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. She is the engineering lead for the SPARK project. She is responsible for the system architecture, specification, design, and development of the SPARK system. She actively manages specifications/requirements for internal developers as well as third party systems. 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. 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 on software development efforts throughout the foundation. Ford is the Lead Software Engineer and project champion of Project Vesta. Previously, Ford worked as Software Engineer and IT Coordinator for Navegación Satelital de Costa Rica (NavSat) in Costa Rica. 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 and is studying for a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering from Pennsylvania 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 serves as a Research Data Analyst for SPARK. Kent provides support for all things data. He assists scientists with data access, cleaning, and statistical analysis and also works on building analytical tools for data visualization and exploration. 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.

Lash was awarded an M.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1994, 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. From 1998 to 2003, Lash was a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NIH. From 2003 to 2012, he was a laboratory member in the computational biology program and scientific director of the bioinformatics core facility at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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

Kevin Layman joined the Informatics team at The Simons Foundation in 2016. His areas of expertise include distributed systems, web applications, API’s, and databases. Prior to joining the foundation, he worked as a senior software engineer in the financial and educational technology sectors. Layman holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech and a B.M. in Music Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

Malcolm Mallardi

Linux Systems Administrator

Malcolm Mallardi works to provide a stable platform for many of the foundation’s initiatives and brands.  His duties include advising software engineering teams, performing large data transfers, and focusing on computing and server security.  Since late 2015, he has brought his extensive background in automation to continually monitor and modernize the foundation’s server infrastructure.  He works closely with research partners and cohorts to make certain that analytical data is disseminated properly.  He is also a passionate member of the Linux community, having contributions in the Linux kernel amongst several other open source and free software projects.

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 engineer for a software-as-a-service startup based in Manhattan. Before that, he worked for Atos North America, supporting Unix and Linux systems for McGraw-Hill. Prior to that, he worked at Accenture, supporting the e-procurement project for the state 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.