people

Autworks People

The Wall Lab Team

Biographies

Dennis P. Wall

Dennis P. Wall

Dr. Wall is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Computational Biology Initiative at Harvard Medical School, where his lab is developing novel approaches in systems biology to decipher the molecular pathology of autism spectrum disorder and related neurological disease. Dr. Wall received his doctorate in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he pioneered the use of fast evolving gene sequences to trace population-scale diversification across islands. Then, with a postdoctoral fellowship award from the National Science Foundation, he went on to Stanford University to address broader questions in systems biology and computational genomics, work that resulted in comprehensive functional models for both protein mutation and protein interaction.

Since joining the faculty at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School in 2006, he has been translating systems biology thinking to the field of autism research with the intent to develop effective early-stage diagnostics and targets for therapeutic intervention. Dr. Wall has acted as science advisor to several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, has developed cutting-edge approaches to cloud computing, and has received numerous awards, including an NSF postdoctoral fellowship, the Fred R. Cagle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biology, the Vice Chancellor's Award for Research, three awards for excellence in teaching, and the Harvard Medical School Leadership award.

Tristan Nelson

Mike Banos
Lead Developer

Tristan Nelson joined the Wall lab in September 2010 after a stint with the Research Information Technology group at Harvard Medical School. He received his degree in computer science from Boston College in 2004.

In his free time, Tristan enjoys the great outdoors (skiing and hiking) as well as the great indoors (reading, writing, and just a little bit of computer gaming.)

Olivia D’Angelo

Olivia D’Angelo
Reseach Assistant

Olivia D’Angelo joined the lab in June 2011 as a co-op student. She is currently a junior at Northeastern University studying physics and philosophy.

Todd DeLuca

Todd Deluca
Senior Software Engineer

Todd DeLuca joined the Wall Laboratory in August 2004 as a Biological Software Engineer. Before coming to Harvard, Mr. DeLuca attained his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Brown University and then worked in natural language processing research and web application software engineering. At Harvard, Mr. DeLuca develops bioinformatics tools, including the Roundup Orthology Database, manages bioinformatics databases, and analyzes transcriptional data as part of the lab's network scale analysis of complex multigenic disorders. Mr. DeLuca's outside interests include hiking long-distance trails, like the Appalachian Trail, and studying the dynamics of adaptive competitive systems. His personal web site is todddeluca.com.

Jae-Yoon Jung

Jae Yoon Jung
Research Associate

Jae-Yoon Jung joined the lab in October 2009. His current work involves finalizing the Autworks project and developing new methodologies for finding plausible assocations between candidate genes and mental disorders.

He received his doctoral degree in computer science from University of Maryland, College Park. After graduation, he joined at the biomedical research lab (school of computing) and the laboratory of integrative motor behavior (the Centre for Neuroscience Studies) at Queen's University, where he did his postdoctoral training in analyzing stroke (CVA) data. He is interested in applying machine-learning and data-mining algorithms to the various types and stages of problems in biomedical informatics.

Jack Kosmicki

Jack Kosmicki
Reseach Assistant

Jack Kosmicki joined the lab in June 2010 through the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) program. He is currently a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics and Biology.

James Maniscalco

James Maniscalco
Reseach Assistant

James Maniscalco joined the lab in June 2011 as a co-op student. He is currently a junior at Northeastern University studying physics.

Francisco ‘Paco’ Esteban Ruiz

Dr. Paco!!!
Advisor

Paco, as he is known by his colleagues and friends, joined the Computational Biology Initiative in March, 2007, as a visiting researcher with financial support from Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian Regional Government in Spain). He will return to the Wall Lab in 2010 for further collaboration.

Paco has taught Cellular and Molecular Biology and Histology at the University of Jaén (Spain) since 1995, and has been Assistant Professor in Cellular Biology at the same university since 2002. He has a Ph.D. in Biology and a Master in Neurosciences and Behavioral Biology, and has published more than 50 papers in fields including molecular biology of DNA replication, mechanisms of oxidative stress in plants, cellular and molecular biology and histology of the central and peripheral nervous system -- including aging and neurodegeneration.

