Department Administration

Monica James

Research Manager

Since 2007, Monica has worked with increasing responsibility on research administration in Stanford’s Psychiatry, Genetics and Pediatrics Departments. She holds an AAS in Accounting and is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She joined the Department of Biomedical Data Science in March 2016. As Research Manager, she works closely with DBDS’s PI’s, staff members, RMG and OSR.

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. 

Maria Nichols

Research Administrator

A native of Hawaii, Maria Nichols received her Master in Business Administration degree in Finance from Hawaii Pacific University in 2004. In 2015, she joined the School of  Medicine's Research Management Group (RMG) as an Associate. In this role, she was responsible for a distinct portion of the pre- and post-award grant and contract administrations activities. She worked closely with an assigned set of Research Process Managers (RPM) to support the sponsored projects research administration process from beginning to end.

Maria's move to the Department of Biomedical Data Science brings this research administration experience to us locally and allows her to pursue expertise in the post-award financial management. In her spare time, Maria seeks adventure in the outdoors and hikes California’s beautiful trails. She also enjoys a good happy hour with friends, the sounds of great music playlists, and spending time with family.

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. 

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.

Steven Bagley

Executive Director of Biomedical Informatics Training Program and Senior Research Engineer

Dr. Bagley joined Stanford in 2012. He splits his time between managing the BMI graduate program and conducting research with Russ Altman in Bioengineering. He holds a BSE (Systems Science and Engineering) from the University of Pennsylvania, an MS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) from MIT, and an MD from the University of California, San Diego. He has been a Member of the Research Staff at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and also a staff psychiatrist for Los Angeles County and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles and Palo Alto.

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

Laurel started working at Stanford in 2013 as a biostatistician in Chiara Sabatti's group. She has worked primarily on developing statistical methods to illuminate the relationship between genotype and phenotype, and she has also collaborated with Stanford Health Care physicians researching disease biomarkers and biological pathways. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University in 1993. She worked in several fields, including air traffic management and submarine tracking, applying a wide variety of mathematical techniques and computer languages to data analysis and modeling.  Eventually, she decided to become more rigorous in these pursuits and received an M.S. in Statistics from Stanford University in 2014.


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

Selina Dwight

Senior Biocuration Scientist

Selina holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She pursued her postdoctoral work with Dr. David Botstein, and, in 1993, joined his efforts to build the Saccharomyces Genome Database, working as a Senior Scientific Curator. In October 2014, Selina became a Senior Biocuration Scientist with the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen), a nationwide consortium whose mission it is to curate clinically relevant genes and variants. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Grace Science Foundation, whose mission it is to cure NGLY1 Deficiency.  

Chris Thomas

Software Developer

Chris is a DevOp engineer with extensive experience with Linux systems, working primarily with back end design. As part of the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) initiative, he works with the biocurators on the development and design of ClinGen systems. Before joining Stanford's ClinGen team in May 2016, he was a DevOp for Tata Communications, building datacenters in multiple countries for mobile telecommunications.

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.

Jimmy Zhen

Software Developer

Jimmy is a full stack software programmer with extensive experience in UI design and frontend development. As part of the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) initiative, he works with the biocurators on the design and development of the software interfaces for curating clinically relevant genes and variants. Prior to joining the ClinGen team at Stanford University in January 2016, he was a software developer at HighWire Press, a digital scholarly journal publishing platform that was founded by Stanford University Libraries and later became an independent company.

Klein Group

Maria Alvarellos

Scientific Data Curator

Prior to becoming a Scientific Curator with PharmGKB in 2014, Maria worked as a science curriculum developer at UC Berkeley with the Lawrence Hall of Science. She received an MS in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan, a BS in Conservation and Organismal Biology, and a BA in Anthropology from San José State University.

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)

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.

Gomathi Krishnan, PhD

Clinical and Translational Research Informatics Specialist

Gomathi Krishnan is a Clinical and Translational Research Informatics Specialist for the Research Informatics Center. She joined Stanford in early 2008 from the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Unit where she was a CRA. She previously conducted research on single-fiber muscle cell physiology in aging patients at Harvard Medical School.

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

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.

Sheryl John

Software Developer

Sheryl John received her B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India, and her M.S degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. She worked as a Software Engineer at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where she developed data processing workflows using the Hadoop stack to build clinical decision support systems. She has also designed responsive web applications, using JavaScript frameworks like React.js and Backbone.js, to serve as a user interface to retrieve data from Electronic Health Records. She joined Dr. Rubin’s Quantitative Imaging Laboratory at Stanford in May 2016, and is developing the front-end architecture and user interface design for the ePAD project ( She also leads the user interface design and development for the QIFP web application ( Her interests and experience include big-data processing, machine learning, image processing and visualization of medical data to meet the challenges of clinical research.

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.