Scientific Co-founders


Howard Chang

Howard Y. Chang M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Chang earned a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and completed Dermatology residency and postdoctoral training at Stanford University. His research addresses how individual cells know where they are located in the human body, which is important in normal development and in cancer metastasis. He has invented new methods for epigenomic profiling and define RNA structures genome-wide. Chang discovered a new class of genes, termed long noncoding RNAs, can control gene activity throughout the genome, illuminating a new layer of biological regulation. The long term goal of his research is to decipher the regulatory information in the genome to benefit human health.  

Dr. Chang’s honors include the Damon Runyon Scholar Award, American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine New Faculty Award, elected membership to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and the Judson Daland Prize of the American Philosophical Society.


Will Greenleaf

William Greenleaf is an Assistant Professor in the Genetics Department at Stanford University School of Medicine, with a curtsey appointment in the Applied Physics Department. He is a member of Bio-X, the Biophysics Program, the Biomedical Informatics Program, and the Cancer Center. He received an A.B. in physics from Harvard University (summa cum laud) in 2002, and received a Gates Fellowship to study computer science for one year in Trinity College, Cambridge, UK (with distinction). After this experience abroad, he returned to Stanford to carry out his Ph.D. in Applied Physics in the laboratory of Steven Block, where he investigated, at the single molecule level, the chemo-mechanics of RNA polymerase and the folding of RNA transcripts. He conducted postdoctoral work in the laboratory of X. Sunney Xie in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at Harvard University, where he was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Fellowship, and developed new fluorescence-based high-throughput sequencing methodologies. He moved to Stanford as an Assistant Professor in November 2011. Since beginning his lab, he has been named a Rita Allen Foundation Young Scholar, an Ellison Foundation Young Scholar in Aging (declined), and a Baxter Foundation Scholar. He has also published a number of papers, including four (in Nature Biotechnology, Nature Methods, The American Journal of Human Genetics, and Science,) as corresponding or co-corresponding author. 

His highly interdisciplinary research links molecular biology, computer science, and bioengineering, to understand how the physical state of the human genome controls gene regulation and biological state. His long-term goal is to unlock an understanding of the physical “regulome” — i.e. the factors that control how the genetic information is read into biological instructions — profoundly impacting our understanding of how cells maintain, or fail to maintain, their state in health and disease.