Yuanyuan (Daisy)  Shen, MD, PhD

Yuanyuan (Daisy) Shen, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Yuanyuan (Daisy) Shen received her MD and become a fully licensed General Surgeon in China.  After she relocated to U.S., she worked as Clinical Research Fellow for two years at Yale University School of Medicine investigating the tumor biology and glucose metabolism.  Recently she received her Biomedical/Clinical Informatics PhD from the University of Missouri.  During her PhD, she worked on implementing machine learning exploratory methods on multi-omics Pan-cancer studies.

Lihua (Judy) Wang, PhD

Lihua (Judy) Wang, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Wang is a senior scientist with more than 10 years of experience in the extensive analyses of human genetic data, quality control of phenotype and genetic data, and bioinformatic annotation of research projects. She obtained her PhD in Medical Science from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, China in 2000 and joined Washington University in 2000 as a medical scientist. In 2011, she obtained an MS in Genetic Epidemiology from Washington University and then worked as a research statistician in Division of Statistics Genomics before joining the Cruchaga lab in 2021. She has participated in many NIH-funded grants related to blood pressure, lipids, diabetes, blood cells, kidney function, and cardiometabolic traits. She has been involved in multi-ethinic meta-analyses using 1000 genomes imputation and HRC imputation data; rare variant analyses in candidate gene resequencing of family data; causal variant identification for aging related traits using linkage and association analyses from WGS data; and alignment, variant calling, and QC of WGS data.

Qijun Yang, MS

Qijun Yang, MS

Graduate Student, Biostatistics and Data Science

I am a graduate student in Biostatistics and Data Science program (MSBDS). I received my bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from University of Maryland, College Park. I am participating in the plasma part of a multi-tissue pQTL study, which compares the findings of using human reference genome HG38 and HG19.

Ruiqi (Richelle) Yan, BS

Ruiqi (Richelle) Yan, BS

Research Assistant

Ruiqi (Richelle) received her Bachelor degree of Science in China Pharmaceutical University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the Division of Biostatistics at Washington University in Saint Louis and working as a Research Assistant in Cruchaga Lab. She enjoys playing tennis and watching movies in her spare time.

Xiaoyi (Lexy) Xu, BS

Xiaoyi (Lexy) Xu, BS

Research Assistant

Xiaoyi (Lexy) Xu is a graduate student in the Biostatistics Program at Washington University in Saint Louis. She received her bachelor’s degree of management in Auditing and is excited to be part of Cruchaga lab. In her spare time, she enjoys sports, cooking and Kpop.

Cheol Min (Matthew) Lee, PharmD

Cheol Min (Matthew) Lee, PharmD

Research Assistant

Cheol Min (Matthew) received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently a first-year Master’s student in Biomedical Informatics at Washington University in St. Louis. He enjoys watching sports and movies during his free time.

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Oscar Diaz, PhD

Program Manager

Oscar works as Program Manager for the Cruchaga Lab, engaging in cross-functional teams, managing and organizing several programs in the interface between science and administration. Before joining Washington University in Saint Louis, Oscar worked as Staff Scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.

Gabrielle Duco, BS

Gabrielle Duco, BS

Research Lab Technician

Gabrielle Duco received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at East Illinois University. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a fisheries technician and discovered her enjoyment of working in research. She joined Cruchaga Lab as a Research Lab Technician in April of 2023.  Initially, she will be working on kit processing and PBMC isolation. After these skills are acquired she will be cross-trained on DNA/RNA extractions and quality control processes.

Heng (Henry) Yi, MS

Heng (Henry) Yi, MS

Graduate Student, Biostatistics and Data Science

Heng received his Master of Science in Biostatistics and Data Science from Washington University in St. Louis. His work focuses on the analysis of protein quantitative trait loci (pQTLs) and uses the human reference genome 38 to enhance integration of the multi-tissue proteomics with genetics and disease.

Ella Clark, BA

Ella Clark, BA

Research Technician I

Ella currently handles DNA extractions in the Cruchaga lab. She received her B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her undergraduate studies focused on Neuroscience, Biology, and Psychology. She will be attending WashU’s Masters of Public Health program this fall on the Mental and Behavioral Health track. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Duke, and baking for friends and family.

Charlie Rapaci, BS

Charlie Rapaci, BS

Graduate Student, Biostatistics and Data Science

Charlie received his Bachelor’s degree in Data Science from Simmons University in Boston, MA in 2021. During his undergraduate studies, he worked on a quantitative deconstruction of risk assessments in child welfare. He is currently working towards his Master of Science in Biostatistics and Data Science at Washington University in St. Louis. His work in the Cruchaga Lab involves supporting researchers in communicating their findings with the scientific community and broader public by creating and updating genomics research browsers.

