Executive Leadership

Yoav GiladYoav Gilad, PhD
Dean for Biomedical and Health Informatics

Trained as a molecular and evolutionary geneticist, Dr. Gilad began his career in the UChicago Department of Human Genetics investigating the correlation between DNA sequence variation and disease. From 2014 to 2018, he directed the Committee on Genomics and Systems Biology, which emerged as a training ground for students using computational genomic approaches in biology and medicine. From 2010 to the present, Dr. Gilad has led the Functional Genomics Facility, an innovative core facility that generates a majority of ‘omics’ data for researchers in the BSD and the University. Driven by a desire to translate basic discovery to improvements in health care, in 2016 Dr. Gilad moved to the Department of Medicine, where he has very quickly assembled a distinctive and robust faculty specializing in genetic medicine. Dr. Gilad is the recipient of multiple federal grants to study human disease and evolution using cutting-edge empirical and computational genomic techniques. His lab’s research focuses on understanding the genetics of complex phenotypes and the potential for personalized medicine using genomic sequencing, genome informatics, and functional genomics tools.

Julie Johnson, PhD, MPH, RN 
Executive Director

Julie boasts an impressive career spanning over 20 years of diverse clinical and healthcare experience, including roles as a nurse, analyst, teaching assistant, research assistant, and clinical program coordinator. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Research Informatics, overseeing and spearheading critical administrative functions supporting four service lines: clinical research data warehousing, research application development, bioinformatics, and scientific computing. Her expertise extends to direct collaboration with stakeholders, expertly translating their research inquiries into optimized informatics initiatives. Her profound impact on the healthcare landscape extends beyond her current role, as she continues to serve as a distinguished guest speaker, subject matter expert, and scientific advisory committee member for multiple units across the University of Chicago. Julie’s academic journey commenced with her 1999 graduation from Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, followed by a MPH from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) School of Public Health in 2003, and a PhD from UIC’s College of Nursing in 2018. Julie is currently continuing her education as a member of the thirteenth cohort in the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders at the Booth School of Business.

 Applications Development

Mick O’Dwyer
Manager of Clinical Research Programming

Mick graduated from DePaul University with a Master of Science in Computer Science focusing on Software Engineering.  He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University. Prior to joining the CRI, he spent 18 years creating software for the legal markets.  He has extensive experience leading the full software development lifecycle for web and desktop applications.  His professional experience ranges from being an individual contributor at a startup to being part of large teams writing enterprise software.  He is programming-language agnostic and has enjoyed writing applications in multiple languages, using many different front-end frameworks.  He is responsible for new application development as well as managing ongoing projects for the CRI.  His interests include programming languages, graph theory, and cutting-edge technology.

Julissa AcevedoJulissa Acevedo
Senior Business Systems Analyst

Julissa, the CRI’s resident REDCap Administrator since 2012, is the point of contact for all REDCap inquiries at the University of Chicago. Julissa has guided numerous investigators with their study design and she takes pride in providing exceptional technical support. An active member of the REDCap Consortium, she attends REDCapCon annually to learn creative solutions and best practices, and to network with global experts to further advance REDCap’s capabilities locally. She was instrumental in UChicago’s successful hosting of 2018’s REDCapCon. She has been invited to train fellow REDCap Administrators at REDCapU, and she has won numerous REDCap Consortium awards for her user training materials. She was the 2020 recipient of the Biological Sciences Division’s Excellence in Staff Collaboration Award for her efforts to sustainably and securely support the data capture needs for our local COVID pandemic response, and for her development of a regulatory compliant remote electronic consent process enabling pre-COVID research studies to continue. Prior to joining the CRI, Julissa supported various applications at Motorola, Bank of America, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tomasz OliwaTomasz Oliwa, PhD
Senior Scientific Software Engineer

Tomasz received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Georgia, and obtained a Diplom-Informatiker degree from the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany. Before joining the CRI in January 2015, he was a postdoc at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC). Tomasz is interested in all aspects of software engineering and practical applications of natural language processing and applied machine learning. He is experienced with the development and deployment of scientific tools, databases, and web-based interfaces in a variety of programming languages such as Java, Python, and Bash to facilitate the processing of research data.

Sravanthi Chengalvala
Senior Software Developer

Sravanthi joined CRI Application Development team as a full-stack developer in 2023. As an experienced developer, she has built applications using ASP.NET, Web API, Azure, Microsoft SQL, and Angular. In the past few years, she has developed multiple software products for Deloitte’s Legal, Risk, and Regulatory Affairs department in India. Her background includes project management, IT architecture, and software development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, India.

