of complex human diseases using genomic approaches. Currently our NIH-supported projects include the analyses of spontaneous mutation patterns in the human genome (NIGMS R01), multi-omic studies of a genetic rat model of addiction behavior (NIDA U01) and a rat model of metabolic health (NIDDK R01). We are part of the MoTrPAC Consortium (U24 NIH Common Funds) which seeks to discover the molecular transducers of the health benefit of physical exercise. Dr. Li co-directs the Michigan Center for Single-Cell Genomic Data Analytics and the Single-Cell Spatial Analysis Program. An overarching theme in the Li lab is the responsible use of complex data in transparent, reproducible, and community extendable research. We are constantly recruiting talented individuals with background in biostatistics and biomedical data science.

His personal website can be accessed through this link.

Research Specialists

Research Specialist, Senior, Department of Human Genetics (2016 - present)Research Specialist, Intermediate, Department of Human Genetics (2013 - 2016)Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Li/Ginsburg (2010 - 2013)

As a data scientist, Dr. Ozel’s ultimate goal in research is to devise and apply analytical and computational approaches to discover the genetics behind complex traits and rare diseases. Her background is in Chemical Engineering and Food Science and Engineering (Middle East Technical University) with MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering (University of Michigan), and postdoctoral training in Human Genetics (University of Michigan) supervised by Dr. Jun Li and Dr. David Ginsburg. In 2013, she became a Research Specialist - Intermediate, and got promoted to Senior level in 2016. She has led and contributed to many collaborations to reveal such information from various levels of genetic and omics data (i.e. genotyping; whole exome/genome, RNA and targeted sequencing) from cohorts and multi-generational families. A few of her projects are: genetics of venous thromboembolism; linkage analysis and fine mapping of rare diseases such as atypical progeria, ataxia, thrombocytopenia, hemophilia B, combined pituitary hormone deficiency, nanophthalmos,T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia; genetics and heritability of complex traits focusing on blood, clotting and eye; and rat genome assembly and improvement efforts using short- and long-range sequencing (IROC Consortium). She has experience in linux-based systems, high performance clusters, command-line tools and various programming languages (python, R, java). Her most recent publication is: "Extended regions of suspected mis-assembly in the rat reference genome".

Her ResearchGate, LinkedIn and Google Scholar pages can be accessed through the links.

Qianyi Ma, Ph.D.

Research Area Specialist, Department of Human Genetics (2016 – present)Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Li/Ginsburg Lab (2013 – 2016)

Qianyi Ma received her PhD in Human Nutrition and Graduate Minor in Statistics from Pennsylvania State University in 2012. From 2013 to 2016, she was a joint postdoc supervised by Dr. Jun Li and Dr. David Ginsburg in Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan. Her PhD and postdoc research has given her versatile experiences in nutritional sciences, statistics, genetics and genomic-scale high-throughput sequencing analysis. Her current research is focused on single-cell RNA-seq analysis of spermatogenesis, co-mentored by Dr. Jun Li and Dr. Sue Hammoud. Her most recent publication is “A Comprehensive Roadmap of Murine Spermatogenesis Defined by Single-Cell RNA-Seq”.

Her LinkedIn and Google Scholar pages can be accessed through the links.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Merajver/Li Lab, University of Michigan

John Lloyd is a computational biologist in the Departments of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine. His research interests include cancer genomics, precision medicine, and the evolution and ecology of tumors. His research focuses on developing robust statistical methods to identify molecular biomarkers for sensitivity to small molecule drugs so that patients may receive the most effective initial therapies. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, with research focused on genome evolution and identification of functional intergenic transcripts and non-coding RNAs.

His Google Scholar, LinkedIn, and GitHub pages can be accessed through the links.

Alec Steep, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Li/Burant Lab, University of Michigan

Alec Steep is a computational biologist in the department of Human Genetics. His research interests involve biology and disease; and in his postdoc, he aims to build a robust quantitative skillset to empower biological inquiries. He received bachelors degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University (MSU), where he also earned a Ph.D. in the department of Genetics and Genome Sciences. At MSU, Alec studied the cancer genome landscapes of Marek’s Disease Lymphomas and discovered its genetic drivers. Alec currently works with the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC)—under the joint supervision of Drs. Jun Li and Charles Burant—to uncover molecular responses to physical exercise. Alec performs multi-omic analyses to better understand the connections between exercise, health and disease.

Visiting Scholars

Yanling Zhang, Ph.D.

Yanling received his PhD in Biochemistry from University of Iowa in 2008. From 2008-2014, he worked as a Research Fellow at the Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan. In August of 2014, he was appointed a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Soochow University in China. He is currently visiting the Li lab from Aug 2018 - Feb 2019. Yanling is interested in novel regulation mechanisms of membrane trafficking events using a combination of bioinformatics and wet lab techniques. During the Li lab fellowship, he will analyze RNA-seq data from rat models.

Ph.D Students

Xianing Zheng

Ph.D. Student, Department of Human Genetics

Xianing received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Wuhan University in China and had a short graduate study in bioinformatics and computational biology at National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing. He is interested in applying and developing computational or statistical methods to address essential biological questions. Currently he is working on single cell RNA-seq data simulation, algorithms benchmarking and devising new measurements to characterize scRNA-seq data. He is co-mentored by Prof. Jun Li and Prof. Sue Hammoud at the Department of Human Genetics.

Andy Beck

Ph.D. Student, Department of Biostatistics

Andy Beck is a PhD student in the Department of Biostatistics. His current research involves using statistical and computational tools to better characterize the germline mutation rate at a finer scale across the genome using large GWAS datasets. He is co-advised by Professors Jun Li and Sebastian Zoellner.

Ph.D Student, Department of Human Genetics

He goes by Han, a PhD student in the Department of Human Genetics. Han received his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & Information System and Bachelor of Science in Genomics & Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University. Han is still exploring the field of computational biology. His current research projects include power analysis of experiments based on sequencing data, refining the rat reference genome, stistical modeling of cancer incidence rate, and scRNA-seq tools benchmarking. He is also working with Maxwell on the creation and maintenance of this website.

Mashiat Rabbani

PhD Pre-Candidate, Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS)

Mashiat is an international student from Bangladesh. She received her Bachelor’s at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Master’s at the School of Health Professions at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is currently working on using single cell genomics to understand male germ cell development. Previously she worked on integrative data analysis on single cell level to understand tumor heterogeneity in breast cancer. She hopes to continue leveraging single cell technologies to answer biological questions.

D. Ford Hannum Jr.

Ph.D Student, Bioinformatics

Ford graduated from Ohio State University with an undergraduate degree in International Studies, and followed that with a Master's degree in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan. During his time at Michigan, Ford was introduced to research in Dr. Donna Martin's lab studying the role of CHD7 in neuronal differentiation with a focus on understanding CHARGE syndrome. Currently he is working on single-cell in multiple tissue types to identify novel cell populations and to understand underlying causes of disease.

Rotation Students

Qianhui Huang

Ph.D. Student, Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics

Qianhui received her bachelor’s degree in biology and applied mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. Her past research interest involves single cell RNA-seq data analysis to study hepatocellular carcinoma and preeclampsia. She also conducted benchmark studies on different cell-type supervised/semi-supervised classification methods for the high throughput scRNA-seq data. Currently she is a first-year PhD student doing rotations and interests in expanding her knowledge in population genetics and GWAS analysis.

Undergraduate Students

Lin Huo

Undergraduate Student, College of Engineering

Lin is a transfer student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) majoring in Electronic and Computer Engineering, and now she is a junior student majoring in data science.