Informatics: Staff

Alpha Amatya, M.S.

Lead Senior Software Engineer

Alpha Amatya joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 to work with staff and external vendors on ongoing software development efforts. Before coming to the foundation, Amatya was a senior software engineer at On Demand Books, where she designed and developed web-enabled software to allow authors to self-publish and readers to print books on demand at the point of sale. Prior to that, she was a software engineer at Tangoe, Inc., which provides domestic and international clients with various software for telecommunications enterprise management and mobile device management. Amatya holds a B.S. in mathematics with a minor in computer science from Washington College in Maryland and an M.S. in computer science from Pace University in New York.

Martin Butler, M.S.

Software Engineer, User Interface

Martin Butler joined the foundation’s Informatics group in early 2015 to work on front-end development of new SFARI programs. Previously, Butler was director of IT Infrastructure, Global Shared Services at Wolters Kluwer, where he served as the lead technologist and advisor to the businesses, helping to create and present a convergence strategy and consolidated offerings to their businesses across end-user computing. Before that, he was director of program management/senior tech project manager of the CIO organization at Automatic Data Processing. There, he managed the global end-user computing engineer and support, service management, mobile engineering and application portfolio/packaging/quality assurance groups. A graduate of the Fullstack Academy of Code in New York, Butler holds a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Pace University in New York and M.S in computer science from Montclair State University.

Ahmad Chatha

Software Engineer

Ahmad Chatha joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 after earning a B.S. in mathematics and computer science from New York University. As a member of the informatics team, he works closely with internal and external software engineers and data analysts. He also works on the foundation’s open source software development efforts by designing, building and maintaining software and databases for analysis of large collections of datasets.

Wubin Chin

Senior Software Engineer

Wubin Chin joined the foundation in 2016 as a member of the informatics team. Chin brings with him more than ten years of experience in multiple systems across various industries. Prior to joining the foundation, he worked at Zignage LLC, as a lead software developer, where he focused on core products such as digital signage and e-learning. Before that, he was a project manager at Samsung Electronics, collecting and analyzing user requirements and negotiating with internal developers and consulting firms. He holds a masters degree in management with the e-business concentration from New York University.

Chris Fleisch

Senior Systems Architect

Chris Fleisch started at the Simons Foundation in 2007. Prior to joining the foundation he was the webmaster for the Greenwood Publishing Group. He graduated in 2003 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he studied information technology.

Steven Ford

Lead Software Engineer

Steven Ford joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 to work with internal staff and external vendors on software development efforts throughout the foundation. Previously, Ford worked for Navegación Satelital de Costa Rica (NavSat), a company that develops and implements navigation software and fleet monitoring solutions in Costa Rica. Ford helped develop NavSat’s fleet management and tracking software, gaining experience in onboarding externally developed software and managing and analyzing large datasets. Prior to his time with NavSat, Ford spent three years volunteering with the Peace Corps in El Salvador. He holds a B.S. in computer science from Michigan State University.

William Jensen, M.S.

Senior Database Applications Analyst

Before joining the Simons Foundation in 2016, William Jensen was an analyst at Prometheus Research. During his time at Prometheus, Jensen worked primarily on SFARI projects, including the Simons Simplex Collection and the Simons Variation in Individuals Project. As a senior database application analyst with the informatics and information technology group at the Simons Foundation, Jensen will continue to work with the databases and Web applications that support SFARI research projects. He holds a B.S. in physics from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.S. in physics from Indiana University.

Matthew Kent, M.S.

Research Data Analyst

Matthew Kent joined the foundation in 2016 as a research data analyst in the informatics group. Prior to joining the foundation, Kent was a data analyst at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he assisted surgeons and research fellows with statistical analyses and also led the analytical development of the institution’s first surgical feedback system. Kent has an M.S. in predictive analytics from Northwestern University.

Alex Lash, M.D.

Chief Informatics Officer

Alex Lash joined the Simons Foundation in March 2012 to lead the further development and dissemination of the foundation’s extensive scientific data assets — particularly those related to autism spectrum disorders — as well as to oversee the automation of its scientific administration infrastructure and develop metrics of funding impact.

Lash was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York from 2003 to 2012, where he was a laboratory member in the computational biology program and scientific director of the bioinformatics core facility. By 2012, he had overseen the growth of the bioinformatics core to include more than a dozen doctoral- and masters-level personnel who provided research support services in the areas of high-throughput sequence and microarray data analysis, high-performance computing, bioinformatics training and research software development.

