Scientific Team

Ian Toma
Associate Investigator

Dr. Ian Toma's medical career comprises a decade of ER and clinical toxicology practice prior to moving to the US in 1995. Since that time, he concentrated his efforts on acquiring the knowledge and skills in the regulatory and scientific processes of new healthcare products development. Currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The George Washington University, he is also enrolled in the PhD program in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He currently studies the genomic aspects of aging and cardiovascular pathologies, including the application of transcriptome deep sequencing to diagnostics and molecular mechanisms of disease.

Zhaoqing Yang
Senior Research Coordinator

Dr. Zhaoqing Yang began his career as a Ph.D. as research fellow in the Chinese Human Genome Project in 1995, in the Department of Medical Genetics, Institute of medical biology, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Kunming & Beijing, P. R. China, where he stayed until 2001. Afterward, he was granted a position as a research fellow in the Department of Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, and University of Birmingham. From 2005 to 2009 Dr. Yang occupied a position as a research assistant professor & faculty at the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He is an Assistant Professor in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Presently he is the Deep Sequencing Team Leader at SLI.

Jianhua Zhou, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator

Jianhua Zhou earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 after his Bachelors in Biochemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. He recently earned his M.B.A. in Health Science Management at Boston University. He has been a Research Associate for Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School identifying the molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease, a Scientist for the New England Medical Center, Tufts Medical School, potentially targeting compounds to treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and an assistant and then associate professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School where he conducted research projects related to neurodegenerative diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. He is an energetic and creative Scientist and Biomedical Manager who has contributed to numerous publications. He currently holds a position as a professor at Nantong University, China.

Dr. Natarajan Ganesan, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Senior Investigator

Dr. Natarajan Ganesan is a research scientist and an expert consultant providing expertise in Biotech, Bioinformatics and Life Science research. He has led teams that developed and implemented some critically acclaimed web based research interfaces for researchers, and has a patent pending on one these concepts. Dr. Natarajan has worked with scientists and investigators across Academia, Pharma and Biotech. As a scientist, he has more than 18 years of experience in life science research and is well published. His earlier work has revolved around cancer research, therapeutics, and is currently specializing in bioinformatics, genomics and personalized medicine. He has also co-authored award-winning business strategies and provided market analysis reports for Govt healthcare (NIH) and companies as far away as Diebold (China) and Acibadem (Turkey). Natarajan is currently based in Arlington, VA; holds a doctorate in Biochemistry-Genetics from the University of Madras and an MBA from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. He enjoys music theory and current affairs.

Karthikeyen Natarajan, M.D.
Senior Investigator

Dr. N.P. Karthikeyen is an Otorhinolaryngologist. His passion is to identify therapeutically useful herbs and compounds of traditional Indian Medicine. He performs bio-technological analysis of herbs and compounds of ancient Indian medicine, to identify useful molecules for immunology, oncology and regeneration. Encouraged by a decade of in-depth study of the potentials of traditional medical systems, he established DOAST Integrated Therapy for autism. D.O.A.S.T. stands for Doctrine Oriented Art of Symbiotic Treatment. The center of excellence for the practice & research of integrated therapy is named as DOAST to convey the message of friendliness or togetherness. As a non- profit venture DOAST Trust is striving to create a self-supported future for every special child with Autism through treatment to improve their behavior and cognition.

