The lab

Gerald Quon, Principal Investigator

Gerald Quon is a Canadi(eh)n Assistant 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.


Nelson Johansen, CS PhD student

Nelson is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science. His current research interests include learning the relationship between gene expression, physiological and morphological properties defining cell state in order to identify abnormalities underlying complex diseases. His previous research focused on the integration of scRNA data from multiple studies and differential expression at the resolution of individual cells. Outside the lab, he enjoys growing a seasonal garden and spending time outdoors with Freyja.

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.

Xinzhe (Jason) Li, junior specialist

Xinzhe is a recent graduate of UC Davis who enjoys exploring the use of machine learning for solving biological problems. He loves traveling the world and spending time with friends and family. Cooking and martial art training might be his favorite activities when he occasionally has a life outside of school and lab.

Xiaotian Zou, CS MS student

Xiaotian is pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science. His current research interests focus on the combinations of encoder-decoder models and bioinformatics. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking and watching international news.

Pouneh Bahrami, CS MS Student

Pouneh is currently pursuing her Masters degree in the CS department. Her research interests include figuring out how shared principles between computation and biology can be used to improve our understanding of both fields. Currently she is learning Bioinformatics, Machine learning and computational Biology. Her previous research focused on securing Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). In her free time, she likes reading novels, hiking, yoga and board games.

Kevin Lee, undergrad student

Kevin is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in genomics and computer science. As someone with wet lab experience, computational biology interests him by providing another avenue of studying biology compared to traditional methods, and lets him help people in unexplored ways. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, reading manga, and frequenting all you can eat restaurants.

Tyler Brassel

Tyler Brassel, ML and Bioinformatics Intern

Tyler is a fourth year undergraduate interested in developing remotely deployed machine learning models and bioinformatics pipelines as applied to comparative genomics. He pays particular attention to scalability, security, fault-tolerance, and end user experience. Eventually he hopes to present his work with the lab at industry conferences and hackathons. In his free time, he likes hiking, collecting classic science fiction novels, and building community among first year undergraduates.


Frejya, lab mascot


Selected lab alumni

  • Kelly Chau, Genetics and Genomics undergraduate intern (2019)
  • Phoebe (Biyang) Zhang, Statistics undergraduate intern (2018)
  • Yifan Chen, BME rotation student (Fall 2017)
  • Daniela Soto, IGG rotation student (Fall 2017)
  • Shu Zhang, Biostatistics Masters intern (Summer 2017)
  • Erjia Cui, Statistics undergraduate intern (Summer 2017)
  • Yizi Zhang, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior/Statistics undergraduate (Winter 2017)
  • Yimin Hu, CS undergraduate intern (Summer 2016)