Speaker Biographies

Biographies from speakers at the workshop.

C. Titus Brown, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor 
Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Michigan State University

Titus Brown received his BA in Math from Reed College in 1997, and his PhD in Developmental Biology at Caltech in 2006.  He has worked in digital evolution, climate measurements, molecular and evolutionary developmental biology, and both regulatory genomics and transcriptomics.  His current focus is on using novel computer science data structures and algorithms to explore big sequencing data sets from metagenomics and transcriptomics.


Daniel Crichton

Program Manager and Principal Computer Scientist
Science Data Systems
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Daniel Crichton is a principal computer scientist, program manager and principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  He is responsible for the development of data intensive scientific systems and technology for planetary, earth and non-NASA projects. He serves as principal investigator for several distributed data system projects for NASA and the NIH including the National Caner Institute (NCI) Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Informatics Center. He led development of a software framework for sharing data that won runner-up for NASA Software of the Year and is now hosted by the Apache Software Foundation as a top-level project.  The software framework, Apache OODT, is now used on several projects internationally.  He serves on several national committees including most recently a National Research Council Committee on Massive Data and is the chair of the International Planetary Data Alliance, an effort to integrate international planetary science data archives.  He has published over 100 papers on data intensive systems including several book chapters. He holds an M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and a B.S. degree in Information and Computer Science from the University of California at Irvine.


S. George Djorgovski, Ph.D.

Professor of Astronomy

S. George Djorgovski is a Professor of Astronomy at Caltech.  After receiving his PhD from UC Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow, before joining the Caltech faculty in 1987.  He was a Presidential Young Investigator, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, among other honors and distinctions, and he is an author or coauthor of several hundred professional publications.  He was one of the founders of the Virtual Observatory concept, the Chairman of the US National Virtual Observatory Science Definition Team, and one of the founders of the emerging field of Astroinformatics.  His e-Scientific interests include definition and development of the universal methodology, tools and frameworks for data-intensive and computationally-enabled science, various aspects of data mining and data visualization, virtual scientific organizations, uses of immersive virtual reality technologies for science and scholarship, novel approaches to education, etc.  His astrophysical interests include digital sky surveys, exploration of observable parameter spaces, transient phenomena in the universe, formation and early evolution of quasars, galaxies, and other cosmic structures, nature of the dark energy, and many other topics.


Michael Elashoff, Ph.D.

Vice President of Biostatistics

Michael Elashoff received a BA in Statistics from Berkeley and a PhD in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health.  He was a statistical reviewer at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA in the Antiviral Drugs division from 1995 to 2000. Subsequently, he was the Director of Biostatistics at Gene Logic, working on large scale pre-clinical and clinical gene expression analysis.  Following that, he was the Senior Director of Biostatistics at CardioDx, where he developed the first blood based molecular diagnostic for coronary disease, named one of Time Magazine’s top ten medical breakthroughs of 2010.    He received a grant from the Stanley Medical Research Institute to develop an online gene expression database for brain research.  He is currently Vice President of Biostatistics at Celmatix, working to develop diagnostics for detection of female infertility.  Dr. Elashoff has published papers in a wide range of areas, including cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience, and immunology.


Gaddy Getz, Ph.D.

Director Cancer Genome Computational Analysis
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dr. Getz received his B.A. degree in Physics and Mathematics from Hebrew University and M.Sc. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University, followed by a Ph.D. in Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with Todd Golub, where he focused on developing computational tools and analyzing expression of miRNAs across cancer. Dr. Getz then founded the cancer genome computational analysis group at the Broad Institute, which has become a world leader in developing and applying tools for analyzing mutations in cancer using genomic technologies and next-generation sequencing.  He is a co-Principal Investigator on the Genome Data Analysis Center (GDAC) of the NCI/NHGRI TCGA project (The Cancer Genome Atlas), a co-leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) genomic aberrations group and is a member of various NCI advisory committees. He has published numerous papers in recent years in prominent journals that describe new genes and pathways involved in different tumor types. Dr Getz has recently been appointed as Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of Bioinformatics at the Mass General Cancer Center and MGH Department of Pathology.


