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 | Research Associate
Dr. Jajoo is a research associate at NG-TBL since October 2021. She is also a research associate 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 | Research Fellow
Dr. Pernia is a research fellow at NG-TBL since November 2019. Cameron is also a research fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. 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 become a research fellow on 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.
Mohammad Sendi, PhD| Research Fellow
Dr. Sendi is an NIMH T32 postdoctoral fellow at NG-TBL and is co-mentored by Kerry Ressler and Diego Pizzagali. He is also a research fellow in psychiatry at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and an affiliate of the Broad Institute. Mohammad received his Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University and his Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2022. His research applies machine learning techniques at the interface between neuroscience and genetics to elucidate a link between genetics, brain, and behavior in neuropsychiatric disorders. He developed multiple frameworks to analyze brain network dynamics and identified new biomarkers in depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. His long-term goal is to create personalized therapy based on patient genotype and brain phenotype information in neuropsychiatric disorders.
See publications from Dr. Sendi: Google Scholar
Fun facts: Painting, reading novels, fishing, and watching movies.
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!
Marina Soliva Estruch, MSc | Pre-doctoral Fellow (PhD Student)
Marina is a PhD 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 PhD 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, BSc | Pre-doctoral Fellow (MSc Student)
Justina has been a visiting research trainee at NG-TBL since November 2022. She worked with maltreated children at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. This motivated her to further investigate the biology of stress. 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.
Justina received a BSc in Psychology from the University of Mannheim, Germany, and is currently finishing her MSc in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Fun fact: Justina’s laugh is funnier than her jokes.
Chris Chatzinakos, PhD | Visiting Scientist (Vesigen)
Dr. Chatzinakos was an Associate Neuroscientist at NG-TBL and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School from June 2019 to December 2021. He is currently a Senior Scientist at Vesigen and a visiting scientist NG-TBL. He is also an affiliate member of the Broad Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Chatzinakos focuses on statistical/psychiatric genetics and novel methods to better understand high-dimensional and large-scale biological data (including single-cell transcriptomics, metabolomics, and proteomics).
Christos received his BSc in Mathematics and his Ph.D. in Statistics from Aristotle University, Greece.
See publications from Dr. Chatzinakos: Google Scholar
Chris DiPietro, BSc | Research Data Analyst
Chris DiPietro is a Research Data Research Analyst at NG-TBL since August 2021. He is also an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. He is interested in combining neuroscience and computational techniques to contribute to the understanding of mechanisms and treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Chris received his BSc in Computer Science from the University of Connecticut
Fun fact: Chris could beat you at apnea, he can hold his breath for up to 5 minutes.
Constantin Anastasopoulos, MD | Visiting Research Fellow (University Hospital Basel)
Constantin is a Visiting Research Fellow at NG-TBL since June 2020.
Dr. Anastasopoulos received his MD with honors from the University of Athens and his Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Freiburg
See publications from Dr. Anastasopoulos: PubMed
Alumni Lab Members
Philippe Habets, MD | Visiting Graduate Student (Amsterdam University Medical Centre )
Philippe is a Visiting Research Fellow at NG-TBL from March 2022 to February 2022. He is also an affiliate member of the Broad Institute.
Philippe received his MD from the University of Leiden. He is interested in the application of machine learning models in the context of multi-omics data. For his dissertation, he focuses on improving clinical and biological predictions related to psychoneuroendocrinological illness by combining high-dimensional datasets.
He is currently finishing his PhD at University of Leiden (advisors: Onno Meijer & Chirstiaan Vinkers).
See publications from Philippe: PubMed
Obada Al Zoubi, PhD | Research Fellow
Dr. Al Zoubi was a research fellow at NG-TBL from November 2020 to December 2021. Obada was also a research fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Al Zoubi is interested in biomedical engineering and neuroimaging. Dr. Al Zoubi’s research focuses on applying and developing computational methods for biomedical data. I am interested in Genetics, EEG-fMRI fusion, deep machine learning for EEG/fMRI biomarkers discovery, and translational neuroscience.
Obada received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
See publications from Dr. Al Zoubi: Google Scholar
Heike Schuler, BSc | Visiting Graduate Student (McGill University)
Heike was a Visiting Graduate Student at NG-TBL from February 2020 to December 2021. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience at McGill University (advisor: Rose Bagot).
Heike received her BSc in Psychology with Honors from the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and is a current MSc student in Neuroscience & Cognition at Utrecht University, Netherlands.
See publications from Heike Schuler: Google Scholar
Benjamin Bowlby, BSc | Visiting Medical Student (VCU School of Medicine)
Ben was a Visiting Medical Student at NG-TBL from June 2019 to December 2021.
Shivachetan Ulavi | Research Data Analyst (VCU School of Medicine) (June 2019- December 2021)
Benjamin Bowlby | Visiting Medical Student (VCU School of Medicine) (June 2019- December 2021)
Nick Ressler | Summer High School Student (June 2021- August 2021)
Foivos Georgiadis, MD MSc | Research Fellow (August 2019-March 2021)
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)