We aim to provide a welcoming and inclusive lab environment for all members to thrive and succeed.

Current lab members

Zhangli Su

Principle Investigator 

B.Sc. at Peking University

Ph.D. at UW-Madison (Lab of John Denu

PostDoc at University of Virginia/UAB (Lab of Anindya Dutta)

(NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Awardee)

Personal interests: photography and travel, cute animals, food and baking

Email: zsu at 

Evaluated manuscripts on Faculty Opinions


Abigail Johnston

Researcher III (Lab manager)

B.Sc. in Chemistry at UAB

M.Sc. in Multidiciplinary Biomedical Science at UAB

Email: abij1 at 

Nhi Nguyen

PhD student @ UAB

Nhi is in the UAB graduate program, BSB (biochemistry and structural biology) theme. She is particularly interested in molecular mechanisms of biological processes, chemical and structural spects of molecular interactions. Originally from Vietnam 🇻🇳, she obtained her undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Biology from University of North Alabama. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading and writing about personal development (link to her blog), traveling and spending time in nature and more recently playing with her baby girl Amelia. 

Email: nnguyen3 at 

Monima (Momo) Anam

MD/PhD student @UAB

Monima is a UAB MSTP graduate trainee in the GBS neuroscience theme with an interest in computational biology and transcriptomics as they relate to central nervous system disease and pathologic behavior.  She received her bachelor’s in Psychology from UAB in 2019, and now hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. When not being a lab rat herself, Monima loves taking care of her many pet rodents and honing her creative skills through making art, music, and programming.

Email: monima25 at 

Xisheng Liu

Postdoc @ UAB

Xisheng earned his MD in Clinical medicine from China Medical University in 2014 and continually got his PhD in Surgery from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in 2019. Outside of the lab, he enjoys cooking, movies, music, running and hiking in nature. He is also a new father of a cute boy (Will). 

Email: liux at 

Jayden Rhodes

Undergraduate Researcher @ UAB

Jayden is a Undergraduate Genetics and Genomics Sciences Major, Chemistry Minor, Biology Minor, as well as an ABM MBS student with a concentration in Genetics and Genomic Sciences.

Email: jarhodes at 

Naira Rehman

Undergraduate Researcher @ UAB | CRISP program

Naira is an undergraduate student at UAB majoring in biomedical sciences with minors in chemistry and psychology. Aside from learning and being in the lab, Naira enjoys baking, reading, and traveling.

Email: nrehman at 

Previous trainees / visitors

Mostafa Mohamed (mmohamed at

(PhD rotation student 

@ UAB GGB theme, class of 2023)

Felicia Kristiansen

(Visiting PhD Student)

Felicia visited us from Oslo University, Norway to learn more about small RNA-seq and RNA modifications. 

Afsane Esmaeili (esmaeili at

(PhD student @ UAB)

"I consider myself very lucky to have joined my current lab one year before Dr. Su leaving the lab, and even more fortunate to have had her sit at the bench behind me. I will always appreciate her guidance and kindness."

Briana Wilson, Ph.D. completed in 2022

(MD/PhD student @ UVA)

Bri completed her graduate work studying tRNA fragments stability, regulation and function. She was closely mentored by Dr. Su who trained her in critical RNA biology skills, including small RNA sequencing and Northern blotting.

Laine Marrah

(undergrad @UVA class of 2024)

Laine is an undergrad researcher interested in computational biology. She was mentored by Dr. Su on computational analysis of enriched pathways by tRF targets, which she co-authored in the tRForest manuscript. Laine is pursuing PhD in Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics at Harvard University.

Furry friends


Kelly manager


Chicken food quality inspector


She uses litter box!