Mervi Heiskanen, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Community Alliances
National Cancer Institute Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (NCI-CBIIT)

As the Associate Director for Community Alliances Dr. Heiskanen provides guidance and support for research community on available informatics resources. She is also federal lead for data warehousing applications that are used to host data produced by NCI funded programs. Dr. Heiskanen received her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Prior to joining the NCI, Dr. Heiskanen was developing high throughput array based technologies as a Senior Scientist at Compugen Inc. and a Visiting Fellow at the NIH Human Genome Research Institute.


Trey Ideker, Ph.D.

Division Chief of Genetics
Professor - Departments of Medicine and Bioengineering
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Dr. Ideker is Chief of Genetics at the UCSD School of Medicine.  He also serves as Professor of Bioengineering, Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.  Ideker received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Molecular Biology under the supervision of Dr. Leroy Hood.  He is a pioneer in using genome-scale measurements to construct network models of cellular processes and disease.  His recent research activities include assembly of networks governing the response to DNA damage, development of software for protein network cross-species comparisons, and network-based diagnosis of disease.  Ideker serves on the Editorial Boards for Bioinformatics and PLoS Computational Biology, Board of Directors for US-HUPO and the Cytoscape Consortium, and is a regular consultant for companies such as Monsanto, Genstruct, and Mendel Biotechnology.  He was named one of the Top 10 Innovators of 2006 by Technology Review magazine and the 2009 Overton Prize recipient from the International Society for Computational Biology.  His work has been featured in news outlets such as The Scientist, the San Diego Union Tribune, and Forbes magazine.


Chris Kinsinger, Ph.D.

Program Manager
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Kinsinger focuses on the expansion and coordination of open data access and programmatic goals involving mass spectrometry, informatics, and biospecimens. In this role he works with NCI staff and investigators to optimize proteomics technology, establish policies for sharing data and biospecimens, and generally improve the quality and reliability of proteomic measurements. He completed postdoctoral training at NIST, where he researched fragmentation pathways of peptide ions in mass spectrometry. He holds a Ph.D. degree in chemistry (2004) from the University of Minnesota.


Marc Lenburg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Computational Biomedicine
Boston University School of Medicine

Marc Lenburg's research interests involve developing computational strategies to use transcriptome profiling data to gain insights into disease pathogenesis and to develop biomarkers for early detection of disease, disease-risk assessment, and personalized therpy.  The primary focus of these efforts is smoking-related lung diseases such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  His group has developed a biomarker for detecting lung cancer based on patterns of gene expression in normal-appearing cells collected from the routinely collected mainstem bronchial airway samples that is currently being tested in a large multi-site clinical trial.  As a PI within the EDRN, he is helping to lead a project to determine whether similar cancer-related gene-expression patterns can be detected in nasal epithelium that can be collected even less invasively, opening up the possibility for a lung cancer screening tool that could be used in high risk smokers.  Lenburg is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Section of Computational Biomedicine at Boston University School of Medicine.  He received his PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF in 2000.


Daniel Masys, MD

Affiliate Professor
Biomedical and Health Informatics
University of Washington School of Medicine

Dr. Daniel R. Masys is an Affiliate Professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics, joining the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education in 2011.  Previously he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  An honors graduate of Princeton University and the Ohio State University College of Medicine, he completed postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of California, San Diego, and the Naval Regional Medical Center, San Diego.  He served as Chief of the International Cancer Research Data Bank of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and was also Director of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, which is a computer research and development division of the National Library of Medicine.  He also served as Director of Biomedical Informatics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Director of the UCSD Human Research Protections Program, and Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Masys is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine in Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and Fellow and Past President of the American College of Medical Informatics.  

Dr. Masys' research interests include development of informatics infrastructure for conducting clinical and translational research, genome-phenome correlation using phenotype data derived from electronic medical records data, and approaches to incorporating genomic data effectively into clinical systems.


Christine Micheel, Ph.D.

Program Manager, MyCancerGenome.org
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Christine Micheel joined the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in December 2011 as managing editor for MyCancerGenome.org. Prior to moving to Nashville, Dr. Micheel spent four years at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Washington, DC, working with the National Cancer Policy Forum (NCPF) and Board on Health Care Services.  She was the study director for the studies Evolution of Translational Omics and Evaluation of Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Chronic Disease.  She was a workshop rapporteur on NCPF workshop summaries Nanotechnology and Oncology, Multi-Center Phase III Clinical Trials and NCI Cooperative Groups, and Implementing Colorectal Cancer Screening.  Prior to her work at the IOM, Dr. Micheel held a postdoctoral position at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., where she studied interactions between biomolecules, such as DNA, and nanomaterials.  She completed her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, with the support of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship.  Her research was focused on nanobioscience. Dr. Micheel is an editor, author, or inventor on 6 books, 16 papers, and 2 patents.


