Informatics Scientists and Software Developers
Informatics scientists and software developers play a crucial role in NCATS translational programs and work closely with experts in other biomedical and translational research fields (biology, chemistry, epidemiology, biostatistics, etc.) within and outside NCATS. Collectively, they address the full breadth of translational science challenges, including drug development and repurposing, development of model systems for drug and toxicity screening, and development of comprehensive and state-of-the-art software, resources and analytical tools. To meet these broad demands, NCATS’ informatics scientists and software developers work cross-functionally and have a wide array of expertise.
Learn more about our:
- Project and Program Managers
- Regulatory Science Researchers and Fellows
John Braisted, B.S.
John received a B.S. in zoology in 1983 from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), with a focus on human physiology and biochemistry. He applied this degree in basic and applied research at the Naval Medical Research Institute studying free radical mechanisms of toxicity and relevance to hyperbaric oxygen treatment. John then received a B.S. degree in computer science in 2002 from UMCP with a focus on software engineering algorithms and computational analysis. He worked for 10 years as a software engineer and software engineer manager at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), which later became the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), where his work focused on developing tools for omics analysis. John joined NCATS in 2012 in a combination role of software developer and data scientist on multi-omics and small-molecule high-throughput screening projects.
Lu Chen, Ph.D.
Lu is the informatics leader of the Functional Genomics Laboratory at NCATS. He leads a team that collaborates with the NIH intramural research community to improve functional genomics (RNAi and CRISPR-Cas9) screening approaches for better understanding gene function and identifying biologically relevant targets. He is dedicated to developing high-throughput RNAi/CRISPR-Cas9 screening platforms, promoting data sharing and robust statistical tools, such as siRNA off-target analysis. In 2020, he participated in a drug combination repurposing campaign as part of NCATS’ efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Lu has a B.S. in biological sciences from Fudan University (2009) and a Ph.D. in experimental therapeutics from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (2015). Staff profile
Tara Eicher, M.S.
Graduate Partnership Program Trainee
Tara received her B.A. in mathematics and her M.S. in computer science from Wichita State University, and she is pursuing a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her prior projects in bioinformatics include modeling associations between the proteome and genome in breast and ovarian cancer and predicting regulatory elements in the epigenome using chromatin accessibility data. Currently, Tara is leveraging graph theory and ML approaches to understand the biological pathways involved in asthma and COVID-19.
Ivan Grishagin, Ph.D.
Senior Bioinformatics Scientist
Ivan leads the development of the Inxight: Drugs resource, a comprehensive portal for drug development information. He prepared the data; designed and implemented UI elements, including the layout of the pages; and determined aspects of the user experience. Ivan designed and developed an R-based comprehensive pipeline for integration of key public and manually curated pathway sources, and elaborate visualization of 1,658 pathway maps for NCATS BioPlanet. He holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Southern California and a diploma in chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia). Ivan has led several data curation and development projects that structure literature knowledge for use by translational researchers and also works in early drug discovery research at NCATS.
Xin Hu, Ph.D.
Informatics Lead, NIH HEAL Initiative
Xin received a B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences at the Peking University School of Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences at North Dakota State University. He was trained in bioinformatics and computational biology as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University. Before joining NCATS in 2010, he served as a research scientist at the Biotechnology High Performance Computing Software Applications Institute at the Department of Defense, where he worked on development of computational approaches for structure-based drug design. Xin’s current research at NCATS focuses on the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, where he works closely with biologists and chemists and leads the informatics efforts to develop new therapeutics and drugs for pain, addiction and overdose. Staff profile
Jason Inman, M.S.
Jason analyzes single-cell and bulk genetic data and contributes expertise in pipeline building and scripting as warranted by the needs of NCATS. Before joining NCATS, Jason was at The Institute for Genomic Research, which later became the J. Craig Venter Institute, for 14 years and was involved in many aspects of genomic research, including genome assembly; annotation of eukaryotic, prokaryotic, and viral genomes; pan-genomic and metagenomic analysis; and general data support. Prior to that, Jason spent six years in the National Institute of Mental Health’s Laboratory of Genetics, in both wet-lab and informatics capacities. Jason received both his M.S. in biotechnology (2002) and M.S. in bioinformatics (2011) from Johns Hopkins University. He received his B.S. in integrated science and technology from James Madison University in 1999.
Claire Malley, M.S.
