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Ziqian Xie, PhD joined McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston in May 2022. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied physics from Sichuan University in Sichuan, China. He then pursued further education in biomedical engineering at University of Miami developing brain machine interface algorithms. Prior to joining UTHealth Houston, Xie worked at Baylor College of Medicine as a postdoctoral researcher applying unsupervised deep learning algorithm to extract phenotypes from medical imaging. His ongoing research focus on analyzing and understanding various biomedical data using deep learning, with an emphasis on discovering the underlying genetic components.

  • Tell us about your research center and/or what research/work you are currently working on?
    Derive biological meaning features from biomedical data such as imaging and perform genetic studies. We are currently working on deriving phenotypesfrom different brain imaging modalities using unsupervised learning and doing GWAS on the extracted features. We are also working on generativemodels to explain these features.
  • What does the future of your research look like?
    I hope to have a systematic and more theoretically justified way of extracting useful information from different modalities of a given dataset. For example,come up with some kind of scaling law relating the model size / number of different modalities with the genetic signal discovered. We will develop more inhouse tools to speed up the current testing iteration, our early experiment show that we can use GPU to accelerate the GWAS.
  • What does the future of informatics look like?
    Maybe a collaboration between human and AI. Maybe there will be a large model for each type of data or a more unified model for many kinds of data. The model will enable few shot learning or better, it may driven by artificial curiosity and do data exploration. Human can interact with the large modelwith natural language prompt.


  • PhD, 2018, Biomedical Engineering, University of Miami
  • BS, 2012, Applied Physics, Sichuan University

Areas of Expertise

  • Deep learning
  • Imaging genetics
  • Predictive modeling

Staff Support

Felicia Davis | 713-500-3667