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Welcome to New BIDS Faculty, Fellows & More

October 02, 2023

Hyunghoon "Hoon" Cho

Assistant Professor

After completing his BS/MS in Computer Science at Stanford, and his PhD in Computer Science at MIT, Hoon Cho joins BIDS as an Assistant Professor with a research interest in computational biology. In his research, Hoon focuses on designing new algorithms to address a variety of computational challenges introduced by the complex, large-scale, and private nature of genomic and health-related data. Hoon is grateful for the opportunity to join BIDS, describing the section as an excellent environment for advancing his research and teaching. "Though it's only been a few weeks, I've been appreciating the sense of excitement in the community in this new section," Hoon says. He is also enjoying interactions with colleagues who work with hospitals and patients. Though he is originally from Seoul, South Korea, Hoon is also enjoying the process of getting to know New Haven. "At the summit of East Rock, I was captivated by the abundant greenery of New Haven," he says. "Perhaps I'm just now realizing the origin of New Haven's nickname: the 'Elm City'." At home, Hoon does not have pets—but he thinks of his live kefir grains as pets, sometimes.

Annie Hartley

Assistant Professor

Mary-Anne "Annie" Hartley is a biomedical data scientist and physician. She joins BIDS as an Assistant Professor focusing on digital global health and will start a dedicated research group called LiGHT (Laboratory for intelligent Global Health Technologies). This is a continuation of her previous work at EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), where her group used informatics and data science to create implementable digital health tools to improve healthcare in resource-limited and humanitarian response settings. Her focus of collecting high-quality data on neglected populations and health concerns is designed to improve digital health equity, and her lab works with collaborators across Sub-Sarahan Africa and several international NGOs to ensure needs-based, implementable technology and fair data ownership. Outside of her research, Annie regularly volunteers as a medical doctor in a rural hospital in her home country of South Africa, and may be spotted around New Haven with her two former street dogs, Barnacle and Grunt, attempting (and failing) to teach them squirrel etiquette.

Kevin Jin

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Kevin graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and comes to BIDS after spending time in Dallas, Maryland and Beijing. As a first-year PhD student, he has a strong interest in the intersection of computational psychiatry and wearable devices. He’s also interested in clinical NLP and large language models. Kevin is hoping to enter industry and is excited to learn skills that he can use to flourish. “Yale’s resources are unparalleled,” Kevin says. “BIDS feels vibrant and exciting, and everyone has been outgoing, friendly, and accomodating. I’m confident I made the right decision.” After moving here from Dallas, Kevin is greatly enjoying New Haven’s walkability: “This is so much better!”‎

Lucy Zheng

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

After receiving her bachelor's degree in Bioinformatics at UC Santa Cruz, Lucy joins us from sunny California! As a new PhD student, she will be conducting research with labs at BIDS during her first year rotation. After coming to Yale because of the supportive environment and research opportunities, Lucy plans to use computational methods to enhance genetic and biomedical research. "My experience at BIDS has allowed me to see the most recent research involving AI and machine learning in healthcare," she says. When she's not working on her coursework, Lucy is excited to explore the museums in New Haven, especially the Yale University Art Gallery.

Yuntian Liu

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Yuntian joins Yale as a first-year PhD Student after obtaining an undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master’s degree in Biostatistics. Originally from Guangzhou in China, Yuntian came to Yale with research interests in electronic health records (EHRs) and natural language processing (NLP). Yuntian is enjoying his time at Yale so far. “I appreciate that Yale evaluates students holistically, considering the whole person,” he says. “The faculty and seniors here are super nice, and the new building is amazing.” Yuntian’s favorite parts of campus are the many Yale libraries.

Leona Wang

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Leona was born in Shanghai, China. After completing her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree at Shanghai Jiaotong University, she discovered her passion for biomedical data science. She further honed her skills in biostatistics while completing her master's degree at Yale School of Public Health. Throughout her studies, she collaborated with biostatisticians and clinicians to analyze electronic health records (EHR) and design clinical trials. As she embarks on her PhD studies, she plans to continue her focus on methodology and analysis research on EHR. When not studying, Leona loves to paint and hang out with friends.

Huan He

Research Scientist

Originally from Xi’an, a city situated in western China, Huan holds a Ph.D. in computer science and an M.S. in software engineering. He was led to join Yale by the opportunity to engage in profound clinical research through collaborative efforts with medical professionals, clinicians, and experts from diverse disciplines. “I believe that interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to tackling complex challenges effectively,” Huan says. Working at BIDS, Huan’s research interest focuses on applying data visualization, visual analytics and machine learning techniques to address real world clinical challenges—encompassing a wide spectrum of interests and skills. Everything has been great so far. “I particularly enjoy the captivating beach view from the window,” he adds, noting that he’s been exploring the forests, parks and beaches around New Haven. If Huan were a technology, he would like to be an operating system—a “vital bridge between various applications and computer hardware.”‎

