My name is Sha Cao, a 6th year PhD student in the Department of Statistics, under the supervision of Dr. Ying Xu at the Computationsl Systems Biology Lab.


I am interested in developing and applying statistical, mathematical and computational methods for mining cancer tissue omic data to tackle fundamental and challenging cancer biology questions including the following areas:

  • Construction of Bayesian network to infer the key drivers of explosive growth of post-metastatic cancers, focused on the level of O2 availability, change in iron metabolisms, change in cholesterol metabolisms
  • Dictionary learning based derivation of cell type-specific contributions to tissue-based omic data, a current major hurdle in analyses of cancer tissue transcriptomic data
  • Quantitative modeling of the complex and competitive relationships among DNA synthesis, DNA methylation and anti-oxidation in cancer cells through systems-level modeling of the relevant reactions
  • Distinguishing contributions to observed gene-expression data in cancer cells by normal cellular processes and by abnormal processes needed for anti-oxidation, the most important stress type that cancer cells need to overcome, hence enabling meaningful interpretation of gene-expression data  
  • Large scale association studies on epigenomic markers in cancers with detected stress markers of various types based on integrated studies of epigenomic and transriptomic data


2014.01-now               Ph.D student in Statistics, University of Georgia                 
2011.09-2014.01         Ph.D student in Bioinformatics, University of Georgia
2007.09-2011.07         B.S., Mathematics, Beijing Normal University         


2015.11          Grimes Family Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Natural Sciences.
The University of Georgia
2015.10          Poster award in Big Data Challenges in Life Sciences Symposium.
The University of Georgia
2014.06          Statistics Department Travel Award.
The University of Georgia                                                                               
2014.05          Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant.
The University of Georgia
2011.08          Graduate School Assistantship.
The University of Georgia                                                                                
2011.07          Outstanding Graduate with honor.
Beijing Normal University


2016.10.25            “Computational studies and modeling of cancer metastases” in Center for Simulational Physics, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
2016.10.20            “Mathematical modeling of alterations in cancer cells' metabolic equilibrium” in Professor Zhaohui Qin’s group, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
2015.07.08            “Role of oxidized cholesterols in metastatic cancer” in Professor Yiwen Chen’s lab, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2015.07.09            “Cancer tissue gene expression deconvolution of populations in different oxygen amount” in Professor Wei Li’s lab, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
2015.07.13            “Understanding cancer in its full complexity via mining cancer tissue omic data” in Center for Systems Biology, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX
2015.07.14            “Genetic mutations may not be the primary driver of cancer formation” in Professor Yi Li’s lab, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
2015.07.15            “Understanding cancer in its full complexity via mining cancer tissue omic data” in Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


2011.11.07-09       “Oxidized Cholesterol Plays a Key Role in Driving the Rapid Growth of Metastatic Cancer” in the 9th Georgia Tech and Emory University International Conference "Genome Biology and Bioinformatics.", Atlanta, GA.
2015.10.12            “A probabilistic model for decomposition of tumor tissue
heterogeneity” in Big Data Symposium, Athens, GA.
2015.11.19            “Application of a non-parametric deconvolution method in metastase tumor tissue gene expression” in Georgia Research Alliance Retreat, Atlanta, GA.