Meet the Team

Michael F. Wells, PhD

Creator and co-director

Postdoctoral Fellow, Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT

Michael F. Wells, PhD is the creator and co-director of the COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database. Dr. Wells launched this initiative with the hopes of harnessing and deploying the passion and talents of scientists throughout the United States as together we fight this pandemic. Outside of the NSVD, Dr. Wells is a K99/R00 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute and the Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. His research focuses on the impact of genetic variation on human brain development and susceptibility to viral infection, and his work has been published in top scientific journals including Nature, Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Neuron, and Nature Neuroscience. Dr. Wells is also the co-founder of The Wishart Group, a non-profit led by Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos that aims to improve the mental well-being of artists and musicians.

Kevin Schallert

Co-director

Partner, Chambre LP

Kevin is supporting the efforts of the COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database as co-director. He took a leave of absence as managing partner at Chambre LP to volunteer fulltime on coronavirus response and is interested in expanding net COVID-19 surveillance capacity by deploying creative and nontraditional resources like America’s underutilized academic science community. Kevin’s professional background is in high growth startups and mathematical programming, and he very much enjoys Rhône wines and sailing.

Crystal Lantz, PhD

Government Outreach Director

Visiting Faculty Specialist, University of Maryland

Crystal L. Lantz, PhD is the Government Outreach Coordinator and serves on the Access Approval Task Force. She is a Visiting Faculty Specialist at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Biology. She is a neurobiologist studying how experience influences the development and function of neural circuits in the visual system. Her work examines the harmful effects of early life toxin exposure on anatomic and physiologic markers of brain plasticity, as well as non-invasive methods to restore brain plasticity and normal vision. She recently served as an Early Career Policy Ambassador for the Society for Neuroscience and has dedicated much of her time to science outreach in her community; increasing scientific literacy and encouraging a future generation of scientists.
Website: www.cllantz.com
Twitter: @cllantz

Shannon Kozlovich, PhD

Communications Director

Program Manager, Equality California

Shannon is a tobacco research scientist and tobacco control advocate. As an activist with an earnest desire to save the world she volunteered with the National Scientist Volunteer Database to amplify the message that scientists are a national resource that can be leveraged in a public health crisis. Shannon currently works at Equality California managing a tobacco control program aimed at reducing tobacco-related health disparities in the LGBT community. Shannon holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Washington State University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education where she researched the impact of nicotine on cancer treatments, how menthol increases the health impact of tobacco use, and the metabolism of the most potent cancer-causing compound in tobacco. In her free time, she listens to audio recordings of US Supreme Court Cases while knitting geeky hats.
Twitter: @KozlovichS

Daniel Munro, PhD

Website Manager

Postdoctoral Fellow, Scripps Research and UC San Diego

Daniel Munro built and manages the covid19sci.org website. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps Research and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry. He studies the effects of genetic variation on gene regulation, and how these effects in the brain influence addiction. He received his PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton University.
Website: danmun.ro

Katie Mueller

Community Outreach Lead

Graduate Research Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Katie Mueller is a graduate student at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and the cofounder of the Wisconsin Biomedical Technician Rapid Response Team. After organizing volunteers in her local area, she joined forces with the team at NSVD to train new community leaders and extend the network of opportunities for NSVD volunteers. Katie is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working on genome editing strategies for T cell immunotherapies. She is an advocate for improving mental health conditions in the graduate training environment, and has an avid interest in inclusive pedagogy in higher education. When not in the lab, Katie freelances as a classical vocalist in the Madison area.

Christine Romano, PhD

Access Approval Task Force, Community Leader for the Pacific Northwest

LinkedIn: christinearomano
Twitter: @c_aromano
Instagram: c_aromano

Tim Lee

Data Architect

Business Intelligence Consultant, Dell Technologies

Tim works to ensure the security and integrity of your data while also providing operational and analytical support for the NSVD volunteer group. For his day job, he leads a team of business analysts and data engineers for Dell Technologies who provide analytical insights to help improve the customer experience and business performance.

Manish Gupta

Database & Email Manager

Principal, DBSentry Corp.

Aaron Green

Strategic Projects

Principal, Iridium Consulting

Aaron is interfacing the NSVD with partnering organizations and community leaders.

Ben Aldern

Database Manager

CEO and Co Founder, Prestozon

Ben has worked as a data scientist and engineer at several startups in San Francisco and uses that experience to make sure the Volunteer Scientist Database is reliable and easy to use.

Vincent Law

Testing Sites Database Collection Lead

Senior Research Associate, Department of Neuro-Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Intitute

Vincent Law joined the NSVD in hopes to lend a hand during medical and health crisis in the community. He is one of the leads assisting the organization on testing site capacities information and understanding their needs. Graduated in Canada, he is currently a researcher in Tampa, Florida, specialized in tumor biology of brain metastasis and leptomeningeal disease.