Christos Patriotis, Ph.D.

Program Director
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Patriotis obtained his M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1990. His postdoctoral training focused on signal transduction and tumor cell biology. He joined the faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1998 where his research was directed toward understanding the mechanisms of breast and ovarian cancer pathogenesis and the identification of biomarkers associated with the early stages of the two types of cancer. This work included the development and characterization of animal models of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as high throughput microarray-based screening of human and animal model specimens for biomarker discovery.

He joined the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group of the Division of Cancer Biomarkers, NCI/NIH in March, 2007, where he actively undertook the management and coordination of several key activities of the group, including the management and coordination of Cooperative Agreement awards of the Early Detection Research Network focused on breast, ovarian and other gynecological cancers. Along these lines, he leads the coordination and management of large, multi-center clinical validation studies of biomarkers for early detection of cancer. Dr. Patriotis also directs the development of the EDRN Knowledge Environment to facilitate biomarker research within and outside the consortium. This represents an integrated system of multiple bioinformatics tools and data bases developed by the EDRN Informatics Center at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and it is based on a repository of Common Data Elements (CDEs) combined with the Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) middleware software, previously developed at JPL. The EDRN bioinformatics infrastructure enables the interoperability among biomarker research groups, their computing systems and distributed databases.


Jüri Reimand

Post-doctoral researcher
University of Toronto

Jüri Reimand is a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Gary Bader at the Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto, and a research fellow in the Brain Tumor Research Centre of Sick Kids Hospital in the lab of Michael D. Taylor. His primary research focus is functional and network-guided interpretation of cancer genomics data.

Jüri received his PhD in computer science at the University of Tartu, Estonia in 2010. He developed functional and pathway analysis tools such as g:Profiler during his doctoral studies in the group of Jaak Vilo. He was also a Marie Curie research fellow in the group of Nicholas Luscombe at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Cambridge, UK, where he developed methods for functional interpretation of transcription regulatory networks. He was awarded the 2010 Grand Prix of student research by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.


Markus Riester, Ph.D.

Biostatistics & Computational Biology
Dana-Farber Cancer Center/Harvard School of Public Health

Markus Riester received his PhD in 2010 at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He then joined Franziska Michor’s group at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City as postdoc and moved to Dana-Farber in fall 2010, together with the rest of the Michor lab. His current research areas include the development of predictive models using high-dimensional genomic data, with a focus on translational relevance.


Leming Shi

School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Leming Shi is a professor of pharmacogenomics at the School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, and a guest faculty at the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Shi’s research focuses on pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, and cheminformatics. As a principal investigator at the US FDA, Dr. Shi conceived and led the MicroArray and Sequencing Quality Control (MAQC/SEQC) project (www.fda.gov/MicroArrayQC/, www.nature.com/nbt/focus/maqc/ and www.nature.com/focus/maqc2/) aiming to develop standards and guidance for personalized medicine. Dr. Shi was a co-founder of Chipscreen Biosciences Ltd. in Shenzhen, China where he helped develop a chemogenomics-based drug discovery platform leading to several novel small-molecule drug candidates with promising efficacy and safety profiles in anticancer and antidiabetic clinical trials. Dr. Shi is a co-inventor on nine issued patents about novel therapeutic molecules and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers (eight of them appeared in Nature Biotechnology). Dr. Shi received his Ph.D. in computational chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.


Sudhir Srivastava, Ph.D., MPH, MS

Chief, Cancer Biomarkers Research Group
Division of Cancer Prevention
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Srivastava is Chief of the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group in the Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute.  Dr. Srivastava joined the National Cancer Institute in 1988.  Since 1990, he has served as program director in the Division of Cancer Prevention and focused his responsibility in developing and managing programs in molecular diagnostics with primary emphasis on cancer screening, early detection, risk assessment and informatics. Since 2012, Dr. Srivastava is also a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Center for Prostate Disease Research, Department of Defense.