Dr. Krishna Banaudha, Ph.D., D.P.A., F.M.R.F.
Senior Scientist

Dr. Krishna Banaudha earned a Ph.D. in Zoology, Pharmacology in 1994 from the University of Lucknow, India where he also received his Master of Science in Zoology in 1983 and his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology, Chemistry and Botany in 1975. He has also earned a Post Graduate Diploma there in Public Administration in 1977 in International Law, Public Administration and Constitutional Law, Business Administration, and Management as well as a D.F.L. in German in 1983. He earned a Fellow of Medical Research Fellowship in 2002 from Walter Reed Army Research Institute, USA. Since 2006, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Prosix Softron Pvt. Ltd., Informatics and Bioinformatics Technology, for export, and since 2004 a Faculty Research Scientist at the George Washington University's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Krishna is a broadly trained scientist, and an experienced medical researcher with expertise in pharmacological/analytical methods, cell biology, biochemistry, toxicology, virology and molecular biology, including neuropharmacology

Olga Saik
Bioinformatics Analyst

Olga Saik received her M.S. degree in Biology in 2010 from Novosibirsk State University, Russia. She is currently a PhD student specialized in bioinformatics at Institute of Cytology and Genetics SB RAS, The Laboratory of Computer Proteomics. In 2012 she got an internship in Bioinformatics at Bielefeld University, Germany. She works on bioinformatics analysis for SLI in Novosibirsk since 2011.

Maxim Ri
Bioinformatics Analyst

Maxim Ri received a M.S. in Bioinformatics in 2008 in Novosibirsk State University, Russia. In 2012 he finished DAAD students program at "Institute fur Pharmazie und MoleculareBiotechnologie", Heidelberg, Germany.His interests include gene network reconstruction,promoter analysis,mathematical modeling of dynamical systems of metabolismEscherichia coli and Digital Gene Expression analysis in NGS data. He has skills in PCR, electrophoresis, DNA preparation and sequencing, HLPC, enzymatic assay. Since 2012 he works on bioinformatics analysis for SLI in Novosibirsk.

Yuri Viatkin
Bioinformatics Analyst

Yuri Vyatkin received his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science in 2004 and 2006 respectively. He began to work at SLI in Novosibirsk in 2009 and is currently working on the DGE analysis for various projects, novel splice site search and computational environment maintenance. His interests include large scale biomedical data analysis, computational biology of diseases treatment, high performance computing, and NGS platforms.

Denis Antonets
Bioinformatics Analyst

Denis Antonets graduated from Novosibirsk State University (Russia) in 2003 with a Master's degree in Molecular Biology, and most recently, his doctorate in March of 2013. He has broad scientific interests ranging from structural biology and molecular modeling to statistical analysis, machine learning and immunoinformatics (T-cell epitope prediction, rational design of polyepitope antigens). Denis is fluent in Python programming language and is an expert in R. Since 2004 he is affiliated with the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology "Vector" (Russia) as a Research Fellow of the Theoretical Department. Since 2011 he leads analytical department for SLI in Novosibirsk.

Dmitry Shtokalo
Bioinformatics Project Manager

Dmitry Shtokalo is an expert mathematician and holds a M.S. in mathematics (Novosibirsk State University, Russia, 2006). Although he is also an economist he has dedicated more time on working in bioinformatics, systems biology, math modeling and programming. He also participated in a microarray analysis at Harvard School of Public Health, USA in 2006 and then a microarray analysis at BIOBASE GmBH in Germany in 2008. In 2008 he participated on a non-coding RNA research project at George Washington University. Нe is the Bioinformatics team leader for SLI in Novosibirsk, Russia since 2007.

Jaryn Finch
SLI/Helicos Research Investigator

Jaryn Finch completed her undergraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences with a focus on developmental genetic neurobiology and a minor in organic chemistry and psycholinguistics. She has worked for Living Proof Lab and Inner Scope Research before joining SLI, giving her a broad scientific background with widely varying interests, from wound healing assays to protein purification techniques. Her current interests are in perfecting, expanding and developing deep genomic sequencing techniques and protocols.

Michael Tackett
SLI/Helicos Research Investigator

Michael Tackett completed his M.S. in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His graduate research in the lab of Dr. Andrew Chess helped elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which gene regulation machinery distinguishes between the maternal and paternal alleles of certain genes that are independently and randomly regulated at the cellular level. Tackett interests include how immunological and neuronal cell types increase functional diversity to improve immune recognition and neuronal function. Tackett completed his B.S. in Biology and B. A. in Computer Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo. While there he researched nuclear structure in mammalian cells in the lab of Dr. Ronald Berezney.

