Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Zhao Lai, Ph.D.

Zhao lai


Dr. Lai is the founding director of the Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF) in the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (GCCRI) of UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). The GSF is also the Next Generation Sequencing Shared Resources of Cancer Center: NGSSR. The GSF utilizes high throughput sequencing platforms to generate high quality genomic data and provides support to its analysis for large number of faculty members at UTHSCSA. Dr. Lai has been leading the GSF since its inception, and have guided the establishment and development of every aspect of this core facility. At the GSF, Dr. Lai oversees the operational activities, including project budgeting and coordination, equipment acquisition and maintenance, training & supervising staff scientists, establishing all standard operating procedures (SOPs), and creating a working pipeline from experimental design through subsequent data interpretation of experiments with investigators. 

As the Director of GSF, Dr. Lai has continually established and significantly expanded the NGS services to develop a comprehensive portfolio of NGS protocols, secured NIH instrument grant S10 to improve the genomic infrastructure, and supported diverse biomedical research applications and projects. Under her leadership, with the data generated from the GSF, supported by the analytic and bioinformatics group, the GSF has quickly become an essential component in genomic studies and fundamentally transformed the genomics research environment for our faculty members, and contributed to over 80 cancer-related publications in NEJM, Cancer Cell, PNAS, and other high-impact peer-reviewed journals. 

Specially for rapid growing NGS research field, as new technologies and research directions evolve, Dr. Lai will implement them into our NGS assays and be instrumental in ensuring that researchers can fully utilize this new knowledge to enhance their current research. Overall, Dr. Lai’s research efforts supporting and implementing the NGS technologies and applications in the GSF is crucial to genomic studies of many projects.

Recent publications:

Hollister EB, Foster BA, Dahdouli M, Ramirez J, Lai Z. Characterization of the Stool Microbiome in Hispanic Preschool Children by Weight Status and Time. Childhood obesity (Print). 2017; PubMed [journal] PMID: 29028448

Liu Y, Wu P, Zhou J, Johnson-Pais TL, Lai Z, Chowdhury WH, Rodriguez R, Chen Y. XBSeq2: a fast and accurate quantification of differential expression and differential polyadenylation. BMC bioinformatics. 2017; 18(Suppl 11):384. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28984183, PMCID: PMC5629564

Sanchez HN, Shen T, Garcia D, Lai Z, Casali P, Zan H. Genome-wide Analysis of HDAC Inhibitor-mediated Modulation of microRNAs and mRNAs in B Cells Induced to Undergo Class-switch DNA Recombination and Plasma Cell Differentiation. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2017; (127). NIHMSID: NIHMS912633 PubMed [journal] PMID: 28994753, PMCID: PMC5731236

Akiel M, Guo C, Li X, Rajasekaran D, Mendoza RG, Robertson CL, Jariwala N, Yuan F, Subler MA, Windle J, Garcia DK, Lai Z, Chen HH, Chen Y, Giashuddin S, Fisher PB, Wang XY, Sarkar D. IGFBP7 Deletion Promotes Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Cancer research. 2017; 77(15):4014-4025. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28619711

Srivastava J, Robertson CL, Ebeid K, Dozmorov M, Rajasekaran D, Mendoza R, Siddiq A, Akiel MA, Jariwala N, Shen XN, Windle JJ, Subler MA, Mukhopadhyay ND, Giashuddin S, Ghosh S, Lai Z, Chen Y, Fisher PB, Salem AK, Sanyal AJ, Sarkar D. A novel role of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) in regulating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.). 2017; 66(2):466-480. NIHMSID: NIHMS870715 PubMed [journal] PMID: 28437865, PMCID: PMC5519412

Shen-Gunther J, Wang Y, Lai Z, Poage GM, Perez L, Huang TH. Deep sequencing of HPV E6/E7 genes reveals loss of genotypic diversity and gain of clonal dominance in high-grade intraepithelial lesions of the cervix. BMC genomics. 2017; 18(1):231. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28288568, PMCID: PMC5348809

Jadhav RR, Wang YV, Hsu YT, Liu J, Garcia D, Lai Z, Huang TH, Jin VX. Methyl-binding DNA capture Sequencing for Patient Tissues. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2016; (116). NIHMSID: NIHMS837224 PubMed [journal] PMID: 27842364, PMCID: PMC5203769

Horning AM, Awe JA, Wang CM, Liu J, Lai Z, Wang VY, Jadhav RR, Louie AD, Lin CL, Kroczak T, Chen Y, Jin VX, Abboud-Werner SL, Leach RJ, Hernandez J, Thompson IM, Saranchuk J, Drachenberg D, Chen CL, Mai S, Huang TH. DNA methylation screening of primary prostate tumors identifies SRD5A2 and CYP11A1 as candidate markers for assessing risk of biochemical recurrence. The Prostate. 2015; 75(15):1790-801.PubMed [journal] PMID: 26332453

Director of Genome Sequencing Facility

Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute

Assistant Professor/Research, Department of Molecular Medicine 


Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2000


Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute - 2.120,

UT Health San Antonio
8403 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio, Texas 78229

Tel: (210) 562.9246