Translational & Cancer Bioinformatics Laboratory

Lab Members

Nattapon Thanintorn

Graduate Research Assistant
PhD student (Translational and Cancer Bioinformatics)

I am a PhD student in Translational Bioinformatics under supervision of Dr. Dmitriy Shin. My research interest focuses on translational bioinformatics in cancer, pathway analysis, semantics, knowledge representation and knowledge complexity reduction.

My curiosity and interest to study informatics and life science began with a bar of chocolate. I am a chocoholic. It may sound peculiar, but through years of life I have been observing some symptoms, such as fever-like symptom and dizziness, after eating chocolate. Yet I enjoy eating it, but very little to keep myself safe from the symptoms. After self-study, I found out that the symptoms may be resulted from epigenetics and nutrigenomics. Since then my life has drifted from a white-collar to a life science informatics enthusiast. I would like to be an expert in translational bioinformatics and uncover the miracles of –omics power on a living being in the hope that one day I could enjoy chocolate without worrying about the effects on my body.



Zainab Al-Taie

Graduate Research Assistant
PhD student

Hometown: Baghdad, Iraq
Undergraduate School: University of Baghdad
Personal Statement: I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Baghdad. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Missouri-Columbia. In 2016, I started my PhD in Informatics Institute in University of Missouri-Columbia. My desire to use Computer Science not only to make life easier but also to save human life compelled me to focus on Translational Informatics and specifically on personalized medicine for cancer patients. My PhD research focuses on using Computer Science algorithms to solve biomedical problems, such as reducing the complexity of human biological networks to get a better understanding for the cancer and metastasis.
Research Interests: Biomedical Informatics and precision medicine.
Long-term plans: Continue my research in translational informatics.



Ilker Ersoy, PhD

Postdoctorate Fellow, Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

A postdoctorate fellow in Digital Pathology and Biomedical Imaging and Analysis.



Mikhail Kovalenko

Pathology Informatics Analyst
NIH NLM Biomedical BD2K T32 NRSA Fellow
PhD student (Biomedical Imaging Informatics)

A PhD student of Biomedical Imaging Informatics at MU Informatics Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Shin. Has a MS in Electrical Engineering from Moscow State Agro-Engineering University in Moscow, Russia. Research interests: bioimaging, whole-slide imaging and analytics, translational bioinformatics.



Pericles Giannaris

Graduate Research Assistant
PhD student

I’m a doctoral student in the University of Missouri Informatics Institute and a research assistant in Dr. Shin’ Cancer and Translational Bioinformatics Laboratory in the MU School of Medicine. My background in Communication Studies and Systems Thinking has given me the theoretical foundation in complex communication networks while my current Informatics studies and research introduce me to advanced computational methods for analyzing the information flow in communication networks. I do research at the intersection of genomic information, text processing, statistics, and social and semantic networks. More specifically, I focus on the information exchange for uncovering implicit communication between healthcare providers. The aim of my research is to re-engineer healthcare communication structures for efficient communication transactions in the era of genomics. When I’m not researching the realm of healthcare communication I like to maintain my antique showing machine and fixing my old heavy desk while I disorient my radio needle between classical, jazz, and country music.



Steven Hanson

Graduate Research Assistant
PhD student

Steven studies the influence of environment and genetics on biomarkers of diabetes, primarily focusing on HbA1c and the potential role race may play in the relationship between HbA1c and glycemia. He is currently developing workflows for using variant data to derive networks actively involved in translating physiological processes to diabetes biomarkers.



Olha Kholod

Graduate Research Assistant
PhD student

Hometown: Kyiv, Ukraine
Undergraduate School: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Personal Statement: I graduated with Master's degree in Pathology from University of Missouri-Columbia. My research was dedicated to transcriptome analysis of pediatric pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. Having experience in cancer genomics, I have always been curious about how to reduce the dimensionality of genomic data and effectively translate multiple layers of biological information into clinical practice. My PhD research is aimed at developing translational genomic tools for personalized medicine, specifically to design a novel computational models for improving risk profiling, therapy specificity and treatment efficacy for patients with multifactorial diseases, such as hematological cancers. I am strongly convinced that translational bioinformatics approach is inevitable in applying voluminous genomic data into improved personalized health care in the future.
Research Interests: Translational bioinformatics, cancer genomics and computational models for big data analysis.
Long-term plans: I hope to continue my career in academia and lead a group that will develop genome-based computational tools for precision medicine. By integrating molecular data at multiple levels of regulation including genomes, transcriptomes, metabolomes, proteomes and functional networks, novel associations can be investigated along with improve insight in gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. This innovative approach transforms the way medical doctors will treat patients with complex diseases and allow me to make significant contributions to improving the health of people all around the world.



Yu Li

Rotating PhD student (Computer Science)

Advisor: Chi-Ren Shyu

Yu focuses on human visual search and reasoning processes and computational model of visual search strategies. He is also interested in temporal mining and frequent pattern mining algorithms with application to visual search models and diagnostic knowledge discovery. His work at the Translational & Cancer Bioinformatics Laboratory mainly concerns the visual reasoning strategy for pathologists. Here we record and analyze the eye movements of pathologists while they examining whole slide images.



Marshal Huang

Rotating PhD student (Informatics)

Advisor: Xiaoqin Zou

Marshal will be joining a biophysics laboratory under Dr. Zou dealing with protein crystal structures, more specifically dealing with improving existing protein-docking algorithms, elucidating theoretical protein-protein interactions, and also discovering protein-cofactor structural relationships that can be generalized across protein families or domains. He is also interested in developing more refined ontologies applied to protein crystal data for more efficient structural information retrieval and storage, which would aid in the development of novel pharmaceuticals and the development of better biophysical theories. His work at the Translational & Cancer Bioinformatics Laboratory was to apply the ideas of pathway analysis and in silico pathway growth to discover a novel connection between a protein involved in cholesterol synthesis (LSS) and an apoptotic pathway observed in canonically up-regulated cancer mechanisms. He was also exposed to the ideas of precision medicine and morphoproteomics, and the potential of integrating the new era of personalized medicine with existing structural protein analysis techniques and bioinformatic resources.



Megha Verma

Internship Student

Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
High School: Hickman High School
Personal Statement: I decided to pursue research as a high school student because I had always been interested in the scientific field and wanted to gain experience to decide if wanted to pursue it as a career. I saw translation medicine as a very captivating field due to the implications that it could have in the field of medicine. I started interning in Dr. Shin’s lab the summer after my sophomore year and worked on expanding the depth of my knowledge in topics such as the biological sciences and computer science while also assisting in some lab research. Currently, my internship experience is focused on gaining research skills through assisting in literature review and gaining clinical experience.
Research Interests: Translational medicine, Bioinformatics.
Long-term plans: I plan on continuing my interest in research through my undergraduate years and pursuing a medical degree.



Shin, Aleks

Internship Student

  • Hometown: Moscow, Russia
  • Undergraduate School: University of Missouri
  • Personal Statement: Medicine has always interested me as a way of helping people through science. Interning in the lab has been an interesting and educational experience that has helped me explore more areas of medicine and medical research.
  • Research Interests: Radiology, Pathology, Oncology
  • Long-term plans: Practicing medicine and medical research.