Department Administration

Katie Kanagawa

Communications and PR Manager

Since joining the Stanford community in Spring 2014, Katie has been managing the communications and outreach programs for Stanford’s Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics (CEHG). She received her Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2009 and worked as a lecturer and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University until 2012. From 2012-2014, she worked on the Communications team of San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Breast Cancer Action, and managed the social media campaigns for California non-profits, Media Watch and the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media. 

Pornprang Plangsrisakul

Executive Assistant to Department Chair

Pornprang has been working in the administrative field for 10 years. She received her M.A. in Communication from Washington State University in 2000 and, from 2003-2007, worked as an Instructor in the Department of Communication Arts at Assumption University of Thailand (the country’s first international university). She joined Stanford’s Department of Medicine in 2008 and the Department of Biomedical Data Science in April 2016. She enjoys the privilege of being a Stanford staff member, working with smart and wonderful people. She also loves cooking, sightseeing and hiking. 

Rachel Rivas

Academic Affairs Administrator

As a member of the Basic Science Shared Services Consortium Academic Affairs team, Rachel supports all faculty affairs actions in the Department of Biomedical Data Science. In addition, she serves as the Department’s Postdoctoral Administrator. Rachel earned her BA in Sociology from UC San Diego in 2011 and her MA in Education from San Francisco State University in 2013. She spent several years working at an educational management start-up company as a Student Services Advisor and Academic Affairs Specialist. She joined the Department of Biomedical Data Science in March 2018 to further her passion for supporting students and faculty in a higher education setting.

Kimberly Wilderman

Administrative Associate

Kimberly Wilderman joined the Stanford community in August 2016, as an Administrative Associate working in the Health Improvement Program (HIP). Since joining the Department of Biomedical Data Science in October 2017, she has been providing excellent administrative and office support to DBDS faculty including, but not limited to, proposal preparation, calendaring, event support, and space coordination. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Management from Sonoma State University. In her free time, Kim enjoys walking her Goldador (Golden Retriever/Labrador), Cooper. 

Biomedical Informatics Program (BMI)

Ayla Akgul

Student Services Specialist

A native of the Bay Area, Ayla (pronounced “Eye-La”) returned to the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area after receiving her Master of Arts in International Education from the School of International Training – Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. She began her career at Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey before joining Golden Gate University to serve as their Undergraduate Program Coordinator. In June of 2016, she joined the Biomedical Informatics Training Program and has been enjoying every moment working closely with BMI students, alumni, faculty and staff. In her free time, she helps operate her family’s local restaurant business and loves to learn new languages.

Joan Menees

Student Services Administratrator and Admissions Officer

Joan began her Stanford career in 2009 and has held various student services roles within the School of Medicine. She earned her M.A in Counseling from Santa Clara University with the goal of using the skills she learned to support students. In 2016, she joined the Biomedical Informatics Training Program, where her duties include administering training grants, curriculum, and degree progress. The most rewarding part of her job is working with the students. When she’s not working, you’ll find Joan hiking or spending time with friends and family.


Yulin Chien

Software Developer

Yulin is a software developer in the Data Coordinating Center, with over 10 years of programming experience. She studied user interface graphic design in Columbus, Ohio and then obtained her Master's degree in Multimedia Computing from San Jose State University. Her expertise is in graphical user interfaces and web front-end application development. Prior to joining Stanford, she worked as a senior software developer at Monster Worldwide, Inc. and as a lead software developer at eBay, where she developed many key features and established new web domains using prominent web development technologies. She is happy to leverage her expertise in open source development and contribute to the success of research projects in the Stanford School of Medicine.


Solomon Henry

Data Integration Architect

Solomon joined Stanford University School of Medicine as a Systems Software Developer in March 2002. Since then, he has been involved in developing various research databases including the Stanford Cancer Institute Research Database, the Bone Marrow Transplant database, the Lymphoma Program Project database and the Reynolds cardiovascular database. Solomon received his MS in Computer Science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani, India and his BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Madurai Kamaraj University, India. Prior to joining Stanford University School of Medicine, Solomon worked for TIBCO and Tata Unisys Technology.

