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PEOPLE

 

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.

 

 

claire churchhouse, phd
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

 
 

ALEX BLOEMENDAL, PHD
RESEARCH SCIENTIST & METHODS DEVELOPMENT GROUP LEADER

Alex's strength is being Canadian. His weakest is not replying to emails requesting he write a bio for this site.

 

 

DANIEL HOWRIGAN, PHD
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.

 
 

cotton seed, phd
senior PRINCIPal software ENGINEER & hail team group leader

No, this is not his nom de guerre. Cotton Seed is too mysterious to have a bio here, but you can read about his brother : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huck_Seed

 

 

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

 
 

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.

 
 

Andrea Byrnes, pHd

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.

 
 

Yen-Chen (Anne) Feng, ScD

Anne is a recent graduate from the program of statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and now a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Ben Neale at ATGU and Dr. Jordan Smoller from PNGU. Her doctoral research focused on developing and applying statistical methods to a range of human -omics data, including GWAS, epigenomics, and metabolomics data. She’s interested in exploring the genetic underpinnings of and across neuropsychiatric traits and will be working on a project to identify genetic variation affecting the risk of common epilepsies using sequencing data.

 
 

Alex Kotlar

 
 

Robert Maier, PHD

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.

 
 

DUNCAN PALMER, PHD

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).

 
 

Tarjinder Singh, PhD

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.

 
 

patrick turley, phd

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.

 
 

raymond walters, phd

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.

 
 

Wei Zhou

 

 

Software Engineers

 
 

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 co-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.

 
 

David Goldstein
Visiting Undergraduate Student

 
 

Jacqueline goldstein
ASsociate software engineer

Jackie Goldstein is an Associate Software Engineer and is a member of the Hail team. Her previous work included developing a rare variant caller for genotyping arrays and finding genetic risk factors for adverse drug events such as clozapine-induced agranulocytosis and drug-induced liver injury. She also contributed to the design of the PsychChip array and the subsequent genome-wide association studies for the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

 
 

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.

 
 

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

 
 

Arcturus Wang
Associate Software Engineer

 

 

associate computational biologists

 
 

Liam abbott, msc

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.

 
 

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.

 
 

DANFENG CHEN, MSC

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.

 
 

Meaghan McConlogue

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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.

 
 

Marcos Santoro

 
 

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.

 

 

Previous members

 
 

Meredith Accum

 
 

Verneri Anttila

Former postdoc.

brendan bulik-Sullivan

Now a Computational Biologist with Gritstone Oncology.

 
 

Chia-Yen Chen

Former postdoc, now at Biogen.

 
 

Sali Farhan

Former postdoc.

 
 

Andrea Ganna

Former postdoc.

 
 

Jiwoo Lee

 
 

JULIAN MALLER

Director of Scientific Computing at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Former Senior Scientist with Genomics PLC.

 
 

joanna martin

Now a postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska Institutet.

 
 

Dylan Vrana