Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Weiwei Zhong

Assistant Professor of BioSciences

Our research goal is to decipher the gene networks behind complex traits such as development and behavior. We apply a suite of technologies in genetics, computer science, and engineering in our approach. We are interested in both developing new technologies for genetic studies and applying these tools to conduct large-scale genetic screens in the nematode C. elegans. We first develop tools to build a high-throughput research pipeline. Hypothesis-driven research is a process of two steps: hypothesis generation and experimental verification. Accordingly, our pipeline is composed of a bioinformatic system that predicts gene networks, and a computer vision system that facilitates high-speed experimental testing of C. elegans genetic interactions. We then apply this research pipeline to conduct genome-scale, quantitative genetic screens in C. elegans to discover the gene networks regulating development, behavior, and physiology. With the systems biology approach, we expect to bring our understanding of genome function to a new level.

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Labocha, M. K., Yuan, W., Aleman-Meza, B., and Zhong, W. A strategy to apply quantitative epistasis analysis on developmental traits.  BMC Genetics 2017

Aleman-Meza, B., Loeza-Cabrera, M., Peña-Ramos, O., and Zhong, W. High-content behavioral profiling reveals neuronal genetic network modulating Drosophila larval locomotor program.  BMC Genetics 2017

Yuan, W., Zhou, Y., Fan, Y., Guo, Y.R., Tao, Y.J., and Zhong, W. Orsay δ protein interacts with host cytoskeleton to mediate polarized viral exit from C. elegans intestine.  Journal of Virology 2017

Zhou, Y., Loeza-Cabrera, M., Liu, Z., Aleman-Meza, B., Nguyen, J. K., Jung, S.K., Choi, Y., Shou, Q., Butcher, R.A., and Zhong, W. Potential nematode alarm pheromone induces acute avoidance in C. elegans.  Genetics 2017

Gonzales, D.L., Badhiwal K.N., Vercosa, D.G., Avants, B.W., Liu, Z., Zhong, W., Robinson, J.T. Scalable electrophysiology in intact small animals with nanoscale suspended electrode arrays.  Nat Nanotechnol. 2017

Fan, Y., Guo, Y.R., Yuan, W., Zhou, Y., Holt, M.V., Wang, T., Demeler, B., Young, N.L., Zhong, W.* and Tao, Y.J.* Structure of a pentameric virion-associated fiber with a potential role in Orsay virus entry to host cells.  PLoS Pathogen, 13(2) 2017

Contreras, E.Q., Cho, M., Zhu, H., Puppala, H.L., Zhong, W., and Colvin, V.L. Toxicity of Quantum Dots and Cadmium Salt to Caenorhabditis elegans after Multigenerational Exposure. Environ Sci Technol. 47: 1148-1154. (2013)

Hu, M., He. L., Campbell. B. E., Zhong, W., Sternberg, P. W., Gasser, R. B. A vacuolar-type proton (H(+)) translocating ATPase alpha subunit encoded by the Hc-vha-6 gene of Haemonchus contortus.  Mol Cell Probes, 24 2010: 196-203

Cantacessi, C., Campbell, B. E., Young, N. D., Jex, A. R., Hall, R. S., Presidente, P. J., Zawadzki, J. L., Zhong, W., Aleman, B., Loukas, A., Sternberg, P. W., Gasser, R. B. Differences in transcription between free-living and CO2-activated third-stage larvae of Haemonchus contortus.  BMC Genomics, 11 2010: 266

Hu, M., Zhong, W., Campbell, B.E., Sternberg, P.W., Pellegrino, M.W., Gasser, R.B. Elucidating ANTs in worms using genomic and bioinformatic tools--biotechnological prospects?.  Biotechnol Adv., 28 2010: 49-60

Cantacessi, C., Zou, F. C., Hall, R. S., Zhong, W., Campbell, B. E., Ranganathan, S., Sternberg, P. W., Zhu, X. Q., and Gasser, R. B. Bioinformatic analysis of abundant gender-enriched transcripts of adult Ascaris suum (Nematoda) using a semi-automated workflow platform.  Mol Cell Probes, 23 2009: 205-217

Cantacessi, C., Loukas, A., Campbell, B. E., Mulvenna, J., Ong, E. K., Zhong, W., Sternberg, P. W., Otranto, D., and Gasser, R. B. Exploring transcriptional conservation between Ancylostoma caninum and Haemonchus contortus by oligonucleotide microarray and bioinformatic analyses..  Mol Cell Probes, 23 2009: 1-9

Campbell, B. E., Nagaraj, S. H., Hu, M., Zhong, W., Sternberg, P. W., Ong, E. K., Loukas, A., Ranganathan, S., Beveridge, I., McInnes, R. L., Hutchinson, G. W., and Gasser, R. B. Gender-enriched transcripts in Haemonchus contortus - predicted functions and genetic interactions based on comparative analyses with Caenorhabditis elegans..  Int J Parasitol, 38 2008: 65-83

Huang, C. Q., Gasser, R. B., Cantacessi, C., Nisbet, A. J., Zhong, W., Sternberg, P. W., Loukas, A., Mulvenna, J., Lin, R. Q., Chen, N., and Zhu, X. Q. Genomic-bioinformatic analysis of transcripts enriched in the third-stage larva of the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum.  PLoS Negl Trop Dis. , 2 2008: e246

Cui, X., Lee, L., Heng, X., Zhong, W., Sternberg, P. W., Psaltis, D., and Yang, C. Lensless high-resolution on-chip optofluidic microscopes for Caenorhabditis elegans and cell imaging.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 2008: 10670-10675

Zhong, W. and Sternberg, P. W. Automated data integration for developmental biological research.  Development, 134 2007: 3227-3238

Zhong, W. and Sternberg, P. W. Genome-wide prediction of C. elegans genetic interactions.  Science, 311 2006: 1481-1484

Zhong, W., Feng, H., Santiago, F. E., and Kipreos, E. T. CUL-4 ubiquitin ligase maintains genome stability by restraining DNA replication licensing.  Nature, 423 2003: 885-889

Feng, H.*, Zhong, W.*, Punkosdy, G., Gu, S., Zhou, L., Seabolt, E. K., and Kipreos, E. T. (*co-first authors), CUL-2 is required for the G1-to-S-phase transition and mitotic chromosome condensation in Caenorhabditis elegans.  Nat Cell Biol., 1 1999: 486-491

Personal page

  • B.S. Biology (1997) University of Science and Technology of China
  • Ph.D. Cell Biology (2002) University of Georgia
  • M.S. Computer Science (2003) University of Georgia
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
  • Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology
Research Areas
  • Genetic interaction networks, computer vision system for animal development and behavioral analysis
Professional Experience
  • Postdoctoral Scholar
    California Institute of Technology
  • Assistant Professor
    Rice University
Contact Information
Email: Weiwei.Zhong@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-2307
Office: George R. Brown Hall, W200P