 Clinical Research Data Warehouse

Stacie LandronStacie Landron, MS, RN
Manager of Clinical and Translational Research Informatics
Healthcare Data Analyst

With a BS in nursing from Northwestern University and an MS in computer science from the University of Chicago, Stacie brings expertise in both the medical and technical domains of healthcare research to the CRDW data request process. She is responsible for quality assurance for most of the CRI’s data requests, and works with researchers to improve the quality of data requests, ensure appropriate data identification for cohort development, and create efficient and informed queries over disparate healthcare data sources. Prior to joining the CRI, Stacie was a healthcare analyst on the enterprise data warehouse team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

George GulottaGeorge Gulotta, MS
Sr. ETL Developer

George joined the CRDW team in 2015. While he has handled requests from numerous departments, the majority of his work has focused on gastroenterology, hepatology, and inflammatory bowel disease. He recently co-authored a paper demonstrating an association between zinc deficiency and IBD flares. His experience also includes building Cognos reports to streamline clinical trial recruitment and datamarts to support ongoing research data collection. George has a bachelor’s degree in Biological Chemistry and a master’s in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the CRI, he worked as research assistant in the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Tom SuttonTom Sutton, MS
ETL Developer

With a strong education and professional background in information technologies, Tom is focused on the movement of data to and from the CRDW. He brings together disparate data sources, standardizes and organizes data for dissemination, and manages automated updating and delivery of data for ongoing research projects. Tom also handles ETL development, data investigations, query troubleshooting and optimization, database maintenance, and occasional application administration, and has worked on many ad-hoc efforts in and beyond research, such as for the Quality office.

Michael Tieri, MS
Healthcare Data Analyst

Michael holds degrees from the University of Iowa and DePaul University and has been with the CRI since May 2015. He has previously worked in consulting across a wide variety of organizations and verticals in the areas of reporting, data transformation and migration, and systems integration. Michael has extensive experience in SQL, a variety of Business Intelligence and reporting tools, and working with clients to define business and technical requirements. Other areas of interest include data quality/data profiling, data warehouse architecture and design, and technical documentation.

Simmer Beniwal
Healthcare Data Analyst

Simmer is a healthcare data analyst at CRI working predominantly with the Neurology department. Prior to working at CRI she obtained her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and before that a Bachelors of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Her previous projects have focused on the social determinants of health and their connection to the management of chronic conditions. She’s looking forward to applying her background in public health and technical skills in data analytics to the work here at CRI.

Harsha Manukonda
Healthcare Data Analyst

Harsha holds Master of Science degrees in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Chicago and Nutrition from Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, India. She has research experience in Population Health data aimed at assessing the diet and nutritional status of the urban population and studying the prevalence of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia among adults in India. She also worked with the Center for Research Informatics at the University of Chicago for her Biomedical Informatics Capstone Project focused on improving the efficiency of Covid-19 research by performing data wrangling to normalize clinical data. She is currently working as a Healthcare Data Analyst at the CRI concentrating primarily on Cardiology research. She is aspiring to work on projects that enrich the quality of healthcare data.

Abidullah Vhora
Healthcare Data Analyst

Abid has a degree in Health Information Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also holds a Registered Health Information Management (RHIA) certification. Prior to working for the CRI, he worked for 11 years in various roles with the Department of Corporate Compliance in the BSD. He worked with multiple teams (Audit, Education, Risk) and was instrumental in the testing, implementation and maintenance of multiple Audit and Risk management systems/applications. Along with other responsibilities, his main focus was related to data analytics in which results via billing and documentation audits and risk assessments needed to be delivered in a clear and concise manner to leadership across the Medical Center. He holds multiple commendations from managers and patients in his previous roles and is looking forward to growing and using his background with research data in the CRI.

Devesh Hargunani
Healthcare Data Analyst

Devesh is working as a Healthcare Data analyst at CRI with CRDW team. He holds a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from DAVV University in India. His unique background offers expertise on both the medical and technological side of the Healthcare industry. Furthermore, he brings to the table his years of experience working as a Physician in India, treating patients in the outpatient clinic and inpatient departments, and also as a Researcher Study Coordinator in Colorectal Surgery and Gastroenterology at Northwestern Medicine. He aspires to use his data analytics skills and medical knowledge to improve patient outcomes, optimize operational efficiency, and assist in medical research.

Ahmad Bearat
Healthcare Data Analyst

Ahmad is Data Analyst with a passion for transforming raw data into meaningful insights. His analytical skills, combined with a strong background in statistical analysis and data visualization, empower him to contribute valuable insights to decision-making processes. Ahmad received his master’s degree in applied statistics and data science from Birzeit University. During his academic journey, he developed a solid foundation in statistical methods, data mining, and machine learning, which formed the core of his analytical toolkit. With over a decade of experience in information technology sector, he has garnered valuable expertise in various areas, including system operations, database management, maintenance, and data analysis. His experience includes working with tools such as SPSS, R Studio, SQL, ESRI ArcGIS, Excel, and Microsoft Power BI.

