Anh Do, PhD

Anh Do, PhD

Research Statistician II

Dr. Do works as a Research Statistician in the Cruchaga Lab from early 2022.  She was trained as a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham to work on different genomic data including GWAS consortia, exome chip, exome sequence in multi ancestries and family-based studies using various statistical methods.  She actively worked in pharmacogenomics and epigenetics projects in the CHARGE consortium as well as identified risk locus associated cardiovascular-related outcomes. During her postdoctoral training at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, she expanded the genomics skillsets by emphasizing on integrating mutli-omic data. She led and collaborated in the development of pipelines for the analysis of large-scale epigenome-, transcriptome-wide, microbiome, and metabolome datasets.  She contributed to projects on identifying novel genes associated with reaction severity among peanut allergic children by integrating transcriptome-wide and epigenome datasets, as well as assessing key drivers of asthma using probabilistic causal networks.

Jen Gentsch, MSN, RN

Jen Gentsch, MSN, RN

Research Nurse Coordinator II

Jen is a Registered Nurse that obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Maryville University in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from Goldfarb School of Nursing. She has been with the Cruchaga Lab for 5 years and before that, she was an Operating Room nurse. She has been a genetics coordinator for several studies involving neurodegeneration and other general diseases including the Knight ADRC, LOAD/NIA-AD FBS, Parkinsonism, Dystonia, and the most recent Human Connectome Project – The Aging Adult Brain Connectome (AABC). In her free time, she likes to play games with friends and family, aerobic dance, listen to music, be outdoors, and learn and try new things.

Pat Kohlfeld, MS

Pat Kohlfeld, MS

Research Lab Supervisor

Pat is responsible for laboratory employees, workflow optimization, and management of the sample pipeline. Additionally, Pat will establish and maintain a quality management system for the multiple types of laboratory samples processed in the Cruchaga Lab. She received her M.S. in Biochemistry & Biotechnology from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Pat is excited to be working in a neurodegenerative research laboratory after several years in the agricultural industry.

John Budde, AB

John Budde, AB

Lab Manager

He is responsible for maintaining equipment in the lab, training new lab members, and managing local computing and storage infrastructure. Additionally, John implements the automated analysis pipelines for the various types of data that the lab handles, principally Illumina sequencing WGS data. John received his AB in Biology from Washington University and began working for Dr. Cruchaga in 2015. He previously worked in the laboratory of Dr. Alison Goate (now at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), studying the genetics of Alcohol and Nicotine Dependence.

Yueyao Wang, MS

Yueyao Wang, MS

Bioinformaticist

Yueyao received her Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from University of California, Los Angeles in 2022. She recently completed her Master of Science in Biostatistics and Data Science at Washington University in St. Louis and is working now working as a Bioinformaticist in Cruchaga Lab. Prior to this position, she work as a Research Assistant in Cruchaga Lab. She enjoys listening to pop music, watching movies, and doing sports in her free time.

Joanne Norton, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC

Joanne Norton, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC

ADRC Genetic Studies Coordinator

Joanne’s duties include recruiting participants for the ADRC Genetics Core family studies, performing in-person and over-the-phone assessments of memory and thinking, and organizing and maintaining all of the samples received from participants. In her off time, she enjoys baking, cross stitching, knitting, crochet, sewing, and photography. She attends local anime conventions with her daughter on a regular basis.

Olga Valdez, BS

Olga Valdez, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Olga has a BS in psychology from Universidad Valle de Bravo, Mexico, a Certification in Phlebotomy, and is currently working toward a degree in nursing. She loves hiking with my family and friends. She also enjoys a good cup of tea or coffee and a good book.

Myeshia Bean

Myeshia Bean

Clinical Study Research Assistant

Myeshia is a certified phlebotomist with 5 years of experience. She has been recognized multiple times for being the top plasma collector, which is an indicator of her hard work and dedication. She is new to the research environment and is currently pursuing her certification to become a Clinical Research Coordinator from Washington University. In her free time she enjoys anime and unwinding with neo soul yoga.

