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Xianjun Dong, PhD

The Hub is led by Xianjun Dong, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Computational Neuroscience Unit of the Precision Neurology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Faculty member of the HMS Initiative for RNA Medicine, and an affiliate member of Broad Institute. He is specialized in developing and applying computational methods to understand the transcriptional regulation of the human genome, by integrating genomic, transcriptomic, epigenetic, and clinical data from both healthy subjects and patients with neurological diseases. He is particularly interested in the non-coding RNAs (eRNA, circRNA, miRNA, etc.) in the brain. He has expertise in analyzing various NGS data, incl. ChIPseq, RNAseq, RNA-PET, CAGE, and WGS data.

Dr. Dong received his Ph.D. degree in Bioinformatics at the University of Bergen (supervisor: Boris Lenhard) and a Postdoctoral fellowship in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (supervisor: Zhiping Weng). He was an active member of the ENCODE consortium. He has 30+ publications with 15,000+ citations and an H-index of 21. He is recently awarded by the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) and Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP).

Dr. Dong’s NIH biosketch can be downloaded here.

Tingting Zhao, PhD

Dr. Tingting Zhao is a Research Scientist in Bioinformatics at the Hub. She got her PhD in Dr. Craig Kaplan’s group at University of Pittsburgh, where she has dissected a general transcription’s function in RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) transcription start site (TSS) selection using genetics and the NGS method. During her grad school study and postdoctoral training, she has received specific training and expertise in RNA transcription and next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis.  Tingting also taught undergrad students for Biochemistry recitation and mentored rotation graduate students for research. With her background in both Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics, she will provide a unique view to our collaborators’s data. She will also assist the hub in providing basic and advanced bioinformatics training to students and researchers in BWH.

Xiaoqi "Ava" Li

Xiaoqi Li is a Research Assistant in the Hub. She received bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics and computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Xiaoqi is interested in solving biomedical problems using her skillsets in computer science and mathematics. She developed an R shiny application for power analysis ( in one months and is now participating in two exciting projects about COVID-19 genomics and PD imaging genetics.

Ariela Buxbaum Grice

Ariela Buxbaum Grice is a Research Assistant in the Hub. She recent graduated from Connecticut College, where she majored in biological sciences, with a minor concentration in studio art. She has worked in neuropsychiatric research labs, including labs at UCSD and Mount Sinai, primarily working in the area of molecular genetics. She is interested in working with “big data”– particularly differential expression analyses for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Mrinal Subash

Mrinal Subash is a graduate student in Bioinformatics at Northeastern University. His areas of interest include single-cell genomics, machine learning, data analytics, and RNA-seq. He is currently doing a co-op intern in the hub.

Jie Yuan, PhD

Jie Yuan is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Dong’s lab at the Department of Neurology at BWH and Harvard Medical School, studying risk factors and biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease. Jie completed his PhD in computer science at Columbia University working on statistical tools for GWAS analysis, including methods to identify disease subtypes with unique SNP associations (Yuan et al. Nature Genetics, 2018; Yuan et al. PLoS Genetics, 2020). He is broadly interested in deep learning and other topics in machine learning and their applications to genomics and epigenetics. He is an avid (though amateur) chess player and puzzle solver in his free time.

Ruifeng Hu, PhD

Ruifeng Hu is currently a research fellow in Dr. Dong’s lab at the Department of Neurology at BWH and Harvard Medical School. Ruifeng received his Ph.D. degree in the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) & Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), China. Before joining Harvard, Ruifeng did his postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. His research is focused on but not limited to develop computational methods to unveil the hidden biological circuitries underlying the data, from understanding sequence-based regulations to the genomes or epigenomes and their impacts on diseases. Ruifeng is proficient in Python, C++, and C. He likes hiking/traveling/hand-writing/watching movies/reading in his spare time.

Allison Mello

Allison is the Administrative Assistant for the Genomics and Bioinformatics Hub, providing support for all aspects of the hub mission. Prior to joining BWH, Ms. Mello Interned at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination as an Administrative Support/Language Access Intern. Ms. Mello recently graduated with Academic Honors from Bay State College with a degree in Management alongside a concentration specifically in Healthcare Management. During her time at Bay State College, she was recognized with a Program Leadership Award.

Sherri Schwaninger, MBA

Sherri Schwaninger, MBA is Program Manager supporting the Scherzer/Dong/Lemere Labs. Sherri has been a health-care manager for 35 years spending the first 17 years of her career with Partners’ Neurology at MGH and BWH, where she had responsibility for research finance and clinical operations. Shifting to the pharmaceutical industry, Sherri spent 16+ years as Head of Operations, Biologics and Imaging, at Novartis. Her focus was on lab operations and operating and capital budget management. Sherri has returned to the BWH after a short retirement. She earned her MBA from Simmons University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UMASS Boston.

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