Tim McCaffrey
Senior Investigator

Timothy A. McCaffrey, Ph.D. received his B.A. from St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX, and his Master’s and Doctorate from Purdue University. He founded the Genomics Core Facility at Weill/Cornell Medical School. In 2001, he relocated his laboratory to The George Washington University Medical Center where he founded the Genomics Core Facility. He was recently awarded a prestigious MERIT Award from the NIH for his work on vascular aging. He recently finished his tenure as the Chair of the Biology of Aging Study Section for the National Institutes on Aging (NIA). In 2004, he was named Director of The Catherine Birch McCormick Genomics Center at GWU and Vice-Chair of The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. McCaffrey's research is focused on the molecular defects in the cells that compose the atherosclerotic lesion. His current work employs genomics to identity candidate systems for drug interventions, and novel biomarkers of atherosclerosis for diagnostics. He has ongoing projects in the adult stem cell therapy for myocardial infarction.

Georges St. Laurent, III (1960-2015)
Scientific Director

‍Georges St. Laurent, III graduated from Phillips Andover in 1978, and Yale in 1982 accomplishing multiple PhD in 2015. In Molecular Biology and Neuroscience he has published over 38 research papers, including mechanisms of interferon antiviral action in CELL, and non coding RNA mechanisms in Alzheimer's disease, which became the top publication on Nature Medicine's "Top Ten" list for 2008. For over 15 years, St. Laurent has researched the herbal and alternative medicine of the Amazon region, with a focus on understanding the molecular pathways of these medical therapies. His research focuses on the Systems Biology of Inflammation, and the computational mechanisms of non-coding RNA in the mammalian nervous system. In 2009, Georges began working on his doctoral studies at two universities simultaneously and completed his thesis with excellent reviews. In 2015 Georges received his Doctorates in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Brown University and in Biomedical Sciences from University of Antioquia in Colombia.

Philipp Kapranov
Director of Genomics Research

Philipp Kapranov got his Ph.D. in 2000 in Genetics from Michigan State University. In the past decade he has been primarily involved in the unbiased mapping of transcribed regions in the human genome and elements that regulate transcription of annotated and un-annotated RNAs. This resulted in the discovery of an un-expectedly complex transcriptional activity of the human genome encompassing several new classes of RNA as well as a highly complex, overlapping organization of functional elements in the genome. These discoveries have significantly impacted our understanding of the genomic organization and architecture, while redefining the importance of the so called “junk DNA” and, on a conceptual level, the definition of “gene”. This discovery has been chosen as one of the 10 top of the last decade: His primary research interests include systems biology and genomics in the context of gene expression and discovery of new RNA species (both protein-coding and non-coding) and their functions.

Claes Wahlstedt
Senior Investigator

Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized researcher of drug therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders and epigenetics, is the director of the Center for Therapeutic Innovation and associate dean for therapeutic innovations. Wahlestedt has a long-standing interest in non-protein-coding RNA (epigenetics) and pioneered various uses of antisense RNA, siRNA and small molecules that target RNA. He also spent more than a decade directing drug discovery or genomics efforts in the pharmaceutical industry for Astra-Zeneca, Pharmacia & Upjohn, and Pharmacia Corporation. Wahlestedt is a founding member and professor of neuroscience and molecular therapeutics at the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, was also a founding director of the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics and a department chair at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. At Scripps Florida, he co-founded CURNA, a spin-off company based on his patent for exploiting a cell’s ability to make therapeutic RNAs, a discovery that holds promise for potential treatments for such diseases as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Wahlestedt was also an assistant professor in the Division of Neurobiology, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, at Cornell University Medical College in New York, and was subsequently adjunct professor of biochemistry, and pharmacology and therapeutics at McGill University in Montreal.