Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy

CSA Faculty


Habil Zare , Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


The University of British Columbia, 2011


MED 2.061V
(206) 612-7830
Oncinfo Lab PI


I am a computational biologist. An exemplar project in my lab is the integrative gene network analysis, which is inspired by the fact that biological processes in a cell often require intricate coordination between multiple genes and proteins. The goal of this project is to infer useful biological and clinical information from large networks of thousands of genes. We developed an integrative approach to analyze co-expression and DNA methylation patterns in a single model. Each node in this network represents a gene, and the connections (edges) are weighted based on the gene expression and DNA methylation data, i.e., the more associated two genes are, the more weight is assigned to the connection between them. This approach has led to identification of robust biomarkers that are useful in prognostication and diagnosis of several diseases including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and melanoma. We are investigating ways to integrate other omics data into the network including micro RNA and genomic data. Our findings can potentially shed light on the cause and mechanism of complex diseases, and open doors to new targets for novel treatment plans.


I am the Principal Investigator of the Oncinfo Lab. The focus of our projects is on computational biology and bioinformatics. We develop and apply sophisticated machine learning algorithms to analyze large biomedical data sets. From these complex data, our goal is to infer useful information that provides insight into biology, or leads to clinical applications.


Oncinfo contributes to neuroscience through collaboration with The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases. Also, we perform data analysis for several cancer research projects that are defined within the Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy.


Representative Publications:
Sun W, Samimi H, Gamez M, Zare H, Frost B. Pathogenic tau-induced piRNA depletion promotes neuronal death through transposable element dysregulation in neurodegenerative tauopathies. Nat Neurosci. 2018 Aug;21(8):1038-1048.


Foroushani A, Agrahari R, Docking R, Chang L, Duns G, Hudoba M, Karsan A, Zare H. Large-scale gene network analysis reveals the significance of extracellular matrix pathway and homeobox genes in acute myeloid leukemia: an introduction to the Pigengene package and its applications. BMC Med Genomics. 2017 Mar 16;10(1):16.


Zare H, Wang J, Hu A, Weber K, Smith J, Nickerson D, Song C, Witten D, Blau CA, Noble WS. Inferring Clonal Composition from Multiple Sections of a Breast Cancer. PLoS Comput Biol. 2014 Jul 10;10(7):e1003703.


Recent Publications:
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