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Principal Investigator


Megha Padi

After studying biology and physics at MIT, I completed my Ph.D. in high-energy theoretical physics from Harvard. I then became excited about creating mathematical models to make sense of the large volumes of data emerging from new genomic and high-throughput technologies. After conducting postdoctoral work in computational and systems biology with John Quackenbush and Galit Lahav, I started my lab at the University of Arizona in 2018. I also lead the bioinformatics team at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Current members


Chen Chen, PhD student

I am a Biostatistics Ph.D. student. My research is focused on cancer omics data analysis and developing new bioinformatics tools. I am particularly interested in using network science and machine learning models to answer basic and translational biological questions, such as disease module detection, driver TF identification, drug response prediction and biomarker discovery. 


Jiawen Yang, PhD student

After finishing my BS in clinical pharmacy and MS in pharmacology, I joined the CBIO program at the University of Arizona with enthusiasm for cancer genomics. My research is focusing on discovering carcinogenesis mechanisms through analyzing cancer genomic profiles; In the prostate cancer project, a collaboration project with the Rogers lab, I am specifically interested in studying how centrosome-loss alters genomic structure and activates oncogenic changes in prostate epithelial cells. I am also interested in investigating how transcriptional regulatory changes activate the neuroendocrine transition in Merkel cell carcinoma and lead to highly aggressive features of this tumor.


Dante Bellomo, PhD student

My research involves analyzing the genomic and epigenomic profiles of early onset Colorectal cancer.  Through identification of upregulated genes and molecular signaling networks, I aim to determine the alternative mechanisms of carcinogenesis these tumors undergo as many of them lack a mutation in the APC gene, which is very often mutated in the canonical model of later-onset Colorectal cancer.

Faith Kennedy.jpg

Faith Kennedy, UBRP x Data Science Fellow

As a dual major in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Statistics & Data Science, I’m excited about mathematical applications in biology. Being at the intersection of these topics allows me to perform analyses on complex datasets, while tailoring them to specific biological problems and interpreting results with the whole system in mind. In my current project studying Merkel cell carcinoma, I’m working to identify key interactions between genes by analyzing genomic data using network analysis. My goal is to increase understanding of how this particular cancer develops and find new targets for treatment.


Meucci Ilunga, UA PREP Fellow

Meucci Ilunga is a Luba-Diné student from the Navajo Nation in the four corners region of Northern Arizona. He completed his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biochemistry summa cum laude at the University of Arizona in May 2020. Afterwards, he spent a year-long stint at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research scientist in the Department of Biology studying Computational Protein Design in the lab of Dr. Amy Keating. His research interests center around integrating the use of data science in the study of systems biology and the impact of data bias on clinical research outcomes.

Former members

Adam Grant, CBio PhD student

James Lim, Postdoctoral fellow

Current Role: Bioinformatician, Monoceros

Paris Vail, Research technician

Calsey Richardson, PREP post-baccalaureate

Current Role: Biology instructor

Vivian Nguyen, undergraduate researcher

Emily Galloway, UBRP fellow

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