Alex McMillan

Senior Research Scientist, Basic Life Sciences

Alex received a M.Sc. in Statistics from McGill University and worked on population estimates at Statistics Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford and served with the UCSF Cancer Center, where he advised on the design and analysis of pre-clinical, clinical and epidemiological studies as well as reviewed clinical protocols. Since joining Stanford in 2005, he has worked in the same capacity at Stanford for the School of Medicine, advising on cancer and non-cancer projects. He has served as a statistical mentor with the Intensive Course in Clinical Research since the inception of ICCR at Stanford. Requests for advice from outside DBDS are best channeled through 

Balasubramanian Narasimhan

Senior Research Scientist

Director, Data Coordinating Center

Naras studied mathematics at Loyola College in Madras and applied mathematics at P.S.G. College of Technology in Coimbatore. He obtained his doctorate in Statistics from Florida State University, where he was advised by George Marsaglia. He taught at the University of Minnesota, Morris and Penn State University, Erie before moving to Stanford, where he holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Statistics and Biomedical Data Sciences. His research areas include computational statistics and biostatistics, clinical trial design and inference and statistical software. He is also the director of the Data Coordinating Center, a core shared resource in the School of Medicine.

Laurel Stell

Engineering Research Associate

Dr. Stell has been a biostatistician at Stanford since 2013. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University and later earned an M.S. in Statistics at Stanford. She is particularly interested in statistical modelling (developing predictors or classifiers), inference, and multiple hypothesis testing. She has collaborated with physicians and has also worked on projects oriented more towards developing statistical methodology. Dr. Stell has experience analyzing a wide variety of data, including genomic and gene expression data. She also facilitates the DBDS Data Studio and is developing mini-courses on data analysis for it.


John S. Tamaresis


Dr. Tamaresis joined Stanford University's School of Medicine in Summer 2012. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Davis and received an M.S. in Statistics from California State University, East Bay. He has conducted research in computational biology as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Merced and also as a biostatistician at the University of California, San Francisco. As a statistician, Dr. Tamaresis has developed and validated a highly accurate statistical biomarker classifier for gynecologic disease by applying multivariate techniques to a large genomic data set. As an applied mathematician, Dr. Tamaresis has created computational biology models and devised numerical methods for their solution. 

Douglas Wood

Senior Software Developer

Douglas has been a team member of the Data Coordinating Center in the School of Medicine since 2005. He has developed several clinical data-focused web applications including the Stanford Cancer Institute Research Database, the Bone Marrow Transplant database and the Lymphoma Program database. He specializes in translating clinical research requirements to and from databases. Prior to Stanford, he was a Software Developer for Sun Microsystems Professional Services, Chemdex/SpecialtyMD and Axys Pharmaceuticals/Sequana Therapeutics. He has an MS from UC San Diego's Department of Bioengineering in the area of Osteoblast Adhesion to Biomaterials and a BS from San Jose State University's Department of Materials Science & Engineering. 


Bustamante Group

Hannah Wand

ClinGen Program Coordinator

Hannah is a genetic counselor at the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease, and program coordinator for the Stanford ClinGen team. She has her ScM from the Johns Hopkins/NHGRI genetic counseling program. Her research interests are public health implementation of genomic medicine and utilization of genetic results (especially in changing health behaviors). Her primary focus is on Familial Hypercholesterolemia. 

Matt Wright

Senior Biocuration Scientist

Matt is a senior biocurator with extensive experience in all key aspects of biocuration. Additionally, he is a genome data scientist, skilled in sequence analysis and functional annotation using bioinformatic tools. He also has considerable experience working with programmers to develop websites, bioinformatics tools, and user interfaces.  As part of the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) initiative, he works on the design of curation interfaces for evaluating variant and gene associations with disease, the curation itself, and the design of the interface through which this and other information will be disseminated. Matt is a native of the UK and received his PhD from University College London.

