The lab

Gerald Quon, Principal Investigator

Gerald Quon is a Canadi(eh)n Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis. Previously, he was a postdoc at MIT and the Broad Institute, building models to predict the mechanism of action of genetic variants associated with obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease. He completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Toronto under Quaid Morris, where his research focused on developing models to deconvolute gene expression profiles of heterogeneous cell populations, in order to improve personalized medicine in cancer. He also holds a MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto, as well as an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

Ruoxin Li, Biostats PhD student

Rita is a Ph.D student in Biostatistics. She has a keen interest in developing statistical tools, in particular generative models, to reveal and interpret novel biological insight from genomics data. In her personal time, she also enjoys watercolor, digital illustration and hiking.


Yongin Choi, BME PhD student

Yongin is a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department, and joined the lab in Spring 2018. His current project focuses on learning the key regulatory mechanism responsible for change and maintenance of cell state. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, board games, and eating great food that others have prepared for him.

Hongru Hu, IGG PhD student

Hongru is a PhD student in the IGG program. He has experience in applying neurogenetic and genomic tools to discover the function of neural circuits underlying animal behaviors and would love to develop computational methods for bridging the genotype-phenotype gap to answer specific biological questions. He likes exploring national parks in his spare time.

Lacey Walker, IGG PhD student

Lacey is a PhD student in the IGG program whose past work as a public health bioinformaticist has focused on metagenomics and antimicrobial resistant bacteria. She is interested in developing computational tools for integrative analysis that connects variations in genetics and gene expression to cellular phenotypes. She enjoys reading, volunteering, and trivia.

Baran Khazaee, CS PhD student

Baran (she/hers) is a PhD student in Computer Science. Her primary research interest lies in applying Machine Learning techniques to address complex Computational Biology problems, specifically gene expression prediction. Outside academics, she enjoys exploring, cooking, and trying new foods.

Shutong Gu, Biostats MS student

Shutong is currently a graduate student in the Biostatistics program. He is interested in exploring the relationship between human diseases and genetic variants through machine learning. His aim is to apply deep learning models to advance personalized medicine. In his spare time, he enjoys playing badminton and photographing.

Ricardo Valdarrago, Research Assistant

Ricardo is a recent Computer Science graduate from UC Davis who specialized in machine learning. He loves developing models to tackle all sorts of varying problems ranging from biological to computational. In his spare time, I enjoy baking, cooking and especially watching horror movies with my friends, on top of being an avid fan of board games and miniatures.

Annie Tran, Biochemistry undergrad

Annie is an undergraduate student at UC Davis pursuing a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics. She is interested in exploring the genetic expression and regulation of neuropsychiatric disorders. Outside of academics, she enjoys cooking, writing short stories, taking walks in nature, and spending time with friends and family.

Kevin Wang, NPB undergrad

Kevin Wang is a Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major at UC Davis. He really enjoys learning computation biology & bioinformatics and is looking forward to apply machine learning to analyze cellular mutations. When not translating bases, he’s translating Greek, imitating Squidward on the clarinet, jamming to jazz, or rock climbing.

Aruna Nannapaneni, Molecular and Medical Microbio undergrad

Aruna is an undergrad student at UC Davis studying Molecular and Medical Microbiology. She is interested in applying bioinformatics and machine learning to better understand genetic mutations and their correlation to diseases. Outside of academics, she enjoys spending time fencing, watching Disney channel, and playing board games.

Meghaa Saravanan, Molecular and Medical Microbio undergrad

Meghaa is an undergraduate student studying Molecular and Medical Microbiology at UC Davis. She is interested in studying cell adherence and cellular energetics that impact the risk of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Additionally she enjoys cinematography, reading books, and trying new foods.

Lab alumni

  • Nelson Johansen, CS PhD student (now Scientist @ the Allen Institute)
  • Xinzhe Li, Cell Biology undergrad and Junior Specialist (now a GPhD student @ UCLA)
  • Albert Stanley, CS undergrad (now CS grad student @ UCLA)
  • Ryan Buchner, Genetics and Genomics undergrad (2020-2021) (now CS grad student @ UC Davis)
  • Catalina Anghel, postdoc (now Research Scientist @ Canadian Nuclear Laboratories)