He is now mainly interested in applied biomathematics and computational biology and has applied fractal dimension calculations to detect changes in normal-appearing white matter in multiple sclerosis. Presently, he is collaborating with different groups modeling biological processes such as plant-soil relationships, vital cycles of parasite/host in wild goats, dynamics of DNA transcription bubbles, system dynamics of tumor/immune evasion, systems biology of endometrial receptivity and blastocyst implantation, and molecular networks of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. At the Wall Lab, Paco is contributing his background in biology and collaborating on analyzing molecular networks of autism and related neurodegenerative diseases. His lab website can be found here:http://biosystems.ujaen.es.

Kristian St.Gabriel

Kris!
Creative Director

Kris received his BA (Hons) from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, in 1997. He became part of the Australian Diaspora and traveled for years before settling in the United States. He joined Harvard Medical School's Department of Information Technology in July 2005, and was recruited by the Center for Biomedical Informatics in December 2007. In Dr. Wall's lab Kristian worked as a bioinformaticist on Roundup. He a front-end web development specialist and is currently overhauling the graphical design of various Wall Lab websites, including Autworks, Roundup and the Wall Lab site. Beyond the technical, his intellectual interests include evolutionary biology and autism. In his free time he is a digital illustrator, artist and writer.

Peter Tonellato

Peter Tonellato
Co-investigator

Peter Tonellato joined the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMI) after completing a stint as CEO of POINTONE Systems, the personalized medicine software company he founded in 2001. Previously, Dr. Tonellato was Founding Director (1997-2004) of the Bioinformatics Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. At CBMI, Dr. Tonellato created the Laboratory for Personalized Medicine to focus on research, development, and commercial translation of clinical, physiological, and genetic knowledge to benefit health care. Dr. Tonellato has worked in the area of biomathematics, computational biology, and biomedical informatics since completing his degree in applied mathematics at the University of Arizona in 1985.

Scientific Advisory Board

Dan Geschwind, MD, PhD

Dan Geschwind
Dr. Dan Geschwind is the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Neurogenetics Program and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA, home to one of 8 NIH designated Autism Centers of Excellence.

Dr. Geschwind obtained an A.B. degree in chemistry and psychiatry at Dartmouth College; and his M.D. and Ph.D. (neurobiology, mentor Susan Hockfield) degrees at Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his neurology residency at UCLA in 1995, where he has remained following training, joining the faculty in 1997.

Dr. Geschwind¹s laboratory works primarily within the field of functional genomics and its application to basic problems in neuroscience and diseases affecting human cognition, including developmental and neurodegenerative disease. He has put considerable effort into fostering large-scale collaborative patient resources for genetic research including the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), the largest collection of multiplex autism families in the world. He provides editorial service for several journals, including acting as a Deputy Editor for Biological Psychiatry. He sits on numerous scientific advisory boards, including the March of Dimes, Autism Speaks, the Faculty of 1000 Medicine, and the NIH council. He has published over 150 papers and received the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association in 2004 and the Scientific Service Award from Autism Speaks in 2007.

Kenneth S. Kosik, MD

Ken Kosik
Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research, MCDB. Co-Director, Neuroscience Research Institute

Dr. Kosik received his M.D. degree in 1976 from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed a neurology residency from Tufts New England Medical Center where he served as chief resident in 1979. From 1980 until 2005 he held various appointments at the Harvard Medical School where he became Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience in 1996. In the fall of 2004 he assumed the co-directorship of the Neuroscience Research Institute and the Harriman Chair in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research interests center on nervous system development, plasticity, and degeneration. He has made contributions to understanding the pathobiology of the Alzheimer neurofibrillary tangles, the control local translation at synapses, and the role of microRNAs in the nervous system. He received a Whitaker Health Sciences Award from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Metropolitan Life Foundation Medical Award, the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association, the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer's Association, the Ranwell Caputo Medal from the Argentine Society of Neurochemistry, and a NASA Group Achievement Award to the Neurolab Science Team.

Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD

Mustafa Sahin
Director, Multi-disciplinary Tuberous Sclerosis Program, Children's Hospital Boston. Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Sahin graduated from Brown University and received his MD and PhD in neurobiology from the Yale University School of Medicine (mentor Susan Hockfield) in 1995. He completed his residency in Pediatric Neurology and postdoctoral research training in Developmental Neurobiology at Children’s Hospital Boston (mentor Mike Greenberg). Dr. Sahin’s research focuses on tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a puzzling genetic disease that causes the formation of benign tumors in virtually every organ system. Combining his experience as a practicing child neurologist with his training in neurobiology, Dr. Sahin established and directs Children’s Hospital Multidisciplinary Tuberous Sclerosis Program. He investigates the development of TSC and its common complications of epilepsy and autism.

Dr. Sahin’s research on axonal connections has improved our understanding of neuronal function by demonstrating how TSC brains are “miswired.” His work offers key insights that suggest an entirely new treatment approach to epilepsy and autism. His studies also shed light on nerve dysfunction in spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of infant death in the United States, for which there is currently no treatment. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Sahin has received numerous awards, including a William Randolph Hearst Fund Award, a Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation Young Investigator Award, Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society and John Merck Scholars Award.

Isaac S. Kohane MD, PhD

Zak Kohane
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School Henderson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology Director, Children's Hospital Informatics Program Co-director, HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics

Isaac (Zak) Kohane is the director of the Children's Hospital Informatics Program and is the Henderson Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He is also co-director of the HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics and Director of the HMS Countway Library of Medicine. Dr. Kohane leads multiple collaborations at Harvard Medical School and its hospital affiliates in the use of genomics and computer science to study cancer and the development of the brain (with emphasis on autism). He has developed several computer systems to allow multiple hospital systems to be used as "living laboratories" to study the genetic basis of disease while preserving patient privacy. Dr. Kohane's research builds on his doctoral work in computer science on decision-support and subsequent research in machine-learning applied to biomedicine. Dr. Kohane has led the development of cryptographic health identification systems, automated personal health records and peer-to-peer pathology information networks. Dr. Kohane leads several NIH-funded efforts to translate genomic research into clinical practice and continues his own practice in pediatric endocrinology at Children's Hospital Boston.

Glenn Saxe, MD

Glenn Saxe
Chair and Clinical Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Director, NYU Child Study Center

Glenn Saxe, M.D. is chair and clinical professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and director of the NYU Child Study Center. Dr. Saxe is a physician scientist with a focus on the psychiatric consequences of traumatic events on children.

Dr. Saxe joined the NYU Child Study Center in October 2010 from Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School where he was the director of the Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience and the director of the Mental Health Informatics Laboratory and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Previously, he was chairman of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Boston University Medical Center.

Dr. Saxe and his team have published some of the first research on the biobehavioral processes controlling traumatic stress in injured children. This line of research, funded over many years by the National Institute of Mental Health, has relevance both for the identification of risk factors for traumatic stress in acutely traumatized children and also for the development of secondary preventative agents. Dr. Saxe's work in this area has moved into the fields of bioinformatics and Network Science and he currently is principal investigator on an NIMH grant to adapt these powerful methodologies for research on traumatic stress. Dr. Saxe and his team have developed Trauma Systems Therapy (TST), a community-based intervention for traumatized children. The manual of TST was published in book form by Guilford Press in 2006. TST is now used in programs related to medical trauma, refugee trauma, child welfare, substance abuse, and residential care across the United States.

Dr. Saxe studied medicine at McMaster University Medical School in Hamilton, Ontario. He completed a residency in adult psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts Mental Health Center and two post-residency fellowships; a PTSD Fellowship at Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Harvard Medical School/The Cambridge Hospital.