Bryan Wulf

Software Developer

Bryan is a software developer with experience working on a variety of applications and websites for several different companies across a diverse set of industries.  As part of the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) initiative, he works with the biocurators on the design and development of software in support of the group.  Before joining the ClinGen team in October 2017, his most recent job was as a software developer for HighWire Press, a company that provides a content hosting platform for scholarly publishing.

Klein Group

Julia Barbarino

Scientific Data Curator

Julia has been a Scientific Curator at PharmGKB since October 2012. She holds an MSc in Medical Molecular Genetics from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where her research focused on epigenetics and human longevity. In addition to her master's degree, she also holds a BS in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Michelle Whirl-Carrillo

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Whirl-Carrillo is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Biomedical Data Science and the Associate Director of the PharmGKB. She joined the team in 2002 after finishing her doctoral work, briefly left to develop and manage the curation team at the DTC genotyping start-up 23andMe, and returned to the PharmGKB in 2009. Her research interests include the translation of human genome sequencing data to pharmacogenomic-based therapeutic recommendations. Michelle received her PhD in Biophysics from Stanford University and her SB in Biology from MIT.

Li Gong

Scientific Data Curator

Li is a Scientific Curator in the Department of Biomedical Data Science. She joined PharmGKB in 2007. Prior to this, Li worked as a senior scientist at Iconix Biosciences Inc., working on microarray data analysis, biomarker discovery and curation for the development of DrugMatrixR toxicogenomics database. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from Tufts University School of Medicine, and a BS in Microbiology from Beijing University, P.R. China.

Rachel Huddart, PhD

Scientific Curator

Rachel joined PharmGKB as a Scientific Curator in August 2017. She has a PhD in Genetic Engineering and a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences, both from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Rachel also has a background in science communication and public engagement and, prior to joining the PharmGKB team, was the Public Engagement Assistant at The Roslin Institute in Scotland.

Tiffany Murray

Administrative Services Administrator

Tiffany coordinates the activities for the the PharmGKB co-PIs and Associate Director and is responsible for communications involving consortia, data licensing, and content use. She has a BA from the University of California at San Diego.

Cindy Paulazzo

Administrative Associate

Ms. Paulazzo is the PharmGKB Consortia Coordinator. She assists the PharmGKB Outreach Coordinator with managing consortia relationships and activities.

Jill Robinson

Web Developer

Jill is a Web Developer in the Department of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford, and joined PharmGKB in 2017. She holds a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Newcastle University, UK, where her research focused on gene expression and biofilm growth in an oral commensal bacterium. In addition to her PhD, she also holds an MRes in Molecular Microbiology and a BSc in Medical Microbiology and Immunology, both also from Newcastle University.

Katrin Sangkuhl

Scientific Data Curator

Katrin is a Scientific Curator in the Department of Biomedical Data Science and has been working for the Pharmacogenomics Knowledgebase (PharmGKB) since 2008. Before joining the PharmGKB team, Katrin was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Reproductive Biology & Program for Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University. She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University Leipzig, Germany working in the field of GPCRs and signal transduction.

Ryan Whaley

Software Developer

Ryan is a software developer in the Department of Biomedical Data Science and a co-technical lead of the PharmGKB. He is a Java developer with a background in database administration and project management and has been with the PharmGKB since 2007. Ryan received his BS in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Iowa and then went on to become the database administrator and senior software developer for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Mark Woon

Software Developer

Mark is a software developer in the Department of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford and the co-technical lead at PharmGKB. He has been with PharmGKB since 2001. He received his BSE in computer science from Princeton University. Prior to working on the PharmGKB project, Mark worked for Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications.

