Ryan Dale, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist; NICHD Scientific Information Officer; Head of BSPC

Bldg 6A Rm 1A16,

After a Masters in Oceanography and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Delaware, Ryan came to NIH in 2009 as the bioinformatician for a group of six PIs and about 40 post-docs in NIDDK (Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, LCDB). From 2009-2018, he became a developmental biologist, analyzed thousands of high-throughput sequencing libraries across hundreds of experiments, and led the bioinformatics on most papers published by the group. During that time he developed open-source software packages in Python, R, and C (some of which have been downloaded tens of thousands of times), contributed to many other open source software packages, co-founded the Bioconda  project, and led workshops teaching computational skills to biologists. In 2018 he started at NICHD as Scientific Information Officer, founded the Bioinformatics and Scientific Programming Core, and has been growing the total bioinformatics capacity of the institute through collaborations and training ever since.

Caroline Esnault, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist

Bldg 6A Rm 1A17,

While completing her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Lyon, France, Caroline taught Statistics, Evolution and Population Genetics. Her thesis and postdoctoral work focused on understanding the impact of transposable elements on the genome of a variety of organisms. She joined NICHD in 2011 as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Henry Levin, where she managed the lab’s high-throughput sequencer, in addition to consulting for her teammates on statistics and sequence analyses. She became fascinated with Next Generation Sequencing and learned programming in Python, Perl and R to develop or optimize the bioinformatics tools she needed. She joined the BSPC in 2018 to provide the NICHD bioinformatics core with expertise at the interface of biology and computer science.

Apratim Mitra, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist

Bldg 6A Rm 1A17,

Apratim completed his Ph.D. in computational biology from the University of Maryland, College Park before joining NICHD in 2013 as a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Karl Pfeifer. There, he worked on understanding the functions of a conserved long non-coding RNA while being closely involved in the planning and analysis of several other projects both in his lab and with collaborators in the Division of Developmental biology (DDB). As a result, he learned concepts of developmental biology and contributed to several projects in diverse contexts and co-authored multiple scientific articles. Apratim enjoys the challenge of multi-disciplinary science and has extensive experience in many aspects of bioinformatics and statistical analysis. He enjoys contributing to the development of a strong bioinformatics community and support network to enable exciting new science in the institute.

Gennady Margolin, Ph.D.

Bioinformatics Scientist (contractor)

Building 6, Room 4B412,

With a background in exact sciences and some biology, Gennady came to NIH in 2008 as a Research Fellow at NIDDK to develop skills and work on projects utilizing emergent next-gen sequencing. He was also tasked with system administration of the sequencing core computational server. In 2013 he moved to NHGRI as a Bioinformatics Scientist and among other projects, focused on studying DNA methylation in cancer and using it to detect and classify cancers. Recently, in 2019 he joined the BSPC group at NICHD and is working directly with the researchers in the Aquatic Models of Human Development group in Building 6. He is excited to take part in multiple research projects, utilize and share his knowledge and learn from others at the interface of biology, computers, and applied math.

Mira Sohn, Ph.D.

Bioinformatics Scientist (contractor)

Bldg 35 Rm 2D904,

After receiving her Ph.D. in 2013 in Biochemistry from Ewha Womans University (Seoul, South Korea), Mira expanded her research experience to Cell Biology in NICHD (Bethesda, MD) and the Carnegie Institution for Science (Baltimore, MD) as a postdoctoral fellow. After finishing her postdoctoral training in 2019, she discovered a new passion for bioinformatics. As a self-taught amateur bioinformatician, she not only taught herself R and Python but also blog-posted bioinformatics self-projects using public datasets. Moreover, she trained her skills by conducting a volunteer bioinformatics project quantitatively comparing multiple alignment algorithms in the context of bulk RNA-seq analysis. In 2021, she joined the BSPC as a bioinformatics scientist collaborating with diverse labs in Building 35.

Alicia Evans, A.S.

Research Software Engineer


Before pursuing an interest in science, Alicia spent 15 years in the corporate world as a full-stack software and DevOps engineer, specializing in cloud technology and developing a wide variety of software applications. A native of New Jersey, she completed her associate in science degree in 2021 and is on track to finish her B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Science from University of Florida in 2024. Alicia got a taste for research as a 2022 summer intern for NICHD BSPC. She returned to BSPC as Research Software Engineer in 2023 to apply her software development expertise to bioinformatics challenges

Lilly Shatford-Adams, B.S.

Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow

Bldg 6A Rm 1A17,

Lilly received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Doane University in Crete, NE. Lilly joins with an interdisciplinary background of biology, computer science, and liberal arts. At Doane, Lilly worked on the identification of binding sites for TAL Effectors in Dr. Erin Doyle’s lab. Additionally, she has processed images in Dr. Alexander Bucksch’s computational plant science lab (University of Georgia), researched the dimerization of the Satb1/Satb2 proteins in Dr. Brett Schofield’s molecular biology lab (Doane University), and worked to understand gene expression in CLL drug targets in Dr. Pavel Levkin’s functional biomaterials lab (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). While at the NIH, she is interested rounding out her bioinformatics skills and techniques to assist with NICHD collaborators’ projects. Lilly is also interested in STEM outreach and science communication, specifically for rural populations.

Matthew Tyler Menold, B.S.

Bldg 6A, Rm 1A17,

Tyler earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research experience, under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Humber, involved working with two species of entomopathogenic fungus to assess their potential as natural pesticides. An online programming course from Stanford University sparked Tyler's interest in computational work, particularly in computational biology. Post-graduation, Tyler pursued a second degree in Computer Science from the University of Oregon, which he plans to complete alongside his two-year post-baccalaureate fellowship. Tyler aims to apply to a Ph.D. program in Bioinformatics and, in the long term, aspires to head a research group. Outside of academia, he enjoys surfing, diving, and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Ally Questell, B.E.

Bldg 6A, Rm 1A17,

Ally joined NICHD BSPC in June 2023 as a post-bacc IRTA fellow. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2023 with a BE in Biomedical Engineering, second major in Environmental Sociology, and minor in Chemistry. She joined the Rafat Tumor and Tissue Microenvironment Lab freshman year and continued research there through graduation. Her research focused on the contribution of extracellular matrix stiffness to metastatic breast cancer growth in the bone marrow microenvironment. She is also passionate about the intersection of health and sustainability. Her senior thesis research in sociology used spatial regression in R to understand the contribution of environmental racism to asthma-related emergency department visits. Ally learned to program using MATLAB and R for her engineering coursework and research. She was inspired to learn bioinformatics by the power of computational tools to reveal findings from large, noisy datasets. Ally hopes to apply the skills she gains in BSPC to future research in precision medicine as a physician-scientist. Outside the lab, Ally enjoys playing soccer, reading, and exploring DC.

Shelby Ferrier, B.S.

Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow

Bldg 6A Rm 1A17,

Shelby is interested in using computational and mathematical methods to learn more about biology on a molecular basis. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2022 with a B.S. in Mathematics and minors in Computer Science and Physics. During this time, she completed a data science thesis external link in which she reduced the run time of a CPU intensive ranking algorithm. At the NIH she works on a project analyzing three-dimensional genomics; specifically elucidating the effects of CTCF and cohesin on enhancer-promoter interactions. She hopes to earn her PhD in bioinformatics and continue her research career!


Previous Members

Eric Chang, B.S.

Sydney Hertafeld, B.S.

Nicholas Johnson, B.A./B.S.

Arjun Mittal, B.S.

Eva Jason, B.S.

Henry Zhang, Ph.D.

Kiersten Campbell, B.A.

Gus Fridell, B.S.

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