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PEOPLE

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Benjamin Neale
associate professor

Ben is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Associate Member in the Medical and Population Genetics program of the Broad Institute. He is also Director of Population Genetics for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. His expertise centers on the development and application of statistical methodology and tools for analysis of large scale genetic data. Ben has played a central role in elucidating the genetic architecture of several psychiatric disorders, in particular schizophrenia, ADHD and autism, and his work continues to drive these discoveries through the use of increasingly large data sets and state of the art scalable software.

 

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claire churchhouse
Associate Director

Claire completed a doctorate in the department of Statistics at Oxford University under the supervision of Jonathan Marchini, and came to the Broad Institute in 2012 as a postdoc with David Altshuler. A member of the Neale lab since 2015, she is responsible for helping to drive the scientific strategy of the group and for supporting all group members across a diverse range of projects.

 

Group Leaders

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ALEX BLOEMENDAL
RESEARCH SCIENTIST & METHODS DEVELOPMENT GROUP LEADER

 
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DANIEL HOWRIGAN
RESEARCH SCIENTIST & DATA GROUP LEADER

Dan oversees the SNP array and sequence analysis pipeline in the Neale lab, with a primary focus on furthering genetic discovery in complex psychiatric disease through collaborative partnerships and high-throughput data analysis. His post-doctoral research has been focused on deciphering the role of rare genetic variation in schizophrenia.  Daniel received his PhD in 2012 from the University of Colorado, Boulder (supervised by Dr. Matthew Keller and Dr. Matthew McQueen). During his time in Colorado, his research investigated the detection of autozygosity (a genetic signature of inbreeding), and its role in general cognitive ability and schizophrenia liability.

 
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cotton seed
senior PRINCIPal software ENGINEER & hail team group leader

 
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Sam Bryant
Data Managment Specialist

Sam heads the Data Management group at the Stanley Center where he is responsible for managing over 500 terabytes of data. He is naturally curious, has a love for science and computers, and enjoys a good challenge.  He's a 'data wrangler' - herds data to logical working groups and lower cost storage tiers; brings visibility to the data footprint at the Stanley Center; builds pipelines for the retrieval and sharing of data; and works with other 'data wranglers' to leverage knowledge, tips and tricks, storage strategies and more. He has played a key role in enabling the Neale lab's UK Biobank GWAS results to be rapidly and easily shared with the wider community.

 

Postdoctoral Associates

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Elizabeth Atkinson

Elizabeth is a postdoc in the ATGU and the Broad, co-advised by Drs. Mark Daly and Ben Neale and working closely with Dr. Karestan Koenen. She did her PhD at Washington University in St. Louis followed by receiving an NIH Institutional Research and Career Development Award at Stony Brook University, in which she received structured pedagogy training, taught university classes, and examined genetic diversity of brain genes across diverse human populations. In the ATGU, Elizabeth is working on developing resources for improved study of the genetic basis of neuropsychiatric diseases in underrepresented admixed populations. In this capacity, she is part of the PGC-PTSD and NeuroGAP consortia, where she brings her population genetics background to complex psychiatric disease space.

 
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Andrea Byrnes

Andrea's current research focuses on using data from current-era RNAsequencing experiments to better capture transcriptional activity and diversity in the human brain. The ultimate goal of these activities is to better understand the etiology of psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and autism. The current projects focus on the handling of RNA-seq data in normalization, isoform assembly, differential expression and enrichment. Andrea also works with the GTEx Consortium.

 
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Yen-Chen (Anne) Feng

Anne is a postdoctoral fellow at Mass General Hospital and the Broad Institute, co-mentored by Dr. Ben Neale and Dr. Jordan Smoller. Prior to joining the lab, she obtained her doctoral degree from the program of statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. Currently, her work focuses on assessing the shared polygenic architecture of neuropsychiatric disorders and more recently, an exome sequencing analysis to identify rare variant burden in different types of epilepsy.

 
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Alex Kotlar

Alex is a postdoctoral fellow at ATGU and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, co-mentored by Benjamin Neale and Cotton Seed on the Hail team. He recently completed his PhD in the Human Genetics department at Emory University under the supervision of Michael E. Zwick and David J. Cutler. In the course of his doctoral research he developed an online variant annotation and variant filtering service (Bystro) that improved performance by two orders of magnitude. He's now focused on distributed computing and the creation of ethical online genomics services.

 
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Robert Maier

Robert joined Ben Neale's group at the Broad Institute and ATGU in July 2017 as a postdoctoral research fellow. His research interests center around methods in statistical genetic, in particular polygenic prediction models and more recently, their intersection with population genetic models.
Prior to joining Ben's group, Robert completed his PhD at the University of Queensland under the guidance of Naomi Wray and Peter Visscher.