Qingyu Chen

Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Qingyu Chen joins Yale from the NIH, where he was a research fellow in biomedical informatics after earning his Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics at the University of Melbourne. His research largely focuses on biomedical text mining and natural language processing, medical image analysis, and AI-assisted healthcare applications. Dr. Chen is notably the (co-)first author of popular tools such as LitCovid, litSuggest, and LitSense, which have been accessed by missions of biomedical researchers and healthcare professionals around the world. At Biomedical Informatics & Data Science, he is the PI of the K99 grant and is actively recruiting members of his team. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

Fongci Lin

Associate Research Scientist

Fongci Lin hails from Taiwan, where he graduated from the Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics at National Taiwan University. As an Associate Research Scientist, Fongci's main areas of interest are machine learning and natural language processing. "I came to Yale because it's the ideal environment for developing large language models," Fongci says. "I'm honored to join the section and excited to embark on a new NLP journey here." So far, Fongci feels that his experience at Yale has been "fantastic": BIDS brings together "experts and scholars from various fields, including healthcare and data science, creating a diverse environment for exchange and learning!" In the evenings, Fongci likes to talk walks in East Rock Park, where he often encounters fireflies along the way. "Their faint glow feels like tiny blessings," he says.

Natnatee (Ko) Dokmai

Postdoctoral Associate

Natnatee, who goes by Ko, grew up in the Isaan region of Thailand and moved to the US in 2010 for the last year of high school. Ko started college at University of Virginia majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. After graduating in 2015, Ko began a PhD program in Computer Science at Indiana University with a minor in Human Geography and Informatics. Spending 2022-2023 as a visiting student at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Ko now joins the Cho lab at Yale as a postdoctoral associate. Ko's research focuses on genome privacy in the context of collaborative genomic analysis, where genomic data gets shared across research institutions, raising privacy concerns for human subjects participating in the studies. "My approach to mitigating this issue entails developing a nuanced socio-technical solution—one that respects the contextual norms and purposes and engages with all the stakeholders, including the human subjects and the research institutions involved," Ko explains. "This process encompasses using cryptographic and security engineering techniques to develop algorithmic tools that can protect data during genomic analysis and reframing these tools in the social context, drawing from theories and methodologies in informatics and science and technology studies (STS), to facilitate the adoption of the technology in practice." With this interdisciplinary approach, Ko is excited to engage with BIDS in addition to other groups at Yale, including the Information Society Law Project, the program in the History of Science and Medicine, and American Studies. Outside of academia, Ko has enjoyed being a part of the running community in New Haven. "Despite being in a smaller city compared to Boston, the run club here has been supportive and offered opportunities to make new friends and get to know the local geography," Ko explains. "Earlier in September, I ran the Faxon Law New Haven half-marathon, which takes runners from Downtown to East Rock and Edgewood Park." Ko is now training for a third marathon, this time in Philadelphia, in November.

Anupama Nandi

Postdoctoral Associate

Originally from Kolkata, India, Anupama joins BIDS as a postdoctoral associate working with Dr. Hyunghoon Cho. Anupama was previously a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute in Boston, after completing a doctoral degree in Computer Science from Ohio State University. Her research focuses on developing new computational tools and frameworks for enhancing privacy in genomics and biomedicine. Anupama's broader research interests include genomic data privacy, differential privacy, and privacy-preserving machine learning. "I will get a better opportunity to advance my research at Yale," Anupama says. She is especially excited by the possibilities of collaboration with a wide variety of researchers across disciplines. "Everyone is so helpful and friendly, and this really helped me get settled in." While she makes a new home in New Haven, Anupama is enjoying the amazing restaurants on offer. "I just love that New Haven is such a foodie city!"

Victoria Bensel

Postdoctoral Associate

Victoria joins us from the Cincinnati VA, where she completed an Integrated Chiropractic Care Residency. Before that, she obtained a Doctorate of Chiropractic, an MS in Sports Medicine, and an MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine at the University of Western States. As the IMPAACT Fellow at BIDS, Victoria now collaborates with Dr. Anthony Lisi to investigate electronic health records (EHRs) and provide analysis on the administration of healthcare system programs related to musculoskeletal pain disorders, with a focus on nonpharmacological approaches. “It has been a phenomenal two months,” they say. “Yale has been an amazing experience.” Victoria is frequently found at the Medical Historical Library or Pistachio Café.

Qianqian Xie

Postdoctoral Associate

Qianqian Xie completed her PhD in Computer Science at Wuhan University, and now joins BIDS as a Postdoctoral Associate focused on research in clinical Natural Language Processing and bioinformatics. Qianqian is passionate about creating accurate, trustworthy and generalizable NLP methodologies to enhance medical practices, and is currently involved in a project aimed at developing large language models tailored for the clinical domain (akin to ChatGPT). “I chose Yale for its rich academic resources and the focus on cutting-edge research,” she says. “My experience has been overwhelmingly positive, and I find the work to be incredibly fulfilling.” Outside of her research, Qianqian enjoys growing Aloe Vera plants at home.