Research Collaborator and Former Bioinformatics Scientist, Stem Cell Translation Lab
Claire currently is a statistician at the National Eye Institute working in genetic epidemiology. She led bioinformatics analysis of next-generation sequencing data for biologists in the Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL), developed an RShiny app (iPSCeq) for storage and interaction with bulk and single-cell RNA-Seq data from the laboratory, and developed the iPSC Portal website for the group. She received a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in plant biology with a focus on bioinformatics from Northwestern University. She currently is a part-time Ph.D. student in bioinformatics and computational biology at George Mason University and continues to collaborate with the SCTL and Informatics on projects. Staff profile
Ewy Mathé, Ph.D.,
Director of Informatics Core
Ewy received her B.S. in biochemistry from Mount Saint Mary’s University in 2000 and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from George Mason University in 2006. During her postdoctoral training with Curtis Harris, M.D., at the National Cancer Institute, she discovered putative esophageal and lung cancer biomarkers using miRNA microarrays and metabolomics. As a bioinformatics staff scientist in the laboratory of Rafael Casellas, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, she studied modalities of transcriptional regulation in B lymphocytes, using state-of-the-art next-generation sequencing techniques. She later took a faculty appointment in the Biomedical Informatics Department at The Ohio State University and built a research program developing algorithms for biomarker and therapeutic target discovery in cancer. She joined NCATS as director of informatics in 2020 and is leading a talented and diverse team of experts with the common vision of empowering translational research using state-of-the-art informatics technologies. Staff profile
Deborah Ngan, B.S.
Deborah is a bioinformatics scientist in the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) initiative within the Division of Preclinical Innovation at NCATS. She joined NCATS in 2014 and currently focuses on data curation and the analysis of quantitative high-throughput screening data to predict in vivo toxicity. Deborah led an effort to investigate the in vitro activity profiles and chemical structures of a library of approximately 10,000 compounds (Tox21 10K) to reveal the bioactivity signatures of drugs and environmental chemicals. She received a bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and computational biology at George Mason University.
Andrew Patt, B.Sc.
Research Associate (Graduate Student)
Andrew received his B.Sc. in biochemistry/biomathematics from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in 2015. From 2015 to 2016, he was a postbaccalaureate fellow working with Michael Ombrello, M.D., at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to identify ultra-rare genetic variants associated with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In 2016, he began working with Ewy Mathe, Ph.D., at The Ohio State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical informatics, and he transitioned to NCATS in 2020. His research interests include metabolomics and bioinformatics. His projects include the identification of metabolomic profiles associated with worse dedifferentiated liposarcoma, development of the Relational Database of Metabolomics Pathways (RaMP) database/R package, and development of network-based methodology for functional enrichment analysis of metabolomic data.
Kyle Spencer, M.S.
Graduate Partnership Program Trainee
Kyle received his B.S. in biomedical sciences in 2016 and an M.S. in biology in 2018 from Central Michigan University, and he is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences focusing on computational biology and bioinformatics at The Ohio State University. Kyle’s current projects seek to understand how diet affects the composition of the bacteriome and metabolome in the gut and, ultimately, how it affects gut epithelial integrity. Kyle’s goal is to merge classical bacteriology with the power of computational biology to improve digestive health.
Gregory Tawa, Ph.D.
Gregory received his Ph.D. in chemical physics from New York University in 1990, where he studied the quantum mechanics of small molecules. He then performed postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota, where his research focused on the dynamics of atom-molecule scattering. Since then, his work has gravitated toward life sciences and human health. Gregory spent 10 years in industry performing computational drug design and cheminformatics. He spent eight years at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where he was a key member of multiple drug discovery projects, ranging from the very early exploratory stages to the actual development phase. At Wyeth, he gained intimate familiarity with the computational aspects of drug discovery. In 2014, Gregory joined NCATS, where he headed the Modeling and Informatics for the Therapeutic Development Branch (TDB). In addition to supporting TDB’s computational needs, Gregory also leads multiple projects that focus on bioinformatics-driven comparative canine-human oncology. Staff profile
Ruili Huang, Ph.D.
Informatics Team Lead
Ruili received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Iowa State University, working on chemical kinetics and mechanisms for reactions catalyzed by organometallic compounds. She came to NCATS in 2006 from the National Cancer Institute, where she was a computational biologist working on deconvoluting biochemical pathways and drug-gene-pathway relationships. Ruili is the informatics team leader on the toxicity profiling team at NCATS and the co-chair of the chemical library working group of the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) initiative. Staff profile
Sankalp Jain, Ph.D.