 
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DUNCAN PALMER

Duncan has been involved with a number of methods developments projects including approaches to estimate genetic contributions to complex traits, and others to make use of huge control repositories to aid case-control analyses. Most recently he has been getting his hands dirty with real data: leading the effort to clean and analyse exomes in bipolar cases and controls, and being involved in operation megaWAS...watch this space. More broadly, he's interested in population genetics and selection, and the increased power gained by accounting for population stratification and fundamental biological processes when performing inference. During his PhD Duncan worked on increasing our understanding of the host-pathogen interaction in HIV-1. Check out the latest paper (http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/06/25/155242) and code (https://github.com/astheeggeggs/mcqueen).

 
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Tarjinder Singh

TJ is a postdoctoral fellow at ATGU and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in 2016 at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he studied the role of rare variation in the genetic architecture of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Mentored by Dr. Mark Daly and in close collaboration with Dr. Benjamin Neale’s team, he currently works on the meta-analyses of sequencing data in psychiatric traits, with a primary focus on the genetics of schizophrenia.

 
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patrick turley

Patrick is a post-doctoral fellow at ATGU and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He is advised by Dr. Benjamin Neale, researching statistical methods applied to topics in the intersection of economics and genetics. He is also a core researcher of the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium and an affiliated postdoc with the Behavioral and Health Genomics Center at University of Southern California. Currently, his work focuses on analyzing genetic data to explore the relationship between traits and boost power for association. Learn more about Patrick here.

 
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raymond walters

Raymond is a post-doctoral research fellow in Dr. Benjamin Neale’s lab at ATGU and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research focuses on the development and application of statistical best practices for studying the genetics of psychological traits and disorders. Prior to joining the ATGU, Raymond earned his Ph.D. in Psychology in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame under the direction of Dr. Gitta Lubke. His current work includes development of a pipeline for rapid analysis of genome-wide SNP arrays in family-based data in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and assessment of novel methods for quantifying the architecture of SNP effects across the genome.

 
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Wei Zhou

Wei is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT co-advised by Dr. Mark Daly and Dr. Benjamin Neale. She earned her Ph.D. in Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan under the direction of Dr. Cristen Willer and Dr. Seunggeun (Shawn) Lee. Her dissertation focused on the development and application of statistical methods for large-scale genetic association studies. She is currently working on a meta-analysis of global large-scale biobanks and methods development for analyzing longitudinal data in biobanks.

 

Software Engineers

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JONATHAN BLOom
principal software engineer

Jon is a mathematician and engineer in the Neale group at ATGU and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He co-founded the Hail software team to help realize the scientific opportunities arising from large-scale genome sequencing. With Alex Bloemendal, he also directs the Models, Inference & Algorithms Initiative at Broad. Jon joined ATGU from the MIT Department of Mathematics, where he taught statistics and did theoretical research in geometry and topology as a CLE Moore Instructor and NSF Postdoctoral Fellow.

 
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DaNIEL Goldstein
Visiting Undergraduate Student

Daniel Goldstein is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics at Northeastern University. He is interested in programming language design and enabling scientific discovery through high performance computing techniques. Currently, he is working as a Software Engineering Co-op on the Hail team, focusing on developing compilation strategies for Linear Algebra in Hail.

 
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Jacqueline goldstein
ASsociate software engineer

 
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DANIEL KING
Senior software engineer

Dan is a software engineer working on the Hail project. He is interested in developing libraries and languages that provide a natural and high-performance mode of interaction for scientists. He has previously worked at a local software start-up and studied for a (incomplete) PhD in Programming Languages.

 
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Tim poterbA
Senior software engineer

Tim Poterba is a software engineer working on the Hail project in Ben Neale's group at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital. His primary interest is the application of modern computing technology to accelerate biomedical research. Prior to joining the Broad, he studied protein folding dynamics at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry on a Fulbright Scholarship. He received his B.A. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Amherst College in 2013.

 
 

Patrick Schultz
Software Engineer

 
 

Chris Vittal
Software Engineer

 
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Arcturus Wang
Software Engineer

Arcturus is a software engineer on the Hail Team. They like code and science and were very happy to end up at a place where they could think about both. Previously, they worked on a DBMS at a mid-sized software company and received a BS in Physics from MIT in 2015.

 

computational biologists

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Liam abbott

Liam is an Associate Computational Biologist in the Neale lab. He is interested in understanding the genetics underlying human traits and disease through the application of statistical methods and computational techniques. He received an MS in Applied Statistics from the University of Michigan in 2015 and a BA in Mathematics from Williams College in 2013.

 
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Nikolas Baya

Nikolas is an Associate Computational Biologist in the Neale Lab. He is interested in using genomic data to study the etiology of enigmatic human diseases. Working under the mentorship of Raymond Walters, he is investigating the heritability of a large number of traits in the UK Biobank and looking for evidence of sex-specific differences. Nikolas graduated from Brown University in 2018 with a BS in Applied Mathematics.

