Nikolaos P. Daskalakis, MD, PhD | NG-TBL Director
Dr. Daskalakis is the Director of the Neurogenomics and Translational Bioinformatics Laboratory (NG-TBL) at McLean Hospital and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is an associate member of the Broad Institute and an affiliate member, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the National Center for PTSD.
Dr. Daskalakis received his MD with honors from the University of Athens, his Ph.D. in neuropsychopharmacology from Leiden University, and completed post-doctoral research fellowships in clinical neuroendocrinology at Leiden University and in systems biology at the Icahn School of Medicine.
Dr. Daskalakis leads the Systems Biology working group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium for PTSD. He is an editor for Brain Sciences, Frontiers (in Behavioral Neuroscience, Endocrinology, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry), and Neurobiology of Stress.
Fun fact: he loves cinema. Organized film festivals and directed short films. Played a leading role in a satirical karate movie.
Aarti Jajoo, PhD | Instructor
Dr. Jajoo is an Assistant Neuroscientist at NG-TBL since October 2021. She is also an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Staff Scientist at the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Jajoo’s research is focused on developing mathematical and statistical tools to facilitate bioinformatics advancements. In the lab, she is involved in developing pipelines and machine learning models concerning multi-omic data, with the ultimate goal of better understanding psychiatric disorders on the omics level.
Dr. Jajoo received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Houston, postdoctoral training from Baylor College of Medicine, and worked as a research scientist at Brandeis University before joining NG-TBL.
See publications from Dr. Jajoo: Google Scholar
Fun Facts: Birder and loves kayaking.
Serdar Aslan, PhD | Instructor
Dr. Askan is an Assistant Neuroscientist at NG-TBL since February 2022 and is co-mentored by Blaise Frederick. He is also an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute.
Dr. Aslan works at the intersection of neuroscience, machine learning, deep learning, signals and systems, various mathematical areas, control theory, computational optimal transport graph theory, random matrix theory, and detection and estimation theory. He specializes in various computational techniques. He applies those techniques in brain hemodynamics and fMRI studies.
As a member of the NG-TBL, he is working on an imaging genomics project. He analyzes big data from UK Biobank and other projects. He derives useful resting state fMRI-derived features and performs neurogenetic modeling.
See publications from Dr. Aslan: Google Scholar
Fun Facts: Likes walking
Artemis Iatrou, PhD | Instructor
Dr. Iatrou is an Assistant Neuroscientist at NG-TBL since September 2022. She is also an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Iatrou’s research focuses on elucidating the multilayer omic structure of psychiatric diseases. She is currently developing computational and statistical methods to explore how stress is implicated in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders and contributes to disease heterogeneity.
Dr. Iatrou received her Ph.D. in Epigenetics and Neuroscience from Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and postdoctoral training from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Chicago, IL.
See publications from Dr. Iatrou: Google Scholar
Fun Facts: Artemis enjoys surfing and snowboarding.
Cameron Pernia, PhD | Instructor
Dr. Pernia is an Assistant Neuroscientist at NG-TBL since June 2023. He is also an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Cameron was previously a postdoctoral fellow in the lab from November 2019 to May 2023 (holding the record).
Dr. Pernia is interested in developing novel in vitro tools for studying epigenetic and acquired psychological disorders related to stress. Dr. Pernia’s long-term goal is to develop innovative approaches for studying psychiatric conditions, including PTSD, in the hopes of finding new treatments.
Cameron received his Bsc in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and BA in Psychology with honors from the University of California Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s Graduate School.
See publications from Dr. Pernia: PubMed
Fun fact: Cameron is an avid surfer and donut connoisseur
Clara Snijders, PhD | Research Fellow
Dr. Snijders was a visiting research fellow at NG-TBL since April 2021 and became a research fellow in September 2022. She is also a research fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Snijders is interested in understanding the impact of (complex) trauma on a molecular level with a particular focus on epigenetic dysregulations. Her long-term goal is to combine this acquired knowledge with her clinical background in order to hopefully discover and optimize individual treatment approaches.
Clara received a BSc and MSc (with honors) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Brussels, Belgium, and an MSc (with honors) and a Ph.D. in Fundamental Neuroscience from Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
See publications from Dr. Snijders: Google Scholar
Fun fact: Clara once thought she took a nap from 7 am to 9 am. Not realizing 26h had passed.
Athina Aruldass, PhD| Research Fellow
Dr. Aruldass is a postdoc at the NG-TBL since November 2022. Thematically, Athina’s research interests lie at the confluence of body, brain, and behavior – endeavoring to unpack further the distal effects of peripheral systems on brain structure/function that in turn affect mental states. At the lab, Athina aims to extend her doctoral research on psychoneuroimmunology by integrating multi-omics data (epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics) with clinical presentation (phenomics) in depression and PTSD.
Athina gained a BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (Neuroscience) from the University of Edinburgh and an MRes in Experimental Neuroscience (Imperial College London), before completing her Ph.D. in functional neuroimaging studies of inflammation-linked depression at the Brain Mapping Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
Fun fact: Athina enjoys writing (and it is her preferred way of communication) – the longest Christmas card she’s written (to date) is 8 A5 pages long!