Scientific Computing

Mike Jarsulic
Associate Director of Scientific Computing

Mike Jarsulic is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and has been with the CRI since September 2012. He previously worked at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, PA, where he was a scientific programmer focused on modernizing thermal/hydraulic design software before moving into High Performance Computing. Mike is well-versed in a variety of programming languages including Fortran, C/C++, Java, and Perl. His other interests in HPC include distributed memory programming, compiler optimizations, and long-term reproducibility of results.

Franck Segbedji
HPC Systems Administrator

Franck has over 8 years of IT experience designing, supporting, and managing on-premises and cloud enterprise infrastructure systems. Before Joining the CRI in October 2022, Franck served as Sr. RedHat Administrator at UBS. There he supported their Linux production environment and migration projects. Franck is passionate about business and aims to use his skills to enhance the productivity and optimization for operation systems and servers.

Yi Du
HPC Systems Administrator

Yi holds an MS degree in Oceanography from the University of Maine. She has previously worked as a Computational Scientist at the BioHPC team in the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, worked closely with users in biomedical research, and been involved in various collaborative projects constructing efficient and reliable HPC applications. She is interested in continually improving and expanding the capacity of the HPC system towards serving more roles in a research-based setting.

 Operations & Administration 

Janaya Lee
Business Administrator

Janaya is a graduate of Lewis University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2017. She began her career in business management and gained over five years of experience working for a leading retail company, serving as an operations manager before joining the CRI in 2022. Janaya currently manages the financial and administrative duties, with a strong focus on development of new operational procedures for the administrative team.

Danielle Landron, RN, MSN
Clinical Research Data and Informatics Analyst

Danielle has more than 10 years of clinical and healthcare experience as a bedside nurse and in data abstraction and analysis.  As part of the CRDW team, she works directly with stakeholders to translate their research questions into optimized requests for the technical team.  Danielle is a 2013 graduate of Chamberlain University’s School of Nursing and received her Masters degree in Nursing in 2021 with a specialty in Health Policy.  She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

CRI Affiliates

Dipti Ranganathan, MS
Chief Data Privacy Officer, University of Chicago

Dipti also serves as Assistant Dean for Academic & Administrative Information Systems for the BSD, leading the implementation of new technology solutions to improve strategic decision-making and operational efficiency. Dipti joined the BSD from University of Texas Southwestern, where she led strategic initiatives including technology support for clinical research, research administration, and academic and educational technology. Dipti has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Operations Research also from Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego. She is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association and the Association for American Medical Colleges, Group on Information Resources. 

Thorbjörn Axelsson, MS 
Director of IT Infrastructure & Scientific Computing

With more than fifteen years experience in IT for research and higher education, Thorbjörn leads the CRI’s work of operating, expanding, and improving our secure computing infrastructure. He works closely with the BSD Information Security Office to ensure that the CRI’s resources and services remain the most secure and compliant available. Prior to joining the CRI in 2014, Thorbjörn was Associate Director of Enterprise Infrastructure at the University of Kansas. He has a broad range of IT expertise, with a background that includes management, research support, IT infrastructure on all levels, security, project management, IT architecture, and software development. Thorbjörn has a Master’s degree in Computing Science from University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and is particularly interested in research computing, IT architecture, and IT security.

Olumide KehindeOlumide Kehinde
Manager of Infrastructure and Security

Olumide has over 15 years of extensive experience in IT design, integration, and management of enterprise systems and services. He has been with the CRI since 2012. He previously worked with Accenture LLP as a Solutions Quality Engineer, deploying and maintaining physical and virtual servers and storage systems as well as performing application and database deployments for quality assurance and testing. He was responsible for the migration of over 300 servers to a cloud infrastructure. He also worked as part of a technical project team in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, setting up three data centers and performing system deployments. He currently manages the CRI storage and backup infrastructures with over 1.7PB of data, and leads the help desk team. In his spare time, he enjoys making music.

Adebimpe Akinlolu
Linux Systems Administrator

Joel Van Os
Senior Systems Administrator

Sheryl Howard
Healthcare Data Analyst – Comprehensive Cancer Center

Sheryl is the liaison between the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the CRDW and works to ensure that high quality Cancer Registry data is available for research in the BSD. She is responsible for integrating Cancer Registry data into the CRDW and creating special quality and reporting projects, such as Cancer Program Practice Profiles Reports. She also collects and reports data regarding cancer identification, treatment, and follow-up; oversees data quality in the Cancer Registry database; and provides Cancer Registry staff with education and cross-training.