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Welcome to New BIDS Faculty, Fellows & Staff (Spring 2024)

March 19, 2024
by Shane Zhang and Akio Tamura-Ho

Since Fall 2023, we have welcomed several new faculty, fellows, and staff. Get to know them in our Spring community update.

Tenaira Greene

Clinical Research Support Analyst

From Hamden, Connecticut, Tenaira Greene completed a BS in Psychology/Public Health at Southern Connecticut University. “I chose to join Yale University because it offered an excellent platform for pursuing my career goals as a public health professional,” Tenaira says. “The environment at Yale aligns perfectly with my interests in research and innovation, which I believe are essential for making a meaningful impact and helping others.” As a Clinical Research Analyst, Tenaira’s main area of interest is precision medicine. “This area of research focuses on customizing medical treatment and healthcare strategies to the individual, taking into account their genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors,” Tenaira explains. Her favorite part of New Haven is its vibrant cultural scene and “an abundance of excellent restaurants”!

Michael Yen

Software Engineer

Joining from New Jersey as a Software Engineer, Michael Yen graduated from Rutgers University with a BS and MS in Computer Science. His main areas of research are computer science and full stack software engineering, with some interests in big data and data visualization. “I have only been with BIDS for two weeks, but so far, my experience has been welcoming and great,” Michael says. Michael’s favorite aspect of New Haven is the density and walkability of the downtown area.

Polly Painter

Program Manager

“That’s me in the middle!” Polly explains. She has lived in Connecticut for more than 15 years, but is originally from Pennsylvania. Polly graduated from the University of Maryland before earning a master’s degree from UConn with a focus on public health administration. She first came to Yale to help build partnerships and develop the precision medicine ecosystem after working as a public policy researcher and liaison for the CT State Senate. As of October, she has started at BIDS as a program manager, currently focusing on BRIDGE2AI. “I’m very new to the department, but so grateful for the generous welcome,” Polly says. “My family lives near UConn, but we love to visit New Haven, especially to run the annual road race in September,” she adds. Polly’s husband, Will, is an English teacher—so it’s no surprise that all of their children have been named with a literary connection to Shakespeare, Jane Austin, or the poet Basho: their two grown daughters (Olivia and Cate), their rescue dog (Bingley), and their rescue cat (Basho). Polly and her family love to eat at Claire's Corner Copia, because they are all vegan or vegetarian (well, except for Bingley and Basho). Polly is looking forward to working with such a wonderfully talented team at BIDS!

Haipeng Xue

Postgraduate Associate

After graduating from University of Chicago with an MS in Applied Data Science, Haipeng joins Dr. Andrew Taylor’s lab as a postgraduate research associate to perform feature engineering and data management for the analysis of dementia. “My main interests of research focus on applying statistical methods and data science skills to improve the overall quality of healthcare and patient experience for making a positive impact on human’s lives,” Haipeng says, “And BIDS is a great place to achieve that!” Haipeng previously worked in industry as a data scientist intern, building machine learning models to predict patients’ hypertension severity level based on their demographic information, medication, allergy, and doctor’s notes. “I really enjoyed this experience, and it’s one of the reasons I want to put my career path into biomedical data science,” he says. Haipeng loves New Haven’s culinary scene, especially the pizza.

KJ (Kijana) Richmond

Software Engineer - Coding

KJ joins us from Madison, CT, just a 25 minute drive from New Haven. After graduating from Yale College with a double major in Computer Science and Psychology, he is thrilled to be joining the team at BIDS. KJ is a software engineer working with Hua Xu, primarily focussed on assisting with development on various machine learning/natural language projects. Through his undergraduate studies and his experience interning within the health-tech sphere, KJ has gained interests in the intersection of technology and human intelligence, including topics such as AI and human-computer interaction. “I am intrigued by both the emerging startup community as well as the societal implications of newly developing technologies,” he says. When he’s not in the office, KJ’s favorite aspect of New Haven is hiking up East Rock to watch the sunset.

Jimin Huang

Data Scientist

Joining BIDS as a part-time data scientist, Jimin completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Computer School of Wuhan University. His research is focused on natural language processing (NLP) and information retrieval. Jimin has also developed a particular expertise in large language models (LLMs) and significant proficiency in Python. He says he was drawn to Yale by its reputation for cutting-edge research. “I was attracted to Yale to contribute to the pioneering work being done with LLMs in the biomedical field,” Jimin says. “My journey at BIDS has been nothing short of fantastic. The collaborative environment, coupled with the opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds, has been truly enriching.” One of Jimin’s favorite aspects of New Haven is its views. “The city offers scenic landscapes,” he adds, “combined with historical charm that I've grown to deeply admire.”

Zach (Zachary) Chen

Jr Project Manager

After finishing his master’s degree in Business Analytics and Finance at Fordham University, Zach headed to Yale with an interest in data and management related work in the biomedical field. “I’ve always been interested in biomed and biotechnology,” Zach says. “I wanted to find a way to support development in some way. Now I’m getting my feet wet in managing.” Although Zach is new to this role, he says he has had a positive experience so far. If he were a technology, Zach would like to be the internet. “Having so much knowledge and connection would have its pros and cons, but it would definitely be a blast!”