Vincent Holstein, PhD| Research Fellow
Dr. Holstein is a postdoc at the NG-TBL since January 2023. He is interested in the extraction of features from actigraphy data and using psychometrics and biomarkers to predict treatment responses in diverse psychiatric populations.
Vincent gained an MD PhD at the University of Münster, GER
Publications: Google Scholar
Maria Skoularidou, PhD| Research Fellow
Dr. Skoularidou is a visiting postdoc at the NG-TBL since March 2023.
fields of interest lie in theory and methodology of probabilistic machine learning; theory and methodology of generative models; theory and methodology of Bayesian inference with applications to healthcare, genetics and biomedical problems; neuroscience and information theory.
Maria holds a PhD from MRC-Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Sylvia Richardson. Before that, she obtained a diploma in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Statistical Science (summa cum laude) both from the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Publications: Google Scholar
Marina Soliva Estruch, MSc | Pre-doctoral Fellow (PhD Student)
Marina was a Master’s student (November 2021 – August 2022) and is currently a Ph.D. student at NG-TBL since September 2022. She is also an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Her project “Human brain transcriptomic signature of PTSD and MDD due to environmental and genetic factors” studies the impact of trauma timing at the molecular level. She is also interested in the impact of trauma on the reward system to study the link between trauma and anhedonia. She is focused on the modulating role of epigenetic mechanisms accounting for this relation.
Marina received a BSc in Psychology from the University of Valencia, Spain, and her MSc in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Fun fact: Marina likes extravagant earrings and diving into memes.
Ioulia Tsatsani, MSc | Pre-doctoral Fellow (PhD Student)
Ioulia is a Ph.D. student at NG-TBL since March 2023 and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Her research interests lie in investigating the intricate interplay between stress, mitochondria, and nuclear transcription using computational tools. By exploring these connections, Ioulia aims to gain a deeper insight into stress-related disorders and uncover novel insights into the biological pathways involved.
Her academic journey began at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, where she developed a solid foundation in biology and continued at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, where she earned her MSc in Bioinformatics. Before joining the lab, she worked as a bioinformatician in public health in the United Kingdom.
Fun fact: Ioulia equally enjoys making loops in programming and crocheting!
Justina Lugenbühl, MSc | Pre-doctoral Fellow (PhD Student)
Justina was a Master’s student (November 2022 – August 2023) and is currently a Ph.D. student at NG-TBL since January 2024. She wants to gain a deep understanding of the risk and resilience factors that influence the trajectory from (early) life stress to mental disorders like PTSD and MDD. Specifically, she hopes to identify important epigenetic regulators and molecular pathways. These may reveal biologically distinct subtypes of the presumably same disorder. She hopes that this work will contribute to novel mechanism-informed diagnostics, preventions, and treatments of stress-related disorders.
She worked with maltreated children at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. This motivated her to further investigate the biology of stress.
Justina received a BSc in Psychology from the University of Mannheim, Germany, and her MSc in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Fun fact: Justina’s laugh is funnier than her jokes.
Current Master’s thesis students
Yaser Sanchez Gama (Harvard Medical School)
Ilse Kolmans (University of Amsterdam)
Ilse is a second-year Master’s student of Biomedical Sciences: Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology at the University of Amsterdam. She has been working on her final Master’s thesis at the NG-TBL since January 2024. In her project, she will explore in vitro tools for studying stress-related disorders through a transcriptomic approach.
Alaya Storm (University of Amsterdam)
Bachelor’s thesis students
Mateo Maya-Martinez (Licenciatura en Ciencias Genómicas UNAM)
Mateo is a senior student in the Undergraduate Program in Genomic Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who joined the NGTBL in August 2023. Currently working on his bachelor’s thesis, he employs transcriptomic data to develop TWAS models aiming to gain a better understanding of psychiatric disorders
Alumni Lab Members
Mohammad Sendi, PhD| Research Fellow from May 2022 to November 2023| Google Scholar
Philippe Habets, MD | Visiting Graduate Student (Amsterdam University Medical Centre ) from March 2022 to February 2023 | PubMed
Shivachetan Ulavi | Research Data Analyst from February 2022- December 2022
Chris Chatzinakos, PhD | Research Fellow from June 2019 to June 2021| Instructor from June 2021 to December 2021| Currently: Assistant Professor (SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University)| Google Scholar
Obada Al Zoubi, PhD | Research Fellow from November 2020 to December 2021| Google Scholar
Nick Ressler | Summer High School Student (June 2021- August 2021)
Benjamin Bowlby, BSc | Visiting Medical Student (VCU School of Medicine) June 2019 to June 2021 | Psychiatry resident (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Heike Schuler, BSc | Master Thesis Student (Utrecht University) from February 2020 to December 2020 | Currently: Graduate Student (McGill University – Rose Bagot Lab) | Google Scholar
Foivos Georgiadis, MD MSc | Master thesis student (ETH Zurich) from August 2019 to August 2020
Nikolaos Armeniakos, MD | Research Fellow (November 2019-March 2020)
Filomene G. Morrison, PhD | Research Fellow @BU – co-advised by Mark Miller and Erika Wolf (January 2019 – June 2019)
Kenneth M. McCullough, PhD | Research Fellow – co-advised by Kerry Ressler (July 2017 – June 2019)