Matt Johnson, MA, MS

Matt Johnson, MA, MS

Bioinformaticist

Matt is a bioinformaticist working in the Cruchaga Lab. He has a BS in Biology, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching, an MS in Computer Science, and has experience as a high school STEM teacher and curriculum specialist. He leverages this training and experience to assist researchers in the lab and optimize bioinformatics software and pipelines to meet the demands of large-scale omics analyses. He works primarily with whole genome and whole exome sequencing data, processing and making the data available for analysis.

Joseph Lowery, BS

Joseph Lowery, BS

Research Technician II

Joseph has a B.S. in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. His work focuses on DNA/RNA extractions in the lab. He enjoys playing video games, reading comics, watching TV, and spending time with his family.

Rachael Schutzman, BS

Rachael Schutzman, BS

Programmer I

Rachael is a Programmer I working in the Cruchaga lab. She received her Software Development and Security BS from University of Maryland Global Campus. Before joining the lab, she worked as a Data Analyst with an investment research firm.

Jigyasha Timsina, MS

Jigyasha Timsina, MS

Bioinformatics Research Analyst

Jigyasha has a Bachelor’s degree in Dentistry and received her Master’s in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics from Grand Valley State University. Her work in the Cruchaga Lab focuses on the analysis of multi-omics data to identify novel QTLs associated with Alzheimer disease.

Devin Dikec, MS

Devin Dikec, MS

Bioinformaticist

Devin works as a Bioinformaticist in the Cruchaga lab. He received both his MS in Genome Bioinformatics and BS in Bioinformatics from the University of Pittsburgh. His former experiences include work in computational cancer research and organic chemistry labs. He enjoys video games, movies, and sports in his free time.

Ellen (Menghan) Liu, MS

Ellen (Menghan) Liu, MS

Senior Bioinformaticist

Ellen works as a Senior Bioinformaticist in Cruchaga lab.  She received her master’s degree in business  analytics; healthcare analytics track from Washington University in St. Louis and has a BS in Economics.  Since joining the lab, she has been working on analyzing variants for Apolipoprotein E (APOE) to find a relation between demographic character and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  She is also supporting other researchers to manage large datasets associated with AD and Parkinson Disease.

Arda Cetin, MS

Arda Cetin, MS

Bioinformatics Research Analyst

Arda has a Master degree in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering from Sabanci University. Even though his major is in Genetics, he is highly interested in Bioinformatics and has been thriving to improve in this field, for more than 3 years. Arda has experience in both academia and the private sector. In academia, he was a member of Adebali Lab, during his Master’s, working on unveiling the effect of histone markers on the Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER) mechanism. He worked on different sequencing techniques such as DNA-seq, Damage-seq, XR-seq, ChIP-seq, and the DNase-seq. Later, in the private sector, he worked for RTA Laboratories where he was responsible for designing WES/somatic germline pipelines for cancer diagnosis, writing commercial use only algorithms for SNP and INDEL detection, and contributing to the development of some in-house bioinformatics software’s.  Currently, Arda is working in the Cruchaga Lab to preprocess and analyze WES and WGS data.

Priyanka Gorijala, MS

Priyanka Gorijala, MS

Bioinformatics Research Analyst

Priyanka is a Bioinformatics Research analyst in the Cruchaga lab and she manages GWAS and WGS data.
She received her second Masters degree in Bioinformatics from Indiana University after her first Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from JSS University, India. She has fours years of experience in an academic setting before shifting her career towards research with a focus on genomics. Before joining the lab she worked on integrative analysis of high-throughput multi-omics and neuroimaging data to better understand neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s. Her previous research includes exploring genotype-phenotype associations using bioinformatic approaches to reveal novel biomarkers for designing new drugs and treatment
protocols. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, machine learning, network science, biomarker discovery, and multi-omics data integration.

Jessie Sanford, MS

Jessie Sanford, MS

Bioinformatics Research Analyst

Jessie received her MS in Biostatistics and Data Science from Washington University in St. Louis, and has a BS in Biochemistry. Since joining the Cruchaga Lab as a bioinformatics research analyst, she has been working on processing and analyzing RNA sequencing data in order to identify changes in gene expression in Alzheimer disease.