Sankalp completed his B.Tech. in bioinformatics from the Jaypee University of Information Technology, India, in 2010, followed by a Master’s degree in life science informatics at the University of Bonn, Germany, in 2013. Pursuing his interest in the field of computational drug design, he received a doctorate in pharmacoinformatics from the University of Vienna, Austria, in 2018. Sankalp’s current research focuses on the application and development of in silico classification and prediction models to predict bioactivity for small molecules and virtual screening approaches to accelerate the drug development process. As a member of the Adenine Team and a computational chemist, he specializes in applying cheminformatics, ML and molecular modeling to translational science projects. Staff profile
Abhijeet Kapoor, Ph.D.
Abhijeet received a B.Tech. in bioinformatics from the Jaypee University of Information Technology, India, in 2008, and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and computational biology at Iowa State University in 2014. His postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Marta Filizola, Ph.D., at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai focused on using enhanced sampling molecular dynamics methods to elucidate the thermodynamic and kinetic elements of ligand-induced dynamics of the μ-opioid receptor, a target of opioid painkillers. He also worked on early discovery projects involving different classes of proteins (ion channels, transcription factors, etc.), during which he conducted hit identification and lead optimization protocols. Abhijeet joined NCATS in 2020 as an informatics scientist. Currently, he is involved in early discovery projects using structure-based approaches to identify small-molecule probes that disrupt or promote protein-protein interactions to restore cellular and tissue homeostasis.
Ðắc-Trung Nguyễn, M.S.
Cheminformatician and Senior Software Architect
Ðắc-Trung received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.S. in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University. Ðắc-Trung contributed as an active member of the engineering team behind the first draft assembly of the human genome (2000) with two decades of experience building infrastructure for therapeutic discovery, first at Celera Genomics and later at NIH, starting in 2007. He is the lead scientist from NCATS contributing to the Illuminating the Druggable Genome program and the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), and he is responsible for the development of the Pharos website.
Mohsen Pourmousa, Ph.D.
Mohsen joined NCATS in 2019 as a scientist in the Informatics Core within the Division of Preclinical Innovation. He received his B.Sc. in physics from Sharif University of Technology and his M.Sc. in physics from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, both in Iran, and his Ph.D. in computational biophysics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Prior to joining NCATS, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Tampere University of Technology in Finland and a research fellow at the Laboratory of Computational Biology at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He analyzes quantitative high-throughput screening data to identify hits and employs structure- and ligand-based modeling techniques to inform the medicinal chemistry efforts in the hit-to-lead and lead optimization process. His computational skills include docking, molecular dynamics simulation, free energy calculation, quantitative structure-activity relationship and ML.
Min Shen, Ph.D.
Informatics Group Lead, Early Translational Branch
Min received her Ph.D. in computational chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences from the Peking University School of Pharmacy in China. She has diverse expertise in database mining, high-throughput virtual screening, lead identification and optimization using both small molecule–based and protein structure–based computational approaches. Staff profile
Vishal Siramshetty, Ph.D.
Vishal received a B.S. in pharmacy from Osmania University in India in 2010 and an M.Sc. in life science informatics from the University of Bonn in Germany in 2014. In 2018, he received a doctoral degree in cheminformatics from Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. Vishal’s current research focuses on the development of computational prediction models for pharmacological endpoints, formulation of informatics approaches for illumination of understudied protein targets of the human genome, and dissemination of cheminformatics tools through such data analytics platforms as KNIME. He actively collaborates with the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) group on the development of predictive models and exploration of the structure-metabolism data.
Noel Southall, Ph.D.
Informatics Team Lead
Noel holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco, which he received in 2001. He develops software and standards, and he provides data science analysis for therapeutic project teams, from interpreting high-throughput screening data to bioinformatics and structure-based modeling to biomarker discovery and development. His current research focuses on early therapeutic discovery and drug repurposing. As the informatics lead in the Thymine Team in the Early Translation Branch, he works as a computational chemist, specializing in cheminformatics and molecular modeling. He has 15 years’ experience providing informatics leadership for discovery teams and software development projects, and he served as the Division of Preclinical Innovation’s acting director of Informatics in 2019.
Hongmao Sun, Ph.D.
