Weiling Zhao, Ph.D. joined the UTHealth School Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) on October 1st, 2017 as an Associate Professor. Before arriving at SBMI, Dr. Zhao was a faculty member in the Department of Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Dr. Zhao obtained her M.S and Ph.D. from the graduate program of Free Radical and Radiation Biology at the University of Iowa in 1998 and 2000, respectively. She worked at the Department of Radiation Oncology of Wake Forest University School of Medicine as a Research Scientist/Assistant Professor from 2001 to 2013. During that period, her research was mainly focused on exploring the potential molecular mechanism(s) associated with radiation response of normal and tumor cells, developing novel approaches for the prevention of radiation-induced injury, and identifying potential targets for the treatment of tumors. Since 2014, Dr. Zhao has started her collaborative research with bioinformaticians and systems biologists in the cancer biology. Dr. Zhao, together with the bioinformaticians and system biologists, has demonstrated 1) the contribution of histone modification and alternative splicing of specific genes to embryo stem cell differentiation, 2) the effect of tumor-associated macrophage on the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer, 3) the role of tumor-stem cell-expressing genes in the drug resistance of multiple myeloma, etc. Her education, knowledge and expertise in molecular biology, cellular biology and cancer biology has greatly strengthened our research and funding opportunities in bioinformatics and system biology. In addition, the biologically validated targets and related signaling pathways will help us to better understand the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and provide opportunities for the development of new cancer treatment strategies. Dr. Zhao has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers since 2000 and served as PI or CO-I on NIH, industry, and foundation supported research grants.