UC San Diego: Postdoc Scholars Who Love Science and Dare to Invent

Posted on October 23,

We welcome bold minds who will innovate in RNA biology and technologies, spatial transcriptomics, and single-cell technologies. Ph.D.s in RNA biology, genomics, molecular biology, or nucleic acid biochemistry are most welcome. 

Lab website


Sheng Zhong is a Professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego. He received an NIH Director's Pioneer Award, an NIH Catalyst Award in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and an Alfred Sloan Fellowship. He serves as the director for the organizational hub of the NIH funded 4D Nucleome (4DN) Network. He leads a Human Cell Atlas (HCA) seed network and a Transformative Technology Development team for the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP). Eight of his previous trainees are contributing to science on tenure-track faculty positions.


We contributed to discovering the nuclear-encoded RNAs that are stably attached to the cell surface and exposed to the extracellular space, called membrane-associated extracellular RNAs (maxRNAs). maxRNAs are functional components of the cell surface and mediate cell-cell interactions (Genome Biology, 2020).

We invented the MARIO (Mapping RNA interactome in vivo) technology to massively reveal direct RNA-RNA interactions (Nature Communications, 2016) and the MARGI (Mapping RNA-Genome Interactions) technology to discover chromatin-associated RNAs (caRNAs) and their respective genomic interaction sites (Current Biology, 2017; Nature Protocols, 2019). We characterized caRNA’s roles in the 3D organization of the nucleus (iScience 2018a), the biogenesis of fusion RNAs (PNAS 2018a), and mediating stress-induced changes in gene expression and cellular behavior (Nature Communications, 2020). These data inspired the idea that caRNAs for another layer of the epigenome (Trends Genetics, 2018).

We developed SILVER-seq for extracellular RNA (exRNA) sequencing from ultra-small volumes of liquid biopsy, solidifying a basis for future in vitro diagnostic trials using finger-prick blood (PNAS, 2019b; Current Biology, 2020).

We contributed to discovering that the earliest cell fate decision in mouse is made sooner than the commonly thought 8-cell stage (Genome Res, 2014). Our Rainbow-seq technology combined tracing of cell division history and single-cell RNA sequencing into one experiment (iScience 2018b).

We contributed to revealing that transposons are indispensable regulatory sequences in the mammalian genomes. Species-specific transposons are required for preimplantation embryonic development in humans and other mammals (Genome Res, 2010). Nature highlighted this discovery as "Hidden Differences," reporting that "transposons or 'jumping genes' had hopped in front of the genes, changing their regulation" (Nature, 2010). We contributed to establishing the proof-of-principle that cis-regulatory sequences can be annotated by cross-species epigenomic comparison (Cell, 2012).

To apply, please send an email to Sheng Zhong at szhong at ucsd dot edu.