 
 

Christina Chen

Christina is an Associate Computational Biologist in the Neale Lab. She graduated in 2017 from Harvard College with a BA in Mathematics. She is interested in applying mathematics to solve problems in biological contexts. She is currently working under the mentorship of Alex Bloemendal to extend the LD regression model to account for epistasis and determine if this extension can capture additional heritability.

 
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DANFENG CHEN

Danfeng is an Associate Computational Biologist with Dr. Benjamin Neale at the Analytical Translational Genetics Unit and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her research focuses on deciphering the genetic risk factors of psychiatric diseases, and developing analytical tools for GWAS data. Danfeng is a recent graduate from Harvard T. H. Chan school of Public Health where she received her master degree in Computational Biology & Quantitative Genetics.

 
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Konrad Karczewski

Konrad is a Computational Biologist researching the prevalence and impact of loss-of-function variation in healthy human genomes and their impact on human phenotypes.

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Meaghan McConlogue

Meaghan is an Associate Computational Biologist in Dr. Benjamin Neale’s lab at ATGU and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her research involves method development focused on modeling and analyzing structural and rare genetic variation. Meaghan received dual bachelor degrees from University of California, Berkeley, in Pure Mathematics and Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology in 2016.

 
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kate tashman

Kate Tashman is an Associate Computational Biologist with the Neale Lab. She is interested in studying the genetic effects on psychiatric illness as well as neurodevelopmental disorders. She received her B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Binghamton University in 2017.

 

Administration & Project Management

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Felecia Cerrato

Felecia Cerrato is a Senior Project Manager in the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute.  She supports the Neale lab in management of large-scale DNA sample aggregation, IRB approvals and compliance, genomic data generation, and data sharing efforts across many initiatives including the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (specifically in ADHD and OCD) and the Epi25 Collaborative.   She completed an MPH in Public Health Genetics at the University of Washington, and she is PMP certified from the Project Management Institute.

 
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Sinead chapman

Sinéad is an Associate Director, Genetics Project Management at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. She manages the Stanley Center Project Management team and works closely with Broad’s central administrative offices and Genomics Platform to facilitate collaborations, sample management, compliance, data generation and process optimization. Her primary areas of focus in the Neale lab are Stanley Global Psychosis Projects and Bipolar Disorder. She earned her BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Limerick, a MSc in Bioinformatics from Abertay University, and an ALM in Management and Operations from Harvard University. She is also PMP certified from the Project Management Institute.

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Carla Hammond

Carla provides administrative support to Benjamin Neale as well as the Neale Lab in their administrative and research efforts as part of a growing administrative team spanning two institutions, Massachusetts General Hospital Research institute and the Broad Institute. Carla has been working at ATGU since August 2013.


VISITing researchers

 

Mariam Al Eissa

Mariam holds PhD in molecular genetics of complex disorders from University College London, MSc in Medical Genetics from University of Glasgow and Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Medical Sciences (Clinical Laboratory Sciences) from King Saud University. She has years of clinical experience working at the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Saudi Arabia. She is a visiting postdoctoral Fellow jointly with Guoping Feng’s Lab at the McGovern Institute for brain research at MIT. Her current work involves designing a mutant mouse with CHD2 mutation using CRISPR cas and comparing expression levels in tissues acquired from different areas of the brain.

 
 

Gianmarco Mignogna

Gianmarco is a master degree student in Biostatistics at Università Bicocca in Milan. Under the mentorship of Andrea Ganna, he is working on a project which aims to capture epidemiological biases using genetic data as well as identifying shared characteristic of individuals driving these biases.

 
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Marcos Santoro

Marcos is a visiting researcher at the ATGU and Broad Institute. He completed his PhD at Federal University of Sao Paulo under the guidance of Dr. Sintia Belangero, in which he explored genetic and epigenetic changes during the course of schizophrenia. During his PhD, he spent a year at SGDP of King’s College London learning bioinformatics. He is currently working with a longitudinal cohort of children and adolescents at risk for psychiatric disorders. His postdoc research focuses on understanding the implications of admixture for polygenic risk scores and developing new methods to improve genetic prediction.

 
 

tetyana zayats

Tetyana is a visiting researcher from the University of Bergen. She is interested in the genetics of complex disorders. In particular, she focuses on the phenomena beyond common variant association, such as the role of rare variants, environment, epistasis, physiological and psychological body changes as well as parent of origin effects. The main phenotype of her work is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in the research of which she has been involved for the past 3 years. Previously, she has worked on a variety of complex disorders, such as myopia, physical activity, bone density, finger length ratio and ankylosing spondylitis.

 

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