Sierra Nishizaki, Ph.D.

Doctoral Student from January 2015 to September 2020
Genetics and Genomics Ph.D.
Current: Assistant Bioinformatics Scientist, Emory Integrated Computational Core

Research areas

  • Non-coding variation
  • Zebrafish models
  • Gene Regulation


  • B.S.: San Francisco State University

Honors and Awards

  • Genome Science Training Program
  • Rackham Merit Fellow
  • Rackham Summer Award
  • Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant (candidate)


Sierra Nishizaki’s PhD research focuses on expanding our knowledge of the non- coding genome. To do this they are both working with zebrafish to identify and characterize new regulatory elements from the human genome and designing software to predict disease-relevant variation within these regions.

Boyle lab papers

  1. Nishizaki SS and Boyle AP. 2017. Mining the Unknown: Assigning Function to Noncoding Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. Trends in Genetics. 33: 34-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2016.10.008.

  2. Nishizaki SS, Ng N, Dong S, Porter RS, Morterud C, Williams C, Asman C, Switzenberg JA, and Boyle AP. 2019. Predicting the effects of SNPs on transcription factor binding affinity. Bioinformatics. 50: 2434. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btz612.

  3. Nishizaki SS and Boyle AP. 2020. SEMplMe: A tool for integrating DNA methylation effects in transcription factor binding affinity predictions. bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.13.250118v2.

  4. Nishizaki SS, McDonald TL, Farnum GA, Holmes MJ, Drexel ML, Switzenberg JA, Boyle AP. 2021. The inducible lac operator-repressor system is functional in zebrafish cells. Frontiers in Genetics. 12: 994. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2021.683394.