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Zhao Li, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Bioinformatics and Systems Medicine


[email protected] | 713-500-3900

Zhao Li, PhD, joined McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics in May 2023 as an assistant professor and a faculty member at Data Science and Informatics Core for Cancer Research. This came after Li earned his PhD in Biomedical Informatics from McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston. He holds a bachelor’s in Software Engineering and a master’s in Computer Engineering.

Li’s research focus is on developing and applying innovative computational methods, especially artificial intelligence methods, for different levels of biomedical informatics ranging from population and individual data to cellular-level data to address critical biomedical research questions. He has extensive experience in analyzing large-scale biomedical datasets, including biomedical literature, genomics, imaging as well as electronic health records. He also has contributed to the development of machine learning and deep learning approaches for various biomedical informatics tasks. In addition, as one of the major contributors, Zhao worked with his team at McWilliams and UTHealth Houston to develop award-winning NLP systems to extract knowledge from biomedical literature.

  • Tell us about your research center and/or what research you are currently working on?
    My research focus on developing and applying machine learning algorithms to integrate multi-dimensional biomedical data for complex biological understanding and healthcare improvement.
  • What does the future of your research look like?
    It could foster the development of sophisticated models capable of deciphering intricate relationships within diverse datasets, transcending the limitations of individual data types. The seamless fusion of genomics, proteomics, clinical data, and more, driven by innovative algorithms, could unlock insights in human health that were previously obscured.
  • What does the future of informatics look like?
    The future of biomedical informatics research appears to be one where the lines between data, knowledge, and action blur, ushering in an era of precise medicine and enhanced human well-being. Biomedical informatics holds the potential to leave an indelible mark on the way we approach health, catalyzing a paradigm shift that aligns with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and its impact on human health.


  • BS, Software Engineering, Inner Mongolia University, China (2014)
  • MS, Computer Technology, Tianjin University, China (2017)
  • PhD, Biomedical Informatics, UTHealth Houston, US (2023)

Areas of Expertise

  • Biomedical data mining
  • Biomedical NLP
  • Big data analytics

Staff Support

Blanca Torres | 713-486-0114