Dr. Liying Zhang is a professor and Director of Molecular Diagnostics and Clinical Genomics in the UCLA Health System. Dr. Zhang provides senior leadership in clinical operations and strategic planning for all our molecular testing labs including Molecular Pathology/Genetics and Cytogenetics as well as clinical bioinformatics/informatics for both cancer and germline genomic testing. Dr. Zhang will lead the expansion of our current clinical cancer genomic offerings to support integrated clinical cancer care for the UCLA Health System, and to identify, support and advance UCLA translational research into clinical use and technology transfer.
Prior to joining UCLA, Dr. Zhang served as a faculty member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSKCC) since 2005, rising to Director of Diagnostic Molecular Genetics (DMG) Laboratory in 2009 and full attending/member in 2017. Dr. Zhang led the validation and development of more than 30 molecular diagnostic tests, including the NGS-based germline panel MSK-IMPACT, for cancer predisposition testing, and analysis of microsatellite instability and methylation to guide targeted therapy, immunotherapy and patient selection for clinical trials. Additionally, Dr. Zhang was the Associate Director of MSKCC’s ACGME-accredited Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship Program for 8 years (2009-2017).
Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on identifying the genetic alterations in human cancers and the biomarkers of cancer progression and drug response through comprehensive molecular profiling and analysis of tumors. Another area of Dr. Zhang’s interests is the identification and characterization of germline mutations in patients with solid tumor and hematologic malignancies that have immediate clinical applications for guiding treatment decisions such as PARP inhibitors in breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers, and inherited risk assessment for patient and their families.
Dr. Zhang serves on several expert panels under the ClinGen project, a major leading effort supported by NIH to address the complexity of interpreting genomic variants. Dr. Zhang serves on the working groups of Somatic Cancers (NTRK, Pediatric/Genitourinary/Hematologic cancer taskforces) and Hereditary Cancers (Clinical Domain Working Group, CDH1, PTEN, TP53, Hereditary Colorectal Cancer, Germline Somatic Data Interpretation, and Myeloid Malignancies Gene and Variant Curation). The goal of these efforts is to define the clinical relevance of genes and variants for precision medicine and research. Read more about it here.