Team

Xinxia Peng, PhD

I am a tenured Associate Professor of Infectious diseases in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, and a member of NC State Bioinformatics Research Center. I received my PhD in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics from the University of Tennessee – Oak Ridge National Laboratory Graduate School of Genome Science and Technology, under Computer Science Professor Dr. Michael Langston. I started as a Bioinformatics Manager at Seattle BioMed (now Center for Global Infectious Disease Research) after graduation. In 2008 I joined the University of Washington Department of Microbiology as a Computational Research Scientist, and was promoted to a Research Assistant Professor in 2012. I moved here at NC State in July 2016 as one of the Dean’s Faculty Excellence cluster hires, in the field of “Translational Genomics of Infectious Diseases,” and to be part of the Bioinformatics Research Center.

Visiting Researcher
Wei Wang, PhD

I am currently a Research Scientist in Meta BCR Ads Ranking CoreML Team and a Visiting Researcher in Peng Lab. My research interests include machine learning and its application in ads personalization experience, computational methodologies for efficient, accurate, and highly scalable genomic analysis. Also please visit my personal page.
Research Staff 

Tammy Tollison, MS, Lab Manager and CBS PhD student

I received a MS in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (2011) from Emory University and a BS in Genetics (2007) from Clemson University. Prior to joining the Peng Lab, I worked as an educator for 8 years with most of this time spent as a member of the Natural Sciences department at Wake Tech Community College. I joined the Peng Lab near the end of 2019.

I have been developing single-cell-based species-specific immune repertoire profiling assays. I also analyze both human clinical specimens and samples from animal studies provided by our collaborators using both long and short read high-throughput sequencing analysis.
 Graduate Student 
 Kayleigh Diveley, Genetics

I received a MS in Microbiology (2016) and a BS in Zoology (2014) from Western Illinois University with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. At North Carolina State University I entered as part of the PhD Genetics program in 2018 with interests in Neurobiology and Immunology. I joined Peng Lab in the Spring of 2019.

Working with Dr. Li at the University of Pittsburgh, I have set up high-throughput techniques developed by Dr. Li SNP-seq and Reel-seq in the lab to screen for functional genetic variations in human complex immune loci such as Fc receptors. Now I am using long read sequencing, CRISPR/Cas9 based genome editing, and other molecular techniques to investigate the functional mechanisms of human genetic variants identified by the high-throughput screens.
Kristen John, Genetics

I graduated with a B.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology from Liberty University in 2019 and joined the Peng Lab in the spring of 2020.

My general research interests are in understanding the biological mechanisms behind human disease. I work with our Bioinformatics graduate students to prioritize human long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) involved in viral infection and innate immunity that are identified by the analysis of large-scale bulk and single cell RNA-seq data. I am currently studying the functional mechanisms of selected human lncRNAs using various molecular techniques in human cells, with the helps from the Carpenter Lab at UC Santa Cruz.
Nicole Adams, Bioinformatics

I received a B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2020, and I am pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics.

My research interests lie in identifying and understanding genetic predispositions that cause human diseases. Currently I am developing computational pipeline and methods for long read sequencing data to extend our single cell sequencing based studies.

Sangmi Jeong, Bioinformatics

I received a MA in Statistics in 2021 from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and I am pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University.

I am interested in microbiome research in general. Through the analysis of microbiome deep sequencing data, I aim to identify microbial features that are predictive of disease progression and risk of infection in humans and rhesus macaques.
Ethan Smith, Bioinformatics

I received my B.S. in Genetics with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Georgia in 2022. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University.

My research interests include the characterization of non-coding RNA regulatory networks and the use of machine learning to identify conserved non-coding RNA elements across multiple species.
Undergraduate
Alexandra (Lexi) Istishin, Microbiology and Biomanufacturing

I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Microbiology with a minor in Biomanufacturing. I joined the Peng lab in Fall 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to discover and pursue a multitude of research interests within genetics, immunology, and infectious disease. Under the mentorship of Kristen, my current lab responsibilities include supportive projects relating to human cell culture and the creation and maintenance of long noncoding RNA CRISPR knockdown/overexpression human cell lines.
Lab AlumniName, Position / First position
 Ian Huntress, PhD in Bioinformatics (2023) In Memoriam
Silvia Shui, Undergraduate (Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology), 2021-2022 / Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Evan Walsh, PhD in Bioinformatics (2022) / Capsida Biotherapeutics
Christal Dita, Undergraduate (Zoology), 2022 Summer
Hsuan (Tina) Chou, Research Associate, 2019-2021 / Owlstone Medical
Hayden Brochu, PhD in Bioinformatics (2021) / Labcorp
Aiden Jones, MR in Genetics (2021) / Cell Microsystems
Anna Chernikov, Undergraduate (Computer Science & Biology), 2019-2020 / PhD student in Computer Science, University of Arizona
Anne Crews, Laboratory Supervisor (part-time), 2019-2020 / Retired
Amy Nipper, Research Assistant, 2018-2019
Ashley Kilgore, Visiting student (Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University), 2019 Spring
Ryan Li, Undergraduate (Mathematics), 2016-2018 / PhD student in Statistics, NC State
Alexis Johnson, Undergraduate (Microbiology), 2018
Manfred Meng, Research Scientist, 2018 / Duke University
Connor Campbell, Graduate Intern (Analytics), 2017-2018 / Fidelity Investments
Fang Yang, Research Associate, 2017-2018 / Texas A&M University
Erin Harrell, Research Associate, 2016-2018 / NC State
David Lemler, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2017 / Medical Writer