Lai Lab

Zhao Lai, Ph.D.

Double helix large

Rank: Assistant Professor/Research
Department: Joint with Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Office: 4.100.14
Tel: 210-562-9246

Dr. Zhao Lai is Director of Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF) in the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (Greehey CCRI) at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Lai holds a Ph.D in Developmental Biology with more than 20 years of extensive research experience, and have authored or coauthored more than 30 peer-reviewed research articles. Dr. Lai was a research scientist as Functional Genomics Unit Leader in The Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics at Indiana University, where she started to use next generation sequencer from Roche 454 to Illumina Genome Analyzer and HiSeq platforms. Whiling leading the Functional Genomics team and managing large-scale next generation sequencing (NGS) activities of an NSF grant, she has acquired hands-on knowledge and expertise in high-throughput sequencing sample preparation, instrument operation, technology development, biological application, and associated basic bioinformatics studies.

Lab Research


  • NGS technology development and applications
  • GSF


Dr. Lai was fascinated on the NGS technology development and applications, and decided to lead the new established GSF in GCCRI at UT Health San Antonio in 2011. At the GSF, she oversees the operational activities of the GSF, including project budgeting and coordination, equipment purchase and maintenance, hiring, training and the supervision of staff scientists. Dr. Lai has actively developed and maintained effective communication skills with project investigators, scientists and students from experimental design through subsequent data interpretation of experiments. She has been leveraging her experience to establish and manage internal and external collaborations with high-throughput sample preparation and large-scale sequencing (genome, transcriptome, exome, methylome, ChIP, small RNA, targeted genome, metagenomics).

Under her leadership, with the data generated from the GSF, supported by the analytic and bioinformatics division at GCCRI, The NGS has quickly become essential tool for support of many predominately NIH and CPRIT funded projects at UT Health San Antonio, and the GSF has contributed significantly to the biomedical genomic research with many high impact publications. In 2016, Dr. Lai was awarded $600,000 NIH Shared Instrument grant (S10) to purchase Illumina HiSeq 3000 to upgrade the sequencing platform of GSF.

Lab Staff

Dawn Garcia                   
Technical Director, Research Core Facility

Korri Sue Weldon        
Research Core Facility Technician


Dr. Zhao Lai $600,000 NIH Shared Instrument grant