Yan Wang

Postdoctoral Associate

Yan completed a PhD at Dalian University of Technology in China, and in December 2023, joined BIDS as a postdoctoral associate in Hua Xu's lab. Yan's main research interests are in biomedical information extraction. "I like Yale's academic atmosphere and beautiful environment," Yan says. Yan also likes the "historical feel" of New Haven and its quiet, uncrowded scene. Yan is a self-described "cat person" and has a cat named Sanpang at home.

Brianna Outen

Jr Project Manager

Brianna Outen holds a BS/MS in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Northeastern University, where she specialized in medical devices and technology and held roles in project coordination and product management.

She hails from nearby Hamden, CT and today shares her home with an energetic shorkie (shih-tzu/yorkie!) named Bingo.

Drawn to Yale by the opportunity to fuse her interests in public health, human-computer interaction, and social justice/equity, she joins BIDS as a Junior Product Manager. Outside of work, she’s immersed in the vibrant culture of our city: “I’m very fond of the arts, music, and food scene in New Haven.” If she were to be a technology, she'd be ChatGPT, always ready with the answers.

Xuguang Ai

Software Engineer - Coding

Xuguang Ai, originally from Harbin, China, holds a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Shandong University and two Master's degrees, one in Physics and the other in Data Science, from the University of Kentucky. In his role as Data Scientist, Xuguang specialized in applying the cutting edge of AI, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computer Vision (CV), and multimodal models, to biomedical and clinical research. The work of Dr. Qingyu Chen and Dr. Hua Xu inspired Xuguang to join the team at BIDS. “I aim to collaborate with them to make significant contributions that will resonate both within and beyond the academic community. Life here is fast-paced yet thrilling. Each morning as you enter BIDS, you anticipate igniting new and interesting ideas.” His favorite part about New Haven is how easy it is to get to New York!

Shane Zhang

Communications Intern

Shane Zhang, a Yale College student and intern at BIDS, focuses on copywriting and editing.

Originally from Los Angeles and a junior at Yale College, Shane studies novels and narratology. He has loved his time at BIDS: “Everyone is doing fascinating work that I didn’t even imagine was possible.”

He came to Yale for the people, who he knew he’d learn as much from as his classes. If Shane were to be a technology, he would be “a decentralized social networking platform. We’ll need one!”

Yujia Zhou

Data Analyst

Yujia Zhou, our newest data analyst at BIDS, comes from a strong background in medical and biomedical informatics from UTHealth. Specializing in electronic medical records and clinical natural language processing, she chose Yale for the opportunity to work alongside outstanding researchers and further her career prospects.

Outside of her professional interests, Yujia has an adorable 5-year-old longhair minuet cat named Mochi. One of her favorite things about New Haven is the sea view from her window. “I'm looking forward even more to exploring the stunning natural landscapes of the New England in the future.”

Lingfei Qian

Postdoctoral Associate

Lingfei Qian, a Ph.D. graduate in computer science from Dalian University of Technology, brings a wealth of expertise to BIDS.

Serving as a Postdoctoral Associate at BIDS, Lingfei is dedicated to assisting doctors in making clinical decisions and improving health care through Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Lingfei chose Yale University for its outstanding research platform, with access to computing resources and rich data. His favorite part about New Haven is the architecture, particularly the buildings of Yale.

Alex Schwartz

Program Manager

Alex Schwartz, joining us from Philadelphia, serves as a program manager on Hua Xu’s Research Computing Infrastructure (RCI) team at BIDS. With over two decades of experience in program and project management, he says his most rewarding role was with the New York State Department of Health’s Genomic Sequencing Disease Surveillance Team. “At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2023), I worked closely with bioinformaticists and epidemiologists as we architected a scalable Next Generation Sequencing data analysis ecosystem to enhance New York’s sequencing capacity. The new cloud-based computational capabilities delivered in the first phase of the project led to an 800+% capacity improvement to the state!”

Outside of work, Alex and his wife rescue senior Labrador Retrievers, providing a loving home for dogs like 14-year-old Roxy and 12-year-old Biggie, pictured above. He has loved his time at BIDS: “It has been a pleasure working with the diverse team of scientists, physicians, and faculty at a world-class academic powerhouse that also has the fast-paced energy of an exciting technology start-up!”

Internal Appointments

We would also like to extend a warm welcome to the faculty who joined BIDS in secondary appointments, and congratulate newly promoted primary faculty in BIDS, including:

Andrew Chou, Associate Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)

Zeynep Erson Omay, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Melissa Davis, Associate Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

Yuan Lu, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)

Walter Roberts, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Yize Zhao, Associate Professor of Biostatistics

Nitya Bakshi, Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Ronald George Hauser, Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine

Ke Xu, Professor of Psychiatry

Zuoheng Anita Wang, Associate Professor of Biostatistics

Allen Hsiao, Professor of Biomedical Informatics & Data Science, Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine) and Emergency Medicine

Vipina Keloth, Associate Research Scientist in Biomedical Informatics & Data Science

Hill Landon Wolfe, Associate Research Scientist in Biomedical Informatics & Data Science

Submitted by Akio Tamura-Ho on October 03, 2023