Ssl2 protein in PIC complex

TSS mutations I screened are:


I'm a Research Scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), woking in Bioinformatics and Genomics Core that is led by Dr. Xianjun Dong and Dr. Charles Jennings. My job focuses on providing next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis to our collaborators. I also assist the core for basic and advanced bioinformatics training to students and researchers at BWH. Before joining BWH, I obtained my PhD degree and postdoctoral training in Dr. Craig Kaplan's group at University of Pittsburgh (we moved from TAMU to Pitt during my fifth PhD year). During my graduate study, I dissected Ssl2 protein's function in RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) transcription start site (TSS) selection using yeast genetics and NGS methods. My work involves both dry lab and wet lab skills (moist). Currently, I'm highly interested in using computational tools to solve biological questions through analyzing high-throughput data.

Tingting Zhao, PhD

  • Institute: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
  • Position: Research Scientist in Bioinformatics.
  • Website:
  • Interests: Computational Biology, Molecular Biology, Teaching.
  • Contact:


The scientific training I obtained are mainly in Biology and Bioinformatics. The highlights of my skills are in molecular biology and NGS data analysis. I've also trained by the best Geneticist I've ever met, my PhD advisor Dr. Craig Kaplan, to learn the power and beauty of the Genetics in solving biological questions. I also love teaching and enjoy the process of interpreting and sharing research with others.

Molecular Biology

  • DNA/RNA manipulation
  • Molecular cloning
  • Genome editing/CRISPR
  • In vitro protein expression & purification
  • NGS library preparation


  • NGS data analysis
  • scRNA-seq data analysis
  • scATAC-seq data analysis
  • Super computing
  • AWS


  • Pitt Bio Gene-team
  • Biochemistry recitation
  • Bioinformatics



Tingting Zhao

PhD in Biological Sciences with 10+ years of experience in Molecular Biology and 5+ years of experience in NGS data analysis.

  • Boston, MA, USA


Doctorate of Science & Biological Sciences

2013 - 2019

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Advisor: Craig Kaplan

Thesis: Mechanistic insights into the Function of Ssl2/TFIIH in RNA Polymerase II Transcription Start Site Scanning.

Master of Science & Cell Biology

2009 - 2012

Amoy University, Xiamen, China

Advisor: Liang Chen

Thesis: Functional Identification and Expression Analysis in Stress Responses of a NB-ARC Domain Containing Protein OsPDRH9N.

Bachelor of Engineering & Biological Technology

2005 - 2009

Lanzhou University of Technology, Lanzhou, China

Advisor: Xueyan Li

Thesis: Culture condition tests of beer originated Lactobacillus and its exopolysaccharide (EPS) analysis by Thin-layer chromatography (TLC).

Professional Experience

Research Scientist in Bioinformatics

2021 - Present

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

  • Performing scRNA-seq data analysis related to investigation of mouse pancreas cell type and gene expression.
  • Collaborating with Martin Hemberg group at Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases & Harvard Medical school for scRNA-seq training program.
  • Establishing scATAC-seq training program at Genomics and Bioinformatics Core, BWH.

Postdoctoral Associate

2019 - 2020

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Performing analyses related to publication dissecting mechanism of Ssl2 protein in transcription initiation.
  • Analyzing novel datasets examining altered RNA polymerase II activity on transcription start site selection in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Drosophila melanogaster.

Research Assistant

2013 - 2019

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Dissected function of Ssl2 protein in gene expression using yeast genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics methods. Designed and performed PCR- and yeast genetics-based mutant screening and phenotyping. Examined Ssl2’s function in gene expression genome-wide using customized Transcription Start Site sequencing (TSS-seq) and data analysis method based on Illumina library preparation and sequencing platform.
  • Collaborated with Jun-yuan Ji Lab at Texas A&M College of Medicine for studying RNA polymerase II mutants’ effect on gene expression in Drosophila. Designed and screened for transgenic flies using transposon-based method. Designed and performed fly genome editing using CRISPR.

Research Assistant

2012 - 2013

National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, China

  • Collaborated with Yong-Qiang Ning for the NAC project and publication: Two novel NAC transcription factors regulate gene expression and flowering time by associating with the histone demethylase JMJ14.



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  • Yeast
  • Molecular biology
  • Genomics



Boston, MA, USA



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