Hongmao received his Ph.D. in computational and medicinal chemistry at Clark University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He also received a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and a B.S. in chemistry from USTC. He received postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Garland Marshall, Ph.D., at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He has 10 years of industry experience on rational drug design with Hoffmann-La Roche. Before joining NCATS in 2011, he worked for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Biotechnology High Performance Computing Software Applications Institute for one year. Hongmao published a monograph, A Practical Guide to Rational Drug Design, with Elsevier in 2015. Staff profile
Yuhong Wang, M.S.
Yuhong holds a Master’s degree in bioorganic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, China, which he received in 1987. He develops both algorithms and software for high-throughput data analysis and drug design. His current research focuses on new computational algorithms for structural modeling and drug design, using both traditional and ML algorithms. Staff profile
Gergely Zahoránszky-Kőhalmi, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral FellowInformatics Lead, ASPIRE
Gergely’s research in the ASPIRE program at NCATS focuses on chemistry automation and the design and synthesis of novel bioactive molecules. He developed reaction informatics methods using AI/ML technologies involving network theory, machine learning and deep learning. He also is responsible for coordinating informatics research and development projects in ASPIRE. Before joining NCATS, he was a development engineer at Sanofi and a synthesis leader chemist at AMRI, Inc. He received his Ph.D. in the field of biomedical sciences at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, where he was also a visiting Fulbright Scholar in 2010–2011. Staff profile
Alexey Zakharov, Ph.D., M.D.
Informatics Group Leader, Early Translational Branch
Alexey graduated with a Master’s degree in biochemistry from the Russian State Medical University, Moscow, Russia, in 2005. He received his doctorate in bioinformatics from the Institute of Biomedical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008. Alexey’s group’s research is based on the strong overlap between different scientific fields, including bioinformatics, cheminformatics, biochemistry, computational chemistry and toxicology, statistics, and AI/ML. Staff profile
Qian Zhu, Ph.D.
Qian joined the NCATS informatics group in 2018 and currently works on the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) in supporting the development of GARD 2.0. She also manages activities conducted by multiple clinical data groups and coordinates their effort through the Biomedical Data Translator consortium and designs and develops AI-based retrosynthesis applications to support automated synthesis for ASPIRE projects. Before joining NCATS, Qian, was a faculty member in the Department of Informatics Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a senior research scientist II in the Division of Public Health at Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., where she directed AI and natural language processing–based automated placenta data curation for the Placenta Atlas Tool, which was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child and Human Development. She earned her Ph.D. in cheminformatics from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in China. She was a research associate at Indiana University, working with scientists from the Eli Lilly and Company to develop computational programs for drug discovery. Working under the supervision of Christopher G. Chute, M.D., Dr.P.H., FACMI, she was trained as a professional biomedical informatician at the Mayo Clinic, working with a large volume of patient data.
Zarina Dizmang, M.A
Zarina works in the informatics group with NCATS on CURE ID, a collaborative project with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Zarina holds a Master's Degree in Arts from Taraz State University of Technology and has been working in web development for the past three years.
Ruby Geng, M.S.
Ruby works in the informatics group with NCATS working on the collaborative CURE ID project with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ruby holds an M.S. in computer science from the Xian Institute of Technology University.
Full Stack Developer
Serghei is a full stack developer who works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop CURE ID. Serghei believes that CURE ID is a very useful tool, especially today, and that it can offer significant help to the public in discovering new uses for drugs.
Hui Guo, M.S.
Hui received a Master's degree in civil engineering from University of California, Davis and a B.S. in computer science from Qingdao University of Science and Technology in China. Hui works on data analysis to support early discovery activities in DPI. He is involved in supporting the NIH HEAL Initiative. Hui also works on matrix data analysis to support the Matrix Combination Screening program.
Danny Katzel, B.S.
Senior Software Engineer
Danny received his B.S. in computer science from The George Washington University. After graduation, he worked at The Institute for Genomic Research, which later became the J. Craig Venter Institute. He currently works on the Global Substance Registration System (G-SRS) project and developed Molwitch, which allows NCATS software to toggle between cheminformatics libraries — such as JChem, CDK and Indigo — without any recompilation.
Keith Kelleher, Ph.D.
Senior Full Stack Developer
Keith received a B.S. in psychology from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Houston. More recently, he worked as a software developer at Epic in Verona, Wisconsin. Currently, he works on the full development stack for Pharos.
Xiaoyu (Shawn) Li, B.S.
