Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Assistant Professor in Biostatistics & Bioinformatics
Contact Information


At the Zhang Lab, we focus on computational biology, bioinformatics, and machine learning in genomics. Our research interest includes developing machine learning methods for single-cell and multi-modality omics data and building models that combine genetics and functional genomics to understand multi-cellular systems like cancer, e.g. brain tumor.

Research Initiatives

Machine Learning Methods for Omics

We develop computational methods leveraging machine learning models, large-scale single-cell genomics data, and datatypes like spatial transcriptomics and multi-omics.




Multi-Cellular Tumor Microenvironment

Tumors, like many multi-cellular disease systems, are composed of multiple cell types. For solid tumor, cancer-intrinsic properties like proliferation, mutations, and epigenetic changes and cancer-extrinsic properties like tumor-infiltrating immune cell states and inflammation both affect tumor progression and therapeutic responses. We aim to understand molecular gene programs of tumor microenvironment (TME) cell states, pinpoint functional cancer-TME interactions, and identity targetable tumor immunity modulators. We are core members of the Duke Brain Tumor Omics Program at the Duke Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. We will use our computational expertise to develop methods that allow us to understand the incurable tumor types and to improve cancer therapy efficacy.





Integrating Human Genetics and Functional Genomics

Human genetic variants are natural probes to investigate cell context-dependent gene regulation related to human disease. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified many genetic variants associated with cancer susceptibility. We are interested in building computational methods to find cell-dependent effect of genetic variants by integrating GWAS summary statistics and functional genomics.






Yi Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurosurgery

Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (secondary)

Member of Brain Tumor Omics Program

Member of Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center

Associated Member of Duke Cancer Institute