Duber Gomez-Fonseca, PhD

Duber Gomez-Fonseca, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Duber studied Economics with a concentration in mathematical modeling. He came to the USA to study and received his BS in Applied Statistics in 2013 from the University of Houston-Downtown. In 2019 he earned his PhD in Computational Data-Enabled Science and Engineering from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. While working toward his PhD, he was exposed to several projects ranging from geographical information systems, traffic flow models, and measuring the therapeutic mechanism of Vernonia Amygdalina (fraction A) in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Duber was involved in genetic studies after spending two internships at the National Human Genetic Research Institute in 2017 and 2018, where he had the opportunity to combine machine learning techniques (random forest algorithm) with genetics.

In September 2019, he joined the University of Pennsylvania in a 2-year postdoc where he learned to perform genome-wide pleiotropy analysis and evaluated statistical analyses using genomic datasets of Alzheimer diseases (AD) from the International Genome of Alzheimer’s project (IGAP). Duber also gained experience with related neurodegenerative diseases and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in AD genetic consortium (ADGC), Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and sequencing studies from the AD Sequencing Project (ADSP).

Samira Mafi Moghaddam, PhD

Samira Mafi Moghaddam, PhD

Bioinformatic Scientist

Dr. Mafi Moghaddam is a Bioinformatic Scientist with 10 years of experience in the areas of bioinformatics and genomics. She received her PhD in Genomics and Bioinformatics from North Dakota State University. Prior to joining NGI, she worked as a Genomics Data Scientist at Benson Hill where she led analyses of trait target discovery via GWAS, variant calling from WGS, genome annotation QC, population structure and diversity analyses. Prior to moving to Saint Louis, she was a Visiting Research Associate at the Plant Resilience Institute at Michigan State University. There she gained experience in RNA-seq analysis, comparative genomics, and genome assembly using short Illumina reads and 10x Genomics linked reads.

Brian Lenny, MS

Brian Lenny, MS

Bioinformatics Research Analyst, GWAS and WGS working group

Brian received his MS degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Washington University. His work there involved studying the relationship between different patterns of DNA methylation and transcription factor binding. This relationship was further explored by creating a Random Forest machine learning model that would predict gene expression based on the status of surrounding DNA methylation. As a Bioinformatics Research Analyst, Brian is now processes and analyzes genomic data and implements GWAS in order to identify genetic variants implicated in Alzheimer disease.

Adam Suhy, PhD

Adam Suhy, PhD

Scientific Writer

Dr. Suhy received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences at The Ohio State University where he studied the pharmacogenetics of cholesterol metabolism genes. After graduation, he began his career in writing at Medtronic by preparing regulatory documents for spine devices. He continued writing about orthopedic medical devices until joining the NGI in 2020 and is happy to be writing about genetic and -omic research of neurodegenerative diseases.

Carol Webster

Carol Webster

Research Technician II

Lingxia Zhao, BS

Lingxia Zhao, BS

Research Assistant

Lingxia has extensive work experience in analytical chemistry and molecular biology research. She joined the Cruchaga lab in 2020. Her responsibilities include DNA/RNA extractions and DNA samples normalization for the lab & the Hope Center Core. She enjoys hiking, fishing, and gardening in her free time.

Achal Neupane, PhD

Achal Neupane, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cruchaga Lab

Prior to joining Dr. Cruchaga’s lab, Dr. Neupane received his PhD from South Dakota State University in Bioinformatics. There, he deciphered the role of small RNAs involved in white mold fungus defense mechanism. He received his Master in Bioinformatics from South Dakota State University as well and BS in Biology from the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Neupane previously worked at the University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia) where he was involved in gene discovery for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) using a large cohort of AML samples with whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing. Currently as a postdoc in Dr. Cruchaga’s lab, he is involved in a study that aims to find genetic variants that confer and modify the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. His current roles include processing, quality control, and analysis of sequenced genotype data using multivariate statistical analysis to derive biological insights into onset, progression, and risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Peter Jin, PhD

Peter Jin, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Jin is a human geneticist with an independent research lab at the Washington University School of Medicine in the Department of Genetics. His scientific training includes his PhD work with Drs. Alison Goate and Carlos Cruchaga, in which he performed deep sequencing in candidate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genes, analyzed AD-related endophenotypes, and performed in vitro cell-based experiments to identify and functionally characterize novel genetic variants affecting AD risk. As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Richard Lifton, he developed novel statistical models and bioinformatic pipelines to reveal the contribution of rare transmitted and de novo mutations on congenital heart disease risk.
More recently, he shifted his focus to reveal genetic etiologies of neurodevelopmental disorders. Working with multi-site genomics consortia, he and his colleagues identified novel genes and biological pathways contributing to congenital hydrocephalus, idiopathic cerebral palsy, Vein of Galen malformation, Moyamoya disease, Chiari malformation, and Arachnoid Cyst. His current research is devoted to progressing the understanding of complex genetic models driving neurodevelopmental and cardiovascular disorders and to characterizing genetic networks of disease via multi-dimensional -omics data, biobank sources, and electronic health record data. He utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that reflects his training in biostatistics, human genetics, and genomics. His overall goal is to translate advances in basic science into novel targeted therapeutics for congenital and neurodegenerative diseases.

