Wei Zhou, PhD
I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow co-advised by Dr. Mark Daly and Dr. Benjamin Neale. I earned my Ph.D. in Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan under the direction of Dr. Cristen Willer and Dr. Seunggeun (Shawn) Lee.
Development and application of statistical methods for large-scale genetic association studies in biobanks
With electronic health records (EHR) and epidemiological questionnaires linking to genomic data, large biobanks provide unprecedented research opportunities for systematically understanding genetic and environmental contributions to complex diseases. Biobank-based genetic studies have incredible potentials for revealing better disease prediction, prevention and treatment with the broad range of participants’ health data available. My research interests encompass two critical fields of the biobank-based genetic studies. The first one is focused on dissecting genetic architecture of complex diseases and detangling genetic relationships among related phenotypes by leveraging large-scale biobanks together. We propose a project, called Global Biobank Meta-analysis Initiative, to jumpstart global collaborations on genetic studies between biobanks. Motivated by methodological challenges for data analysis in large biobanks, my second research interest is focused on developing novel and scalable statistical and computational tools to improve the performance of biobank-based genetic association studies. I am developing a scalable survival analysis method to allow for the analysis of longitudinal data in large biobanks with related samples, while correcting for type I error inflation for rare genetic variants. I hope to use this method to discover genetic and environmental drivers for the development of diseases over time in large biobanks, such as the UK Biobank and FinnGen.