Alvin Thomas, PhD candidate

Alvin Thomas, PhD candidate

Visiting Researcher

Alvin investigates the -omics of cognitive reserve/resilience to understand how some older adults avoid clinical dementia despite neurodegenerative burden.  As the recipient of a National Institute on Aging F99/K00 award, Alvin currently holds a Visiting Researcher position at the NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center and will transition to a Postdoctoral Research Associate fellow in 2023 under Dr. Cruchaga’s mentorship.  His doctoral work will be completed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in Epidemiology with foci in genetic and cardiovascular epidemiology (mentors Drs. Gerardo Heiss and Kari North).  He previously received a MSPH in International Health from the Johns Hopkins University and BS in Chemical Engineering at Washington and Lee University (W&L).  He also served in the AmeriCorps program as a Bonner Scholar and completed interdisciplinary training in Poverty and Human Capability studies while at W&L.

In addition to his work in dementia (end-stage brain disease), Alvin works in end-stage kidney and liver disease with a focus in organ transplantation.  He also investigates the ethical implications of epidemiologic methods and how different frameworks of justice affect intervention-based epidemiologic questions.

Brenda Sanchez Montejo, AS

Brenda Sanchez Montejo, AS

Research Technician I

Brenda is currently a Research Technician I in Dr. Cruchaga laboratory conducting molecular assays of clinical samples. She has an Associate Degree in Health Sciences from the Saint Louis Community College and she looks forward to continuing her education in Washington University in the near future. She is native to Mexico and enjoy spending time outdoors with her family and her dog Charlie. She also dances in a Mexican folkloric group that give performances across Saint Louis, displaying traditional Mexican folk dances.

Nicholas Sykora, BS

Nicholas Sykora, BS

Research Technician II

Nick currently handle DNA extractions in the Cruchaga lab. I received my B.S. in Biology from the University of Dayton in 2016. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, reading, and playing video games.

Allison Flynn, AS

Allison Flynn, AS

Research Technician I

Allison is a research technician in the Cruchaga Lab. Her work in the lab focuses on DNA and RNA extraction for the Hope Center Core. In 2022, she received her Associates of Science in Biology from St. Charles Community College. She is now currently working towards a BS in pre-med and biology at Saint Louis University.

William Brock, BA

William Brock, BA

Research Technician II

Will received his BA in biology from the University of Mississippi. His work in the lab focuses on DNA and RNA extraction for the Hope Center Core. In his free time he likes listening to music, playing tennis, and playing video games with friends.

Kristy Bergmann, BS

Kristy Bergmann, BS

Research Assistant

Kristy handles the DNA and RNA extractions for the Hope Center DNA/RNA Purification Core.  Kristy received her Bachelor’s in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University University at Edwardsville.  She enjoys being with her family, knitting, and cross stitching in her free time.

Naeimeh (Mojgan) Tayebi, MD, PhD

Naeimeh (Mojgan) Tayebi, MD, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Tayebi is a physician-scientist who has had extensive training and experience on four different continents and countries including Iran, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and now the United States. After graduating from medical school in Iran, she went on to serve professionally in the human genetics field because of her enthusiasm for hereditary disorders. Thereafter she decided to continue her studies in the human genetics field in Singapore, and most of her research centered on GWAS. She applied for a PhD position at Max Planck Institute for molecular genetics in Berlin, and joined the research group of Prof. Stefan Mundlos. As a PhD candidate, she was able to find the pathogenic variants in a novel gene called ZAK in WES data. After that, a mouse model using CRISPR/Cas9 was generated to address the possible correlation between limb phenotype and Zak gene. Her first postdoctoral training at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto was focused on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy along with hiPSC-cardiomyocyte disease modeling using CRISPR/Cas9. During her second postdoctoral position at Washington University with Dr. Gurnett’s group in St. Louis, she did a lot of research along with publications in Glut1DS. She joined Dr. Cruchaga lab in May 2023, and works with hiPSC derived neurons from patients with AD, controls and is involved in analyzing RNA sequencing data.