For more information about his research please visit his lab website (https://scjin.github.io/).

Eliza Dhungel

Eliza Dhungel

Staff Scientist

Eliza is a Staff Scientist in Department of Psychiatry. She has completed Master’s program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Saint Louis University. During her studies she worked with Dr. Tae-Hyuk Ahn to build interactive R packages for quantitative analysis of the microbiome and gained experience using tools like unix, C++ and python for statistical analysis of biological data. After her studies she interned at Millipore Sigma where she analyzed microarray and gene expression data using different parametric and non-parametric methods. At WashU, she aims to support senior scientist in different fields like Gene Wide Association Studies, Next Generation Sequencing data analysis, single cell/nuclei RNAseq data analysis etc before finding her own niche in scientific research.

Curtis Ebl

Curtis Ebl

Research Technician, Cruchaga Lab

Curtis’ work focuses on the extraction of DNA and RNA for both the Hope Center and the Purification Core. Curtis received his Bachelor’s in Biotechnology from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. Curtis also works at a gym as a health and wellness specialist and in his free time, and he is a photographer for concerts and other live music events in the area.

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Brett Eiffert

Programmer

Brett is a software developer with an interest in machine learning and large-scale applications. He graduated from Purdue University in 2018 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has a goal of furthering his education in graduate school in the future. Brett enjoys learning new and efficient ways to solve problems and someday wants to build his own application and run it as a business. In his free time, Brett enjoys being outside whether it be hiking or relaxing by the lake.

Wei Qin, M.D.

Wei Qin, M.D.

Visiting Researcher

Wei received her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Medical Science and Biological Science at Chongqing University of Medical Sciences in Chongqing, China. She then got a Masters degree in Neurology at Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, and got an MD at Capital Medical University in Beijing, China. Wei is working on a project to understand the functional role of some identified novel genes in Alzheimer’s disease.

Claudia Olive

Claudia Olive

Visiting Researcher

Claudia is an undergraduate Biology student at University of Girona, in Girona, Spain. She is currently conducting research in the lab to complement her education in the neuroscience field. Claudia is receiving training in the analysis of genetic data from Alzheimer disease (AD) patients to identify novel risk loci that confer risk for disease, as well as training in molecular techniques for the validation of candidate variants.

Jorge A Bahena

Jorge A Bahena

Master Student

Jorge is a Master’s student in the Division of Biostatistics. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Engineering Sciences modified with Chemistry and Bachelor of Engineering concentrating in Biotechnology from Dartmouth College. Before joining the lab, Jorge worked as a Research Assistant at the Scripps Research Institute, in collaboration with JumpCode Genomics, innovating Next-Generation Sequencing technology. Currently, he is developing an online catalog for the exploration of genome-wide associations in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma analytes.

James Perez

James Perez

Master Student

James is a Research Assistant and Masters student in the Biostatistics program at The Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. He received his Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2015. Currently, his project aims to complete a large expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) meta­-analysis on adult brain in cortical tissue.

Ailleen Sesti

Ailleen Sesti

MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, Biology, Graduate Student: Philippines

Jong Hun Kim

Jong Hun Kim

National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital and College of Medicine, South Korea

Alexandra (Sasha) Medvedeva

Alexandra (Sasha) Medvedeva

Research Technician II, Center for Reproductive Health Sciences (CRepHS): Washington University in St. Louis

Tara Marie Skorupa, M.D.

Tara Marie Skorupa, M.D.

Clinical Fellow in Medicine (EXT): Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Kathie A. Mihindukulasuriya, BSN, PhD

Kathie A. Mihindukulasuriya, BSN, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Mihindukulasuriya got her PhD in Biology with an emphasis in Immunology from Baylor College of Medicine.  Her research focused on the role of protein phosphatase 4, PP4, in cellular signaling.  PP4 and its regulatory subunits are the subject of research in several types of cancers and believed to play a role in metastasis and aggressive tumor growth.  She was a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis in the laboratory of Dr. David Wang for 4 years, where she identified and characterized novel viruses, including  Quaranfil, Nyamanini, Midway Virus and SW1, using a pan-viral microarray and developing the protocols to utilize next generation sequencing for viral discovery.  She also helped train staff, generate and analyze data to set up the Washington University Pathogen Discovery Core.  She worked in the laboratory of Dr. George Weinstock and Dr. Makedonka Mitreva on the Human Microbiome Project, characterizing the microbiome of multiple body sites in healthy and  diseased individuals using 16S and whole genome shotgun (WGS) sequencing.  She also has experience working on the genetics of pathogenicity in the fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans in the laboratory of Dr. Maureen Donlin.  She joined Dr. Cruchaga’s lab in 2018, working on RNAseq data processing and analysis.  Her experience in the generation, processing and analysis of next generation sequencing will allow her to process and analyze the bulk and single cell RNAseq data generated during this project.

