Xinxia Peng, PhD

Xinxia is a tenured Associate Professor of Infectious diseases in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, and a member of NC State Bioinformatics Research Center. He received his PhD in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and worked as a Bioinformatics Manager at Seattle BioMed (now Center for Global Infectious Disease Research). In 2008 he joined the University of Washington as a Computational Research Scientist. He was promoted to a Research Assistant Professor in the University of Washington Department of Microbiology in 2012. He joined NC State in July 2016 as Dean’s Faculty Excellence cluster hire, in the field of “Translational Genomics of Infectious Diseases”.

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

Tammy 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, she 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. Tammy joined the Peng Lab near the end of 2019 and her current role involves work with a microbiome project focused on vaginal communities as well as use of her experience with 5’RACE to be applied to other projects in the lab.

 Graduate Student 
 Kayleigh Diveley, Genetics


Kay 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 she entered as part of the PhD Genetics program in 2018 with interests in Neurobiology and Immunology. She joined Peng Lab in the Spring of 2019 to work with research being conducted on the functional impact of genetic variations in complex immune gene loci such as Fc Receptors.

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.

Nicole Adams, Bioinformatics

I received my B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2020, and now I am pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics. My research interests lie in identifying and understanding genetic predispositions that cause human diseases.

Sangmi Jeong, Bioinformatics

I received a MA in Statistics in 2021 from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. I am pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University. I chose the Peng Lab because I’m interested in their microbiome research. I am learning how deep sequencing analysis help understanding the relationship between host immune responses and microbiome, and what computational methods can be applied when analyzing the data. I am looking forward to gaining knowledge and experience in the Peng Lab.

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.

Zhuyang Lin, Bioinformatics (Rotation)

I received my B.S. in Computational Biology from Sichuan University in 2021, and M.S. in Bioinformatics of CS Track from Copenhagen University in 2023. I’m now pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University.
My research interests include the application of Machine Learning and Deep Learning in the fields of Bioinformatics. To achieve that, I’m currently focusing on getting more familiar with processing biological data as well as the Foundation Model.
Tharuka Artigalage Don, Bioinformatics (Rotation)

I graduated with a B.S. in Bioinformatics from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2022. Now, I’m pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University. My research interest centers on understanding how microbes and their hosts interact, with the aim of using this knowledge to improve health. I am currently familiarizing myself on how to utilize transcriptome data to achieve that goal.
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, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to discover and pursue a multitude of research interests within genetics, immunology, and infectious disease. My main lab responsibilities include supportive projects relating to cell culture and creation and maintenance of CRISPR knockdown/over-expression cell lines. 
Lab Alumni
Name, Position / Last known position
 Megan Welch, Rotation (Genetic and Genomic Scholar), 2023 Fall
James Park, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 2023 Spring
Umang Joshi, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 2023 Spring
Ian Huntress, PhD in Bioinformatics (2023) In Memoriam
Silvia Shui, Undergraduate (Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology), 2021-2022 / Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Stephen Griggs, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 2022 Fall
Evan Walsh, PhD in Bioinformatics (2022) / Capsida Biotherapeutics
Christal Dita, Undergraduate (Zoology), 2022 Summer
Nika Tadic, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 2021 Fall
Hsuan (Tina) Chou, Research Associate, 2019-2021 / Owlstone Medical
Hayden Brochu, PhD in Bioinformatics (2021) / Labcorp
Aiden Jones, MR in Genetics (2021) / Cell Microsystems
Jessie Chappel, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 2019 Spring
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
Sarah Hudadoff, Rotation (Genetics), 2019 Fall
Sam McMillan, Rotation (Genetics), 2019 Fall
Amy Nipper, Research Assistant, 2018-2019
Ashley Kilgore, Visiting student (Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University), 2019 Spring
Caizhi David Huang, Rotation (Bioinformatics), 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