Life Sciences Staff

Marian Carlson

Marian Carlson, Ph.D.

Director, Life Sciences

Marian Carlson received her A.B. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University. After postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1981 she joined the faculty at Columbia University, where she is a professor of genetics and development and has also served as senior associate dean and vice dean for research. Her laboratory used genetic analysis in yeast to identify and elucidate conserved mechanisms of signal transduction and transcriptional regulation, notably the SNF1/AMPK protein kinase pathway and the SWI-SNF chromatin remodeling complex. In 2008, she took a leave of absence to serve as a senior scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She joined the Simons Foundation in 2010.

Carlson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a past president of the Genetics Society of America, and she received the 2009 Genetics Society of America Medal.


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Anastasia "Stacey" Greenebaum, J.D., M.I.D.

Communications Director

Stacey Greenebaum has enjoyed a broad professional career that includes stints in New York City government, law, publishing, design and consulting to small businesses on matters of brand communication. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a J.D. from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. She has worked for the Simons Foundation in various capacities since 2001 and assumed the role of communications director here in 2010.


Marion Greenup, M.P.H., M.Ed.

Vice President, Administration

Marion Greenup joined the Simons Foundation in 2007 as vice president for administration. She is responsible for developing and managing administrative systems and policies to support the foundation’s programs. Greenup earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Harriet Sophie Newcomb College, a Masters of Arts in Education in Early Childhood Development from Tulane University, and a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University School of Public Health. She has worked in health and university administration for over 20 years. Most recently, Greenup was the administrative director of the New York University Child Study Center and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Previous appointments include assistant vice president of administration at Columbia University Health Sciences and department administrator of pediatrics at Columbia University. She also served as senior vice president of education and health promotion at the March of Dimes, where she led the development of educational programs for consumers and health professionals.


Deborah Kenyon

Grants Associate

Deborah Kenyon joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 to manage pre-award activities and post-award portfolios for the Life Sciences division. Before coming to the foundation, Kenyon was research administration manager at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). While at JDRF, she oversaw the pre-award grants team and processes, and tracked and reported on annual funding. Before that, she was a project manager at the Dysautonomia Foundation, where she managed its strategic image to raise money and overall interest in the treatment and research of familial dysautonomia, a rare genetic disorder. Kenyon holds a B.S. in mass media communications from New York 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.


David Leyden, M.P.A.

Senior Program Administrator

David Leyden joined the Simons Foundation in 2013 after serving as departmental administrator for the neuroscience department at Columbia University. There, Leyden was responsible for the management of government and private grants, gifts, endowments and university funding. He also worked closely with senior scientists on plans for Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.  Prior to his time at Columbia, Leyden was manager of grants administration at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, where he oversaw a portfolio that exceeded $100 million a year in annual funding and managed the biannual research grant review process. He holds a B.A. in international relations from Syracuse University and an M.P.A. from Columbia University.


Richard McFarland, M.P.A.

Director, Grants Management

Richard McFarland joined the staff in 2011 having previously served as divisional administrator for the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience in Columbia University’s department of neuroscience. Before that, he worked at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International as grants manager and team leader of grants administration. McFarland has a joint bachelor’s degree in communications and in visual arts from Fordham University, and a master’s degree in public administration with a focus in advanced management and finance from Columbia University.

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Danielle Patch

Executive Assistant

Danielle Patch joined the Simons Foundation in 2012. Prior to coming to the foundation, Patch served as director of administration for Nucor Construction, a mid-size general contracting firm in Manhattan. Before that, she worked as an office manager for SHVO Real Estate Marketing and as an executive assistant at Donna Karan International. Patch holds a B.A. in history and classics from Boston University.


Natalia Volfovsky, Ph.D.

Analytics Manager, Informatics and Information Technology

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.