Richard Davenport

Richard Davenport

Research Technician

Richard is a research technician for the Cruchaga lab. His duties include management of the lab’s tissue bank, genotyping, and nucleic acid extractions for the Purification Core. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Fengxian Wang, PhD

Fengxian Wang, PhD

Senior Programmer and Analyst

Fengxian is a senior programmer and analyst who manages phenotypic data in Cruchaga lab.

She received her doctoral degree in soil physics from China Agricultural University.  She worked as a research associate in the agricultural engineering department at Missouri University in Columbia for three years.  She then worked as a data analyst, managing Schizophrenia and Depression phenotypic data in the NIMH Repository and Genomics Resource (NRGR) at the medical school of Washington University in St. Louis for 13 years.  She likes music, gardening, and travel.

Shan Jiang, M.D., PhD

Shan Jiang, M.D., PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Fabiana Farias, PhD

Fabiana Farias, PhD

Senior Scientist, Cruchaga Lab

Dr. Farias earned her PhD in Genetics from the University of Missouri by studying genetic approaches, such us GWAS and WGS, to determine the genetic causes of inherited disease in dogs. She was a postdoctoral research associate at Uppsala University for 3 years, where she worked in human and canine genetics using targeted sequencing and GWAS data. She also used Illumina and PacBio sequencing data to create a new cat genome assembly during her 2 year postdoc at Washington University. She joined Dr. Cruchaga lab on 2017 and has been working on analyzing GWAS, exome-chip, and sequencing data for multiple AD endophenotypes since. She has training in GWAS QC, imputation, and analyses. She also has strong expertise in NGS data QC and analyses, including alignment, variant calling, association analyses, and interpretation. She is responsible for GWAS and WGS data management. Fabiana is also involved in the identification of risk and protective variants for Alzheimer’s disease using quantitative endophenotypes.

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Jiyoon Choi, MS

Statistician at USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute

Jian Xia, M.D., PhD

Jian Xia, M.D., PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology at Xiangya Hospital, Central South University (China)

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Benjamin Saef

Bioinfomatic Analyst I at National Jewish Health Denver, Colorado

Dave Carrell

Dave Carrell

Software Engineer at Asynchrony Labs

Rachel Chasse

Rachel Chasse

Clinical Operations Professional in Digital Innovation at Pfizer

Kathleen Black

Kathleen Black

Clinical Research Coordinator | Vocal and Piano Instructor: Washington University in St. Louis

Zeran Li, PhD

Zeran Li, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher

Zeran received her PhD degree from the Neuroscience program at Washington University in St. Louis, completed a Cognitive, Computational & Systems Neuroscience Curriculum Pathway. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, completed an Honor Curriculum program and graduated with Distinction. Zeran is working on projects applying integrative analytic approaches to investigate complex interactions in Alzheimer’s Disease. She is interested in applying machine learning algorithms to multi-omic data in search for disease risk factors or therapeutic targets for drug development. Her career goal is to accelerate the development of precision medicine in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.

Jan Konrad

Jan Konrad

Administrative Coordinator

Mrs. Konrad received an Associate of Arts degree from Black Hawk College. She has worked at the Washington University School of Medicine for over 20+ years. She likes to hike and travel in her free time.

Laura Ibanez, PhD

Laura Ibanez, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

She received her doctoral degree in Biomedicine at the University of Barcelona in Spain. Her doctoral studies focused on the genetics of cardiovascular aging in HIV-infected individuals. Dr. Ibanez joined the Cruchaga Lab for her postdoctoral training in the genetics of neurodegeneration. Dr. Ibanez’ interests are focused on finding biomarkers useful for the early diagnosis of neurodegeneration, especially Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The identification of such biomarkers will lead to a better understanding of the pathobiology of the disease, the identification of new therapeutic targets, and the possibility of the discovery of an early diagnostic tool.

William B. Howells

William B. Howells

Senior Programmer Analyst: Washington University in St. Louis

Sheng-Chih (Peter) Jin, PhD

Sheng-Chih (Peter) Jin, PhD

American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow at The Rockefeller University

Yefei Cai

Yefei Cai

Data Scientist: California Community College Technology Center