Institute for Systems Genetics Faculty & Staff | NYU Langone Health

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Institute for Systems Genetics Institute for Systems Genetics Faculty & Staff

Institute for Systems Genetics Faculty & Staff

The Institute for Systems Genetics comprises faculty and staff across multiple departments.


Our administrators lead a team of faculty, students, and investigators that collaborates with other research and clinical programs at NYU Langone Health and around the world.

Jef Boeke, PhD, Founding Director

Dr. Boeke is best known for his fundamental genetic and biochemical work on mechanisms of transposition in higher cells. He coined the term “retrotransposon.” He is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Learn more about Dr. Boeke.

Debbie Bemis, PhD, Executive Director

Dr. Bemis works with our director to set and operationalize the strategic plan for the institute, as well as oversees its administration. She has more than 20 years of experience in basic and translational research, scientific communications, and research administration. Contact Dr. Bemis at

Kate Katsnelson, MBA, Assistant Director of Finance

Mrs. Katsnelson oversees the preaward and postaward activity for the department. She started at NYU Langone in 2010 and worked at central finance for three years as well as Perlmutter Cancer Center for six years prior to joining our institute. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ural State University in Russia and her MBA from Baruch College. Contact Mrs. Katsnelson at

Nakisha Davis, MPA, Senior Program Coordinator

Ms. Davis oversees and coordinates administrative procedures, including special events, communications, the wellness initiative, and the faculty recruitment program. She holds a master's degree in public administration and joined us in November 2013. Contact Ms. Davis at

Julie Oaks, Administrative Manager

Ms. Oaks supports administrative procedures including human resources and compliance. She also oversees the grant application process and serves as a liaison between the institute and Sponsored Program Administration. Contact Ms. Oaks at

Meghan O’Keefe, MS, Executive Assistant

Ms. O’Keefe primarily supports Dr. Boeke in his role as director of the institute and works closely with our administrative leadership on daily operations and special initiatives. She earned her MS in nonprofit management from the New School and an undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College. Contact Ms. O’Keefe at meghan.o'

Teddy Shin, Senior Financial Analyst

Mr. Shin manages our financial ledgers, procurement, and reporting. Prior to joining the institute, he monitored and reported on postaward grant activities for the NYU Langone research finance department. He is a lifelong New Yorker and business professional who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Baruch College. Contact Mr. Shin at

Core Faculty


Jef Boeke, PhD

Institute Founder and Director
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: mechanism of retrotransposition in eukaryotes and redesigning and synthesizing entire eukaryotic chromosomes


Aravinda Chakravarti, PhD

Director, Center for Human Genetics and Genomics
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Neuroscience and Physiology
Research interests: molecular basis of human disease, gene regulatory networks, and human population genomics


Teresa Davoli, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: understanding the causes and consequences of genomic instability (with a focus on aneuploidy) in cancer and cell physiology


Gilad Evrony, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, and the Center for Human Genetics and Genomics
Research interests: genetics of brain development, function, and disease; technology development for neuroscience; precision medicine


David Fenyö, PhD

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: proteomic data analysis and developing methods and databases for protein identification, characterization, and quantitation using mass spectrometry–based technologies


Liam Holt, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: how mechanical compression and molecular crowding affect cell biology and drive diseases like cancer, aging, and neurodegeneration


Timothee Lionnet, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell biology
Research interests: understanding how gene expression works, focusing mainly on its first step, transcription—the synthesis of mRNA from a gene encoded in DNA


Matthew Maurano, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology
Research interests: genomics of gene expression and genetics of human disease


Marcus Noyes, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: characterization and manipulation of protein–ligand interactions


Kelly V. Ruggles, PhD

Assistant Professor, Division of Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine
Research interests: multi-omic data integration, data visualization, application and development of computational and statistical methods to analyze genomic, transcriptomic, translatomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and microbiome data to inform cancer, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease


Jonas Schluter, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology
Research interests: gut microbiome, massive clinical data sets and the hospitalome, microbial ecology and warfare, evolutionary theory, quorum sensing, machine-learning and Bayesian time series analysis, microbiota, cancer, immunity, and immunology


Itai Yanai, PhD

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Research interests: cancer, computational biology, developmental genetics, genomics, microbiome, systems biology, single-cell transcriptomics, gene expression atlas construction, and genome evolution

Affiliated Faculty

Thales Papagiannakopoulos, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology

Neville Sanjana, PhD
Assistant Professor, NYU Department of Biology

Rahul Satija, DPhil
Assistant Professor, NYU Department of Biology

Beatrix Ueberheide, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Christine Vogel, PhD
Professor, NYU Department of Biology

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sana Badri, PhD—Ruggles Labs
Research interests: biomedical informatics education and transcriptional regulatory mechanisms in blood cancers

