Brian Furner, MS
Director of Applications Development
A graduate of the College, Brian has been a part of the University of Chicago community in various capacities since 1993 and with the CRI since its creation. After years of working on the systems administration side of IT within the Biological Sciences Division, Brian transitioned into software development in 2005 and has been focused on that ever since. Through his work in the Department of Medicine, Brian developed broad knowledge of clinical research data, clinical research applications, and the methods for effectively dealing with the complexities of this domain. Lessons learned in the course of this work proved vital as the CRI began development and operations in early 2011. As Director of Applications Development, Brian oversees a team of developers who are responsible for providing custom software solutions to the BSD research community. In addition to building applications from scratch, the applications development team provides maintenance and operational support for several open-source and third-party products, and has expertise in processing and merging data from disparate sources.
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. REDCap is a self-managed, secure, web-based solution designed to support data collection strategies for research studies. Julissa has personally guided many 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 collaborate with other REDCap experts to further advance the use of REDCap here at the University. Prior to joining the CRI, Julissa developed and supported various applications at Motorola, Bank of America, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tomasz 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.
Senior Web Applications Developer
Jian is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has been with the CRI since September 2016, building web applications to facilitate research. Previously, he worked at Dunn Solutions in Skokie, IL, where he was a consultant focused on building web applications for customers. Jian has expertise across a variety of facets of web development, including database management, front-end development, and back-end programming languages such as Java, C#, and Ruby.
Clinical Research Data Warehouse
Clinical Research Data Warehouse
Timothy Holper, MS, MA
Director of Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence
Timothy leads the architecture, development, and operations of the Clinical Research Data Warehouse (CRDW) team, whose primary focus is bringing disparate data sources into the CRDW and making this data available to the researcher community through a standard data request process. With advanced degrees in Computer Science as well as Social Science Research and Statistics, Timothy brings together data warehousing expertise and a deep understanding of research data. Prior to joining the CRI, Timothy developed research applications in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, working on predictive statistical models and parallel processing algorithms. He developed social science databases for crime mapping in public housing and program evaluations such as the City of Chicago’s Community Policing program. Timothy aspires for the CRI to make a significant impact on the volume and quality of data available to researchers in the Biological Sciences Division through the efforts of the CRDW team.
George 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.
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.
Stacie Landron, MS, RN
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.
Tom has over 10 years of experience in patient care, research and journalism. His work with the CRDW focuses on collaborating with investigators in the department of neurology and contributing to various data science projects. During his graduate work at UChicago’s Biomedical Informatics program, he researched more efficacious methods of transferring clinical trial data. He also holds certifications in data science from IBM and healthcare informatics from UChicago. A lifelong Midwesterner, he attended The University of Michigan-Dearborn and worked as an editor and writer after graduating in 2007. When he’s not crunching data, Tom enjoys movies, basketball and bicycling around Hyde Park.
Tom Sutton, MS
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.
Clinical Research Informatics
Clinical Research Informatics
Julie Johnson, PhD, MPH, RN
Interim Executive Director, CRI
Associate Director, Clinical Research Informatics
Julie has more than 15 years of clinical and healthcare experience as a nurse, analyst, teaching assistant, research assistant, and clinical program coordinator. As part of the CRDW team, she works directly with stakeholders to translate their research questions into optimized requests for the technical team. In addition, she is a guest speaker for the Office of Clinical Research’s monthly research series and an instructor for the Fundamentals of Clinical Research course and SPORT program. Julie is a 1999 graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, a 2003 graduate of The University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) School of Public Health, and received her PhD in 2018 from UIC’s College of Nursing.
Clinical Research Informatics Analyst
Cristina has 6+ years of experience in project management and regulatory management. She started at the University of Chicago in 2018 and joined the CRI in 2020. As part of the CRDW team, she liaisons between the research teams and the technical team to facilitate the data needed for clinical and translational research projects. For the University, Cristina is also the co-chair of the Hispanic/LatinX Resource Group. She graduated from Bradley University (Peoria, Illinois) with her Bachelors and completed a Masters at the Universidad Externado de Colombia (Bogota, Colombia).
Tiffany Cyrus, MBA
Tiffany has been with the CRI since 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Northwestern University and her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She also holds an advanced certificate in Project Management. Tiffany has used her expertise to manage and support projects across the CRI’s CRDW, Applications Development, and IT Infrastructure & Scientific Computing teams, as well as governance groups.
IT Infrastructure & Scientific Computing
IT Infrastructure & Scientific Computing
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.
Manager 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.
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.
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.
Senior Systems Administrator
Joe has more than 15 years of experience in various IT roles from support to architect, with a constant focus on automation. He has worked with audit and compliance frameworks for data security and financial services, including SOC 2, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Most recently, he worked in the SaaS world with a focus on on resiliency and scalability. Outside of work, he focuses on analog hobbies like fermentation and growing food.
Lois joined CRI in August 2017. In her previous position, she assisted the 2016 president of the American Physical Society in formulating his presidential platform, focusing on diversity initiatives. She also developed a significant portfolio in national science policy matters. Lois recently started graduate studies at the University of Chicago, with the intention of earning a PhD in environmental chemistry. Her interests include science policy and public outreach, women and URMs in the STEM pipeline, and sustainable development.
Keith Danahey, MS
Senior Programmer – Pharmacogenomics
Keith is a software developer who has been with the CRI since its inception in 2011. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in computer information systems from Northwestern, and a master’s in analytics from the University of Chicago. Keith is currently the lead developer on the 1200 Patients Project, a pharmacogenomics implementation that helps physicians make prescription decisions based on a patient’s particular genomic makeup. He is an author on nine peer-reviewed publications.
Yoav 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.
Caitlin is involved across the Biological Sciences Division in communication strategy, design, writing, and website development. She has worked with the CRI since 2012 and had a leading role in establishing our website, identity, and educational programming. In addition to the CRI, she works with the Pediatric Cancer Data Commons, BSD Dean’s Office, and Office for Master’s Education to plan and create communication strategies and content. Caitlin received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Outside of work, she is a yoga teacher and textile artist.
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.