Dr. Srivastava has received several honors and awards and is a member of a number of scientific committees. In 1995, he was elected to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) which is responsible for developing staging criteria for cancers for worldwide use and currently serves on the AJCC Executive Committee. He has received several NIH Merit Awards; he received individual awards (1995 and1999) and a Group Award (2000 and 2006). In 1999, he also received the NIH Director’s Award for his extraordinary scientific leadership in furthering development of biomarkers and surrogate endpoint in clinical trials. He conceptualized and initiated a Gordon Conference on New Frontiers in Cancer Detection and Diagnosis (2002) and chaired and coordinated the meeting in 2003. Dr. Srivastava has played major roles in establishing a number of national and international programs in cancer detection and diagnosis for which he has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute. He served on an international faculty for colon cancer detection and was recognized by the President of Israel.  He was invited by then First Lady, Mrs. Hillary Clinton on the occasion of the launching of Colon Cancer Awareness month at the White House in 2003. He has been a visiting Professor at several medical and academic institutions and has given inaugural and keynote addresses.


In 2000, Dr. Srivastava developed and implemented a novel approach to collaborative clinical research on cancer biomarkers through the establishment of the Early Detection research Network (EDRN), a flagship program at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. The network has more than 45 institutions, 300 investigators and involves several federal agencies in the USA. Under his leadership the network has begun translating biomarkers into clinical tests for early detection and diagnosis, risk assessment, and prognosis. In collaboration with NASA (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) he has played a key role in conceptualizing and implementing informatics infrastructure for the EDRN, a model collaboration being followed elsewhere. In 2011, he received a prestigious award from NASA for innovative and pioneering use of NASA data system technologies to construct a novel and remarkably successful national bioinformatics network for cancer biomarker research. Under his stewardship, recently, a new program, NCI’s Alliance of Glycobiologists for Detecting Cancer Risk and Early Cancer for evaluating sugars (glycans) as potential biomarkers has been initiated to bring a disparate group of glycobiologists to work together on accelerating progress in glycan biology toward its clinical application.


Dr. Srivastava has played a pivotal role in the development of the Bethesda Guidelines for diagnosing hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer and in the development of International Criteria for screening microsatellite instability in cancer patients. He has successfully chaired workshop, conferences, working groups, and other NIH wide committees and published more than 180 research papers, review articles and commentaries in peer reviewed journals.


He is the Editor-in Chief of the journal, Disease Markers and a sister journal Cancer Biomarkers, published by the IOS press. Recently, he edited a book on Informatics in Proteomics published by Francis and Taylor, New York. Recently, he has been appointed to serve as an Associate Member of a newly launched American Association for Cancer Research Journal Cancer Prevention Research for a four-year term. He has edited several monographs and book chapters, including: Early Detection of Cancer: Molecular Markers, published by the Futura Publishing Company in 1995, Molecular Pathology of Cancer, published by IOS Press, Amsterdam in 1999 and Informatics in Proteomics by CRC Press in 2006. Recently he edited a book under the title of Translational Pathology of Early Cancer, published in March 2012.


David Tabb, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Mass Spectrometry Bioinformaticist
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

David Tabb has conducted research in proteome informatics since 1996. His research team at Vanderbilt has investigated MS/MS identification, large-scale protein assembly, post-translational modification discovery, and comparative proteomics since 2005.  As part of both the NCI Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium and the NCI Early Detection Research Network, his team has turned their talents to biomarker development and validation, leveraging genomic information in proteomic discovery.


Mark Thornquist, Ph.D.

Principal Staff Scientist
Public Health Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Mark Thornquist is a principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  He directs COMPASS, a program within the division that specializes in the coordination of multi-center health research.  COMPASS currently provides coordination for three NCI-funded consortia and two research collaborations.  Among other projects, he is an investigator at the Data Management and Coordinating Center for the Early Detection Research Network, a consortium focused on discovering and validating biomarkers for the early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of cancer.


Zhen Zhang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pathology and Oncology
Associate Director Center for Biomarker Discovery Translation
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Zhen Zhang is an associate professor of Pathology and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the associate director of the Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation (CBDT) at Johns Hopkins. At CBDT, he designed and conducted large-scale biomarker discovery and development studies, including the work that eventually lead to OVA1, the first in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assay (IVDMIA) of protein biomarkers cleared by FDA for clinical use. His research interests include algorithm/method development for integrative analysis of genomic and proteomic data, study design for biomarker discovery, and development of IVDMIAs for clinical applications.

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