From 1998 to 2003, at the height of the human genome sequencing initiative, Lash was a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. At NCBI, Lash lead a group that was responsible for creating the national repository for public gene expression data. Later, the scope of the repository was expanded to include the data generated from a spectrum of high-throughput microarray platforms, such as array comparative genome hybridization, as well as proteomics data. While at NCBI, Lash received several awards from the National Library of Medicine and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lash has an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed his residency training in anatomic pathology in 1998 at the National Cancer Institute, where he was recognized by the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists. Lash also has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of California at Irvine. He has been programming in various computer languages since his early teens and has a passion for using information technology to improve human efficiency and reduce the likelihood and impact of human error.

Noah Lawson

Research Data Analyst

Noah Lawson joined the foundation in 2016 as a research data analyst in the informatics group. He helps facilitate access to SFARI’s data by interfacing with researchers across multiple universities and analyzes genomic and phenotypic data to help further the understanding of autism spectrum disorders. Prior to joining the foundation, Lawson worked at R4 Technologies as a data scientist and served as a mentor for developmentally disabled individuals.

Kevin Layman

Senior Software Engineer

Malcolm Mallardi

Linux Systems Administrator

Malcolm Mallardi joined the foundation in late 2015, having previously worked as an IT engineer with TransPerfect Translations in their client facing infrastructure team. Before that, he consulted on computer and server security. At the foundation, he is responsible for maintaining various Unix and Linux pieces of computing infrastructure.

Richard J. Marini

Senior Software Engineer

Richard Marini joined the informatics and information technology group at the Simons Foundation in 2015 to develop informatics systems for new SFARI programs. Before coming to the foundation, Marini was a senior software engineer at Constant Contact, an online marketing company. At Constant Contact, Marini developed a distributed Web crawler that utilized machine learning and natural language processing techniques to generate sales leads, and determine publisher coverage and market share for products. Before that, he was a senior software engineer at Noodle Education, where he developed a distributed Web crawler to catalog and index educational opportunities for a vertical search engine in the education space. Marini holds an A.A.S. in electronic engineering from the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

Rishiraj Rana

Linux Systems Administrator

Rishiraj Rana joined the foundation in early 2017, having previously worked as a Systems systems Engineer engineer for a SaaS software-as-a-service start-up based in midtownManhattan. Earlier toBefore that, he has worked for Atos North America,A supporting Unix, and Linux systems for McGraw McGraw-Hill Companies. Prior to that, he worked at Accenture, supporting the e-procurement project for the State of NCstate of North Carolina. At the foundation, he is responsible for maintaining various Unix and Linux pieces of computing infrastructure.

Chris Rigby, M.S.

Senior Software Engineer

Chris Rigby joined the foundation in 2016 as a member of the SFARI software development team. Prior to coming here, Rigby was assistant professor at Orange County Community College, SUNY, where he taught in the computer science department. Rigby has held a variety of technical positions, including vice president for systems and development at Tangoe, a leading provider of telecommunications management software. Rigby has an M.S. in computer science from City College/CUNY and has also done doctoral level coursework in anthropology at Brandeis University.

Andrei Salomatov, Ph.D.

Senior Bioinformatics Engineer

Andrei Salomatov joined the Simons Foundation in 2015 to focus on development and implementation of computational methods for genomic data analysis. Previously, Salomatov developed computational pipelines for the next-generation sequencing data analysis at the Genomics Core Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Earlier in his career, Salomatov was involved in financial markets as an independent strategist, an exotic options trader at Barclays Capital and vice president at Guy Carpenter & Co. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Novosibirsk State University in Russia.

Colleen Stock, M.S.

Software Engineer

Colleen Stock joined the foundation in 2016 as a software engineer in the informatics group. She creates software solutions in support of the many initiatives across departments. Stock has an M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. While she was there, she investigated laboratory-made gravity-capillary waves by modeling this phenomenon in C++, designed an experiment to investigate the freezing properties of water droplets on impact onto an already-frozen surface, and explored the possibility of investigating antibubbles to look into their stability. Stock has a B.S. in both mathematics and computer science from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

Natalia Volfovsky, Ph.D.

Director, Data and Analytics

Natalia Volfovsky came to the Simons Foundation to oversee quantitative informatics analysis, data storage and data curation. Prior to joining the foundation, Volfovsky served as manager of the computational genomics group at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) in Maryland where she was responsible for design and development of computational methods to process and analyze genomics data. While at the FNLCR, Volfovsky also organized bioinformatics training sessions and participated in collaborative research projects. She holds an M.S. in mathematics from Kharkiv State University, Ukraine, a Ph.D. in computer science from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and completed her postdoctoral work in bioinformatics at the Institute for Genomic Research with Dr. Steven Salzberg.