I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biostatistics and as a core member at the Center for Computational Molecular Biology at Brown University. I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Biostatistics at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Advisor: Dr. Xiang Zhou). My recent research interests focus on developing efficient statistical learning methods to address a variety of biological problems and computational challenges in genomics and genetics, particularly single-cell RNA-sequencing, and spatially resolved transcriptomics. In addition to my methodological research, I also work on genetic risk prediction analysis for common health exposure traits in large biobanks such as UK Biobank, and the Michigan Genomics Initiative (MGI).

Research Interests

My research interests focus on developing efficient statistical learning methods to address a variety of biological problems and computational challenges in genomics and genetics. These challenges typically arise with the high-dimensional data generated by rapidly evolving sequencing technologies, e.g., single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq), and spatially resolved transcriptomics (SRT). With the emergence of these large-scale data, I have been continually motivated to develop tailored statistical models to advance our understanding in cellular heterogeneity, tissue organization, and the underlying mechanisms of various types of cancers. In particular, my work centers on these important areas, (1) Powerful integrative statistical tests of association between gene sets and a phenotype; (2) Scalable Bayesian models and computational tools for high-throughput genomics data; (3) Effective and efficient optimization algorithms for multi-omics integrative analysis; (4) Genetic risk prediction analysis in large-scale bio-banks.

key words

  1. Statistical genetics and genomics
  2. Single-cell RNA-seq
  3. Spatial Transcriptomics
  4. Genetic risk analysis, Polygenic risk score
  5. High dimensional data
  6. Machine learning
  7. Data integration


We have openings for multiple positions, including Postdoctoral Fellow, and PhD Student. We are seeking applications for a postdoctoral fellow position within our research group. This position emphasize developing statistical methods and computational tools in high-dimensional biological data from functional genomic seuqnecing studies or genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Specific areas include, but not limited to, (1) spatially resolved multi-omics data; (2) single-cell genomics; (3) genetic risk prediction; (4) integrative modeling of GWAS summary statistics and omics data. This opportunity offers competitive benefits and involves working with diverse large-scale datasets. Prospective applicants should hold or be pursuing a PhD in biostatistics, statistics, computer science, bioinformatics, computational biology, biomedical engeneering, mathematics, or a related quantitative discipline. Strong computational skills are required. Interested applicants should submit a brief statement of interest, CV, and contact information for three references. For questions regarding the position, please contact me at : ying_ma@brown.edu. Applications will be reviewed promptly and accepted until the positions are filled.

📣 Latest News

2023-08-01: Ying started her Assistant Professor position at Brown University!

2022-10-08: Our paper working on polygenic risk score analysis for common health-related exposures was published on The American Journal of Human Genetics!

2022-05-18: Our collaborative paper on investigating the distributional properties on spatially resolved expression count data was published on Genome Biology!

2022-05-02: Our method CARD was published on Nature Biotechnology!

2021-11-02: Our review paper on statistical methods in genetic risk prediction of complex traits was selected as the cover paper in Trends in Genetics, with cover art designed by us!

For more news, please visit the News page.