Research Informatics (RIC)

Sabrina Davies

Administrative Coordinator

Sabrina Davies first joined the Stanford community in 2015 as an Administrative Associate in the Division of Oncology. In May 2018, she joined the Department of Biomedical Data as an Administrative Coordinator for the Data Coordinating Center and the Research Informatics Center. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sabrina holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Anna Graber-Naidich, PhD

Research Data Scientist

Anna is a research data analyst for the Research Informatics Center. Prior to joining Stanford, Anna obtained her PhD in healthcare operations research from the University of Toronto, focusing on Canadian primary care services. She also has a MSc in bio-statistics, developing survival analysis estimation techniques for correlated and missing data from breast cancer patients. Anna worked as a Health Economics and Outcomes Research consultant for IQVIA, and also a project manager at Clalit Health Services, where she was responsible for a wide range of process improvement initiatives to drive efficient delivery of healthcare and improve the patient experience. Her current research interests are bioinformatics, biostatics and biomedical data analysis.

Eileen Kiamanesh

Research Data Analyst

Eileen is a Research Data Analyst coming from Stanford Cancer Institute to join the Research Informatics Center. She has a MS from SJSU, BS Mathematics and Economics from Univ. of Utah, and years of database and application work in industry. She has developed and integrated applications to establish efficient data flow for Clinical Trials and Research programs. Eileen looks to build on her knowledge of Epic, OnCore, STARR and other Stanford research applications. 

Yelena Nazarenko

Research Data Analyst

Yelena Nazarenko is a Manager of the Consultation Service group providing technical expertise and concierge-style service to researchers seeking assistance with informatics. She combines 20 years of software development experience with passion for biomedical data and advancement of medical research. Her research interests are in Bioinformatics, Genomics, Statistics, and Biomedicine.

Rubin Group

Mete Ugur Akdogan, Ph.D.

Scientific Research Developer

Mete received his B.Sc. from Istanbul Technical University, M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey. His main research subjects are high performance computing, big data analytics and parallel algorithms. He worked as a Research Assistant at Dokuz Eylul University where he instructed and assisted several courses, such as Parallel Programming, Operating Systems, Data Organization & Management and Data Structures. He also contributed to and supervised several research projects prior to joining Laboratory of Quantitative Imaging at Stanford University School of Medicine in June 2018.

Emel Alkim

Software Developer, Research

Emel joined Stanford University School of Medicine as a Software Developer in March 2016. Since joining, she has been working on the ePad project (, focusing on back end services, annotation library and plug-in architecture design. She received her B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey. Her main research area includes natural language processing and machine translation. Prior to joining Stanford, she worked as a Research Assistant at Dokuz Eylul University during which she assisted several courses, such as Data Structures and Algorithms and Concepts of Programming Languages. She also designed, implemented and supervised various projects like a student information system and automatic board report writer.

Cavit Altindag

QA Developer

Cavit joined Rubin group in 2014 as a QA Developer. Since, he has been working on developing and executing exploratory and automated tests to ensure Epad web application's quality. Prior to joining Rubin Group, Cavit worked as a backend web developer. He received his associate degree in computer programming from 9 Eylul University Turkey and he works on his bachelor degree in computer science at San Francisco State University.

David Cohn

Data Curator

David is a data curator and a data scientist in the Rubin lab. David received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Stanford University in 2015, and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford in 2017. His projects involve applying machine learning and data mining to histopathology image data, as well as data derived from an Interventional Radiology database.

Tian Group

Janet Hwang

Data Manager

Janet joined Stanford University's School of Medicine as a DBA in July 2017. She is currently working on developing an ADRC Database for submitting data to NACC.  She completed her M.S. in the Computer Science department at the University of Houston, Texas, and her B.S. in the Mathematics Department at Tamkang University, Taiwan. Her past experience includes working with Database Management System and Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. html, css, Javascripts, PHP, MySQL) for many startup companies in San Jose, CA. 

Zou Group

Allen Nie

Research Engineer

Allen is a research engineer and a machine learning researcher in the Zou lab. His past projects involve interpreting black-box machine learning methods, using information theory to improve existing models, and using semantics theories to attack learning systems. He currently works on developing new machine learning models to assist the ClinGen project.