Genomics: People

Xi Chen

Xi Chen, Ph.D.

Flatiron Research Fellow, Genomics

Xi Chen joined the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology in 2016 in the genomics group. Chen’s research focuses on developing algorithms for processing and statistical analysis of heterogeneous genomics data. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he worked on developing Bayesian models of transcriptional networks using transcriptomics and genomics data collected from breast cancer cell lines or from patients. Chen holds a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology in China.


Salim Chowdhury, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Center for Computational Biology

Before coming to the Center for Computational Biology’s genomics group in 2015, Salim Chowdhury earned his Ph.D. in Russell Schwartz’s lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There, he worked on developing evolutionary models of tumor progression using genomics data collected across diverse types of cancer patients. At the Simons Foundation, Chowdhury’s research will focus on building dynamics of protein functional networks and identifying how they are affected by genetic perturbations. Chowdhury holds an M.S. in computer science from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S. in computer science from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

John Hayward

John Hayward, M.S.

Senior Software Engineer, Center for Computational Biology

John Hayward joined the Simons Foundation in 2016 as a senior software engineer in Center for Computational Biology’s genomics group. Before joining the foundation, Hayward worked as a research and development analyst for the Bloomberg Tokyo Marunouchi office, adapting East Asian market data feeds for the Bloomberg news and financial analysis services. Prior to this, he was an associate engineer with the Air Traffic Control Systems Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, serving as a principal developer for the Route Availability Planning Tool, an automated decision system for air traffic congestion management currently in nationwide deployment. In graduate school, he was a researcher in the surgical oncology division of the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical School, where he studied predictive modeling in the clinical performance of gastrointestinal cancer patients, focusing on pancreatic adenocarcinoma. He holds an M.S. in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A. Mark Roberts

A. Mark Roberts, Ph.D.

Data Scientist, Scientific Computing Core

Mark Roberts joined the Scientific Computing Core in 2016 as a data scientist in the computing group. He develops robust and efficient systems for functional genomics in collaboration with the center’s genomics group and integrates them into a widely used open-source software platform for data analysis. Roberts worked as a consultant at the foundation starting in June 2015 before joining the staff full time. Previously, he was a quantitative analyst at Citigroup. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University, where his research focused on novel computer architectures for fast cryptography.

Rachel Sealfon

Rachel Sealfon, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Center for Computational Biology

Rachel Sealfon joined the foundation in 2016 as a research scientist in the center’s genomics group. She is applying data integration methods and prediction approaches to study functional genomic data. Sealfon has a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was advised by Pardis Sabeti and Manolis Kellis. She has an A.B. in computer science from Princeton University.

Olga Troyanskaya

Olga Troyanskaya, Ph.D.

Deputy Director for Genomics, Center for Computational Biology

Olga Troyanskaya became deputy director for genomics in 2014 after working with CCB as a consultant since 2013. Troyanskaya is also a professor at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and at the department of computer science at Princeton University, where she has been on the faculty since 2003. At Princeton, she runs the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics. She holds a Ph.D. in biomedical informatics from Stanford University, and is a recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Science Foundation CAREER award, Overton award from International Society for Computational Biology and the Ira Herskowitz award from the Genetic Society of America. She was also a finalist for the Blavatnik Award. As deputy director for genomics, Troyanskaya is responsible for building and leading a group of junior and senior scientists working on genomics, bioinformatics and their associated applications.


Benjamin VanderSluis, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Center for Computational Biology

Benjamin VanderSluis joined the Center for Computational Biology’s genomics group in 2015 to research data integration methods and prediction approaches for functional genomic data, as well as to conduct research on other bioinformatics projects. Before coming to the foundation, VanderSluis was a postdoctoral associate in the functional genomics laboratory of Chad L. Myers, associate professor of computer science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His work there focused on mapping and interpreting the genetic interaction network in yeast, and on integrating diverse functional data to predict gene function. VanderSluis holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in computer science, also from the University of Minnesota.

Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong, Ph.D.

Data Scientist and Project Leader, Center for Computational Biology

Aaron Wong joined the center’s Genomics Group in 2015 to develop algorithms and models for analyzing high-throughput biomedical data and to coordinate the development of a public database of human functional genomics. Prior to coming to the foundation, Wong completed his Ph.D. in computer science at Princeton University, where he worked on integrative analysis of functional genomic data, developing algorithms to predict tissue-specific signals in biological networks and advanced search algorithms for large biomedical data collections. Before that, he was a research programmer in bioinformatics at the University of California, Davis. In addition to his Ph.D., Wong holds a B.S. in computer science and engineering from the University of California, Davis.