Amit Bhardwaj, PhD—Fenyö Lab
Research interests: generation and characterization of an encyclopedia of the secretome of murine and human adipocytes

Joy Bianchi, PhD—Davoli Lab
Research interests: understanding the control of genome stability in health and disease and the impact of copy number alterations on cancer immune evasion

Martina Bonucci, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interests: investigating molecular crowding in neural cells and defining molecular crowding role in neurodegeneration

Lance Denes, PhD—Holt and Lionnet Labs
Research interests: investigating the interplay between cellular mechanics and gene expression

Ryan Fine, PhD—Chakravarti Lab
Research interests: effects of pathogenic non-coding genetic variation in human disease; genetic causes of variation in penetrance

Makiha Fukuda, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: synthesizing RNA-based chromosomes in yeast

Gregory Goldberg, PhD—Noyes Lab
Research interests: engineering CRISPR-Cas systems to facilitate the remodeling of genomes and gene regulatory circuits

Marta Gronska-Peski, PhD—Evrony Lab
Research interests: somatic mutation processes in the brain

Gururaj Rao Kidiyoor, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interest: investigating physiological and pathological role of nuclear crowding in normal and cancer cells

Luciana Lazar Stefanita, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: structural plasticity of eukaryotic genomes

Feiyue Lu, PhD—Lionnet Lab
Research interests: in vivo live imaging of transcription regulation

Nicholas Mamrak, PhD—Lionnet Lab
Research interests: characterizing the impact transcription factors have on gene expression kinetics

Wilson McKerrow, PhD—Fenyö Lab
Research interests: bioinformatic analysis of transposable elements broadly and LINE-1 specifically

Teesta Naskar, PhD—Chakravarti Lab
Research interests: genetic predisposition of neurodevelopmental disorders in multiplex families

Gudjón Ólafsson, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: using humanized yeast to uncover mechanisms of human chromosome segregation

Raquel Ordonez Ciriza, PhD—Maurano Lab
Research interests: deciphering genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that generate cellular identities and pathological phenotypes

Sudarshan Pinglay, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: building biology from the ground up in order to understand function

André M. Ribeiro dos Santos, PhD—Maurano Lab
Research interests: understanding the genomics of gene expression and human diseases through the development of bioinformatics tools and statistical analysis

Dajun Sang, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interests: using ancestral resurrection to understand kinase regulation and decode cancer mutations

Shivanjali Saxena, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interests: investigating signaling pathways associated with the impact of pathological physical factors within glioblastoma microenvironment

Tong Shu, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interests: understanding the biophysical mechanisms of molecular crowding within cell influencing cellular processes

Peter Whitney, PhD—Lionnet Lab
Research interests: decoding the regulatory genome using high-resolution fluorescent microscopy

Ying Xie, PhD—Holt Lab
Research interests: how cellular biophysical property and proteins are remodeled in quiescent cells

Or Yaacov, MD—Chakravarti Lab
Research interests: population genetics and genomics, large-scale biobanks, and electronic medical records research

Weimin Zhang, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: stabilizing and engineering the genome in haploid mouse embryonic stem cells

Xin Zhao, PhD—Davoli Lab
Research interests: somatic mutation and copy number alterations in cancer genomics

Yu Zhao, PhD—Boeke Lab
Research interests: building the eukaryotic cells with synthetic genomes and engineering to understand biology

Scientific Staff

Hannah Ashe—Maurano Lab
Assistant Research Technician

Maria Bahamon—Boeke Lab
Student Intern

Ran Brosh, PhD—Maurano Lab
Senior Research Scientist

Ze Chen—Ruggles Lab
Research Associate

Finnegan Clark—Lionnet Lab
Research Associate

Camila Coelho—Boeke Lab
Assistant Research Technician

Gwen Ellis—Maurano Lab
Research Associate

Sergei German, MS
Senior Architect, Solution Development

Cindy Hernandez—Holt Lab
Assistant Research Technician

Sarah Keegan—Fenyö Lab
Scientific Programmer

Manjunatha Kogenaru, PhD—Noyes Lab
Senior Research Scientist

Tanya Kosheleva—Davoli Lab
Research Associate

Wenke Liu, PhD—Fenyö Lab
Research Scientist

Sally Mei—Davoli Lab
Research Associate

Angela Mermerian—Davoli Lab
Assistant Research Scientist

Ilan Pesselev—Davoli Lab
Research Associate

Nestor Saiz, PhD—Lionnet Lab
Research Scientist

Antonio Vela Gartner—Boeke Lab
Research Associate

Yufeng Wang, PhD—Davoli Lab
Research Scientist

Aleksandra Wudzinska, MPhil—Boeke Lab
Lab Supervisor

Yinan (Florrie) Zhu—Boeke Lab
Research Associate

Angelina Ziarno—Lionnet Lab
Research Associate