Shawn works in the informatics group on the COVID-19 OpenData portal. Shawn holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from University of California, Irvine.
Mitch Miller, Ph.D.
Mitch received a B.A. in comparative literature from Queens College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the City University of New York during the latter part of the last century. Currently, he is working on Global Substance Registration System (G-SRS), where he is assisting with server development and testing, creating an Excel add-in for G-SRS and providing customer support, and Resolver, including creating an Excel add-in for Resolver. He is comfortable programming in both Java and C#.
Jorge Neyra, B.S.
Jorge received a B.S. in international business with a minor in computing from the University of Maryland University College and currently is working on a Master’s in data science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. At NCATS, he has helped develop the user interface for the Global Substance Registration System (G-SRS) and is currently working on the Relational Database of Metabolomics Pathways (RaMP) database.
Dominic Nieves, B.S.
Full Stack Developer
Dominic works in the informatics group with NCATS on the collaborative CURE ID project with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He holds a B.S. in biology from Drexel University and a B.S. in computer science from Oregon State University.
Timothy Sheils, B.S.
Senior Web Applications Developer
Tim received a B.A. in philosophy in 2005 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a B.S. in computer science in 2013 from the University of Maryland University College. He currently works on front-end interfaces for Pharos, CURE ID and Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). His favorite technologies to work with are Angular, Neo4j and D3 visualizations. Staff profile
Mark Williams, B.S.
Mark received a B.S. in computer science from the University of South Carolina. He currently works on the Biomedical Data Translator as a software engineer and technical liaison. His focus is on integrating previously disparate biomedical data to allow meaningful cross-domain querying.
Lin Ye, Ph.D.
Lin joined NCATS in 2018 as a postdoctoral researcher. She analyzes quantitative high-throughput screening data and builds predictive models for in vivo toxicity endpoints for Tox21 working groups. Before joining NCATS, Lin worked in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, where she participated in the development of the Chemical Evaluation and Risk Estimation System. Prior to her fellowship at FDA, Lin was a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked on developing QSAR model for toxicity endpoints. Lin received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, where her work focused on modeling of polymer-based dental restorative materials.
Tongan Zhao, M.S.
Senior Web Application Developer
Tongan received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the Zhengzhou University in China and an M.S. in computer science at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. He currently works on full-stack development of the Tox21 Gateway and COVID-19 OpenData Portal. His work focuses on full-stack web application development, data management and application programming interface development.
Poorva Dharkar, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Poorva joined the informatics group as a program manager in May 2020, where she manages the DPI informatics program by providing program management to the Informatics Core. She also provides project management for COVID-19 OpenData portal, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), Relational Database of Metabolomics Pathways (RaMP) and Omics 3-D model for DPI’s informatics group. Poorva earned her Ph.D. in biotechnology from the University of Pune, India, in the National Chemical Laboratory. She did her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute and later at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, using protein crystallography to focus on cancer and neuroscience.
Sarah Stemann, M.S.
Sarah is the project manager for the Global Substance Registration System (G-SRS) and Biomedical Data Translator programs for the informatics group. She works closely with software developers, lead investigators, program managers and web design teams to align work streams and apply a consistent project management approach. For G-SRS, she provides support for a critical collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, guiding the development team toward clear deliverables and ensuring the production releases of software at the agency. Sarah received a B.S. in business information technology from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2003.
Dammika Nandanie Amugoda, M.S.
Dammika joined NCATS in April 2014. She works on the Global Ingredient Archival System, an informatics platform that NCATS scientists developed in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dammika ensures accuracy in the storing of FDA substance information on chemicals and biologics, including protein, gene and cell therapies. She has been working with the FDA substance registration team since 2010. The primary objective of this project is to migrate data and to curate FDA-regulated substances. Before this assignment, Dammika worked on several projects as an FDA research fellow, performing gene mining and microarray studies. Staff profile
Parvesh Paul, M.D.
Parvesh is a medical doctor with 10 years’ experience working in both rural and tertiary hospital settings in India. He currently is working on CURE ID, a joint U.S. Food and Drug Administration–NCATS infectious diseases project. He is involved with the medical aspects of development of the project and is devoted to achieving positive patient outcomes and remaining abreast of the most recent advances in medical evidence. He specialized in internal medicine during his residency, with significant exposure to the management of infectious diseases and critical care with a sub-focus on neurology.
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