Elizabeth Coppola

Postdoctoral Fellow

Liz joins us from DC, after completing a PhD in Human Development and Family Science at Purdue University. As the VA Medical Informatics postdoctoral fellow, Liz is interested in using her skills in interdisciplinary social sciences to focus on supporting those who have served in the military. At BIDS, she hopes "to learn how to use VA electronic health records and informatics methods to better understand—and ideally prevent—family violence." After moving to New Haven, Liz is excited to live around the corner of Long Island Sound, with all of its beaches. Still, she maintains a connection to her home in Philly—she has a tortoiseshell rescue cat named Gritty!

Gabi DiGioia

Research Assistant 1 MS

Gabriella (Gabi) DiGioia joins from Hamden, CT. After graduating with a BA in Psychology at Fairfield University, she is excited to work as a research assistant at Biomedical Informatics & Data Science. Gabi brings administrative and organizational skills with an interest in psychological research. “It was a great opportunity, especially joining a new department,” she says. “I was excited to experience both the research aspect and administrative aspect. Also, Yale seemed like a great place to have a first job!” Gabi’s favorite aspect of New Haven is the opportunity to explore a variety of restaurants—her favorite place to eat is Zeneli’s.

Akio Tamura-Ho

Research Assistant 1 MS

Akio is a recent graduate from Yale College, having majored in the History of Science and Medicine with a certificate in Education Studies, and a research focus on the ways science, medicine and technology are entangled with culture and society. “I am interested in how these relations are valenced by media, ontological plurality and ethics,” Akio says. "How are scientific and medical knowledges co-constituted with the procedures and social technologies that legitimate their publication?" Akio brings this interdisciplinary research and writing experience, along with skills in visual media and graphic design, to Biomedical Informatics and Data Science—and in turn, is learning a lot about data and health research from the scientists and researchers that work here! “If I were a technology,” Akio says, “I would be an interlibrary loan system."

Christian Horgan

Software Engineer - Coding

Hailing from Middlebury, Connecticut, Christian joins BIDS as a Software Engineer. After completing a B.S. in Computational Neuroscience at USC, he was drawn to Yale by the opportunities in his field of interest—the intersection of neuroscience and technology. “I am trying to build this experience up so that I can move into more programming, especially related to brain-computer interfaces,” Christian explains. Christian describes BIDS as a “welcoming” place: “My interests are valued here and each person’s role is critical to the overarching goal. It is nice to see how dedicated everyone is to their respective projects.” At home, Christian has a 16 year-old Shih Tzu named Leia. If he were to be a technology, he says he would choose to be an Easy Bake Oven: “Technology of this magnitude was ahead of its time!"

Roger Lacson

Software Engineer - Coding

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon with a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Roger came to Yale wanting to apply his knowledge as an engineer to solve real-world medical challenges. He is excited to explore applications of technology in health, and learn more about how research and technological development are conducted at a renowned research institution like Yale. Roger’s work is focused on the applications of blockchain in biomedical data sharing while he meets other people in the lab and gets to know the environment. If Roger were a technology, he would choose to be a vlogger’s camera: "I’d get to travel to so many places around the world, and with the right vlogger, record so many interesting stories and experiences!"

Youwen Liu

Software Engineer

Youwen joins Biomedical Informatics & Data Science from Washington DC, after completing a Bachelor's in Mathematics at University of Maryland College Park and a Master's in Computer Science at George Washington University. With this background, Youwen says she is excited to be a part of the "dynamic academic community" at Yale and contribute to "cutting-edge research in data science and informatics". She is currently dedicated to enhancing data capabilities through methods like data augmentation, comprehensive data analysis, and insightful data visualization. Looking ahead, her focus will also expand to include AWS (Amazon Web Services) and AoU (All of Us), where she will provide technical support to the team led by Dr. Jihoon Kim. With experience in Python, SQL, and Tableau, as well as statistical and mathematical experience, Youwen leverages these tools to derive meaningful insights from data. If Youwen were a technology, she would be an artificial intelligence platform. "Like a versatile AI, I strive to adapt, learn, and assist in various domains, much like how AI technologies can be applied to a wide range of tasks and industries," she says. "And it would be fun to talk to different people."

Sarah Hall

Junior Project Manager

Hailing from Sutton, Massachusetts, Sarah completed a BS in Athletic Training at Quinnipiac University and an MEd in Kinesiology at the University of Virginia. Sarah's previous expertise involves injury prevention/assessment and treatment, including corrective/preventative exercises. She initially started at Yale almost four years ago as an athletic trainer, working and traveling with the women's basketball team. Interning at Yale during her undergraduate studies led her to return full-time. "I've come to really enjoy being in and around the New Haven area!" Sarah says. "It has only been a week, but everyone here has been exceedingly kind and helpful." Outside of work, Sarah loves spending time being active outdoors, hanging out with friends and family, and exploring New Haven's food scene. "I also love walking around Yale College and being around students," she adds. "Having spent a decent amount of time on the other side of campus, nothing beats the first nice day of spring!"

We would also love to welcome the following people to Biomedical Informatics & Data Science:

Christopher Gilman

Software Engineer

Gayathri Nagaraj

Programmer Analyst

Xinyun Li

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Aatmik Mallya

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Christine Dien

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Trevor Brokowski

PhD Student, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Submitted by Akio Tamura-Ho on September 05, 2023