Lab Members

Forbes Porter headshot.

Forbes D. Porter, MD, PhD

Director

Forbes D. Porter earned his MD and PhD at the Washington University at St. Louis. He trained in both Pediatrics and Clinical Genetics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and is board certified in both specialties. Dr. Porter is currently a Senior Investigator in the Program in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics, NICHD, NIH, DHHS. His research is focused on disorders of cholesterol homeostasis. This includes both basic and clinical investigations into Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, Niemann-Pick Disease, type C and hypocholesterolemic Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Steven Coon headshot.

Steven L. Coon, PhD

Executive Director and Technical Supervisor

Steven Coon earned his PhD from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) in Developmental Neurobiology. He completed his post-doctoral training at UMCP and became a Research Faculty member. Dr. Coon came to the NIH in 1991 to work in the NICHD Section on Neuroendocrinology where he developed expertise in microarray and RNA-Seq technologies. His work has been published in over 80 scientific papers and book chapters.
James Iben headshot.

James R. Iben, PhD

Senior Bioinformatician

James Iben received his PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 2007. He completed his postdoctoral training at NICHD under Richard Maraia in the Section on Molecular and Cellular Biology where his primary research has revolved around the transcription and maturation of tRNA, developing a model for tRNA-driven translational gene regulation using next-generation sequencing as part of his research projects. James has developed custom bioinformatic tools and pipelines using current supported software for both specialized and common complex data analysis tasks. He currently works to advise or support through collaboration multiple NICHD labs with their bioinformatic needs.
Tianwei Li headshot.

Tianwei Li, PhD

Laboratory Supervisor

Tianwei Li earned his PhD in Biochemistry from The National University of Singapore. Tianwei completed his postdoctoral training and was a research fellow in the Laboratory of Biochemistry, NHLBI, where he studied the biological function of ubiquitin-like proteins using proteomic approaches. Then he continued his research in FDA on genomic variations and characterizations of microbes using next generation sequencing technologies. He has extensive experience in the application of molecular biology and biochemical techniques to study biological systems. In addition, Tianwei has mentored two PhD students and a couple of post-baccalaureate fellows and summer students in the NIH.
Rachel Lazris headshot.

Rachel Lazris, BS

Postbaccalaureate IRTA

Rachel Lazris graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in biology from Dickinson College in 2020. At Dickinson, she researched the transcription factor gene NR4A1’s role in the Acute Myeloid Leukemia transcriptome within Dr. Michael Robert’s lab. Her experience allowed her to advance her molecular biology laboratory skills as well as expand her interest in research. Rachel plans to attend medical school after completing her post-bac IRTA fellowship at the NIH.
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