Laüra Gaitan

Feedback Lead

PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Laüra coordinates communication between volunteers and members of the NSVD. She is pursuing her docotoral degree in marine biology, focused on the ecology of the sponge holobiont in the Caribbean. She has limited SciComm experience, but graduated with a minor in English Literature, and is enthusiastic about getting the job done! She is Colombian, has lived in the Dominican Republic and the USA, and is bilingual (mi lengua materna es el Español). She spends her spare time teaching and learning from her border collie puppy, Skadi. She briefly considered giving up on her scientific persuits to become an etologist.

Alexandra Colón-Rodríguez, PhD

Social Media Lead & Spanish Translator

Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Davis

Alexandra (Alex) Colón-Rodriguez, PhD is a Social Media Coordinator and Spanish Translator at NSVD. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Davis College of Biological Sciences. Her position involves neuroscience and science communication. Her research work focuses in understanding the effects of single parenting in the amygdala of parents and offspring. Her SciComm work includes developing a SciComm training program for faculty at UC Davis in collaboration with UC San Diego.

Ian Kerman

Data Engineer

Senior Strategic Technical Specialist, Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA

Ian is assisting the COVID-19 NSVD group with data pipelining and visualization. Ian has a background in bioinformatics and leads the Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA Innovation Center in San Diego, CA. Ian also volunteers at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego as a Volunteer Scientist and is an avid SCUBA diver.

Shruti Muralidhar

Social Media Lead

Postdoctoral associate, Picower institute, MIT

Shruti is a Social Media Coordinator at the NSVD. Currently, she works at the Picower Institute at MIT on understanding the role of inhibitory interneurons in learning and memory. She is also the contributing editor and co-founder of an Indian Science Communication collective called IndSciComm, that does scicomm to an Indian audience along with helping Indian and Indian-origin scientists improve their science communication skills. As part of this collective, she writes and helps produce podcasts in multiple Indian languages.

Sally James

Social Media Strategy Consultant

Journalist/writer/editor

Sally James is a freelance writer in Seattle who writes about biotechnology and research for magazines. She also volunteers in health literacy projects, and writes about the science of science communication.

Tracy Faustermann

State Testing Policy Coordinator / Access Approval Task Force

Biopharm Technical Specialist, BSc

Tracy originally joined NSVD to volunteer her molecular skills in the lab. However, she realized much more work needed to be done in order to make this possible. Using her industry experience, Tracy has helped start initiatives to mobilize testing resources at the state level and has also assisted NSVD with setting up an approval panel to help determine which entities should be allowed access to our volunteer’s private and sensitive data.

Jonathan Stricker

Community Outreach Lead

Research Assistant, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Jonathan Stricker is a research technician in the neurology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. At the NSVD, he helps coordinate links between local organizers, figure out solutions in local efforts, and connect volunteers to resources. He is passionate about public health and bioethics, and is considering pursuing graduate degrees in both.

Marissa Hirst, PhD

Community leader for the Pacific Northwest

Senior Bioinformatician

Marissa Hirst, PhD is a community lead for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) along with Christine Romano, PhD. Dr. Hirst and Dr. Romano hope to increase testing, reduce backlogs in testing and help facilitate labs in transitioning to Covid-19 testing across OR and WA. Outside of volunteering, Dr. Hirst is an independent bioinformatics contractor working on a variety of diseases, but specializing in bulk RNA-seq, single-cell RNA-seq, metagenomic, ChIP-seq, etc. analyses primarily in R. She also has expertise in building web applications through R-Shiny.

Forrest Allen

Data Analyst

Data Analyst, Unity Technologies, Live Data Platform

Forrest supports and builds NSVD data usability enhancements. He is a SF based data scientist, bluegrass musician and mountain climber.

Gajen Sunthara

Lokalus Lead & Overall Technology Strategy

Former Presidential Innovation Fellow, PIF.gov

Former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow and member of the USDS. 1upHealth founder and Harvard Medical School Advisor.

Jeffrey M. Shaver

Arkansas State Coordinator

Associate Professor, University of Arkansas Fort Smith

I am currently an Associate Professor in Biology at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS). I earned my Bachelors of Science in Biology and Biology Education from Purdue University, and my PhD in Biology from the University of Washington. At UAFS, my collaborative research currently focuses on monitoring changes in microbiomes and mycobiomes with tall grass prairie restoration, and the effects of aphid infestation and chloroplast membrane saturation on the abundance and structure of chloroplast DNA. I am also hoping to support COVID-19 testing of sewage effluent in our state.

Payal D. Maharaj

California State Coordinator

Former Microbiologist, CDC

I am a virologist by training. I was formerly a Microbiologist/Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Division for Vectorborne Disease. My broad research interests include investigating host-virus interactions modulating differential host competences of arboviruses. I recently served as the Young U.S. Ambassador to Colorado for the American Society of Microbiology. I am also pretty passionate about science outreach in underrepresented communities. Seeing the global impact of COVID-19 has motivated me to try to use all my scientific skills towards combating this virus in any way. This is what we all trained for.

Ian Hudson

California State Coordinator

Associate Scientist, Provivi, Inc.

I’ve worked in agriculture and entomology for 15 years in both the public and private sector. In my previous position, at the County of San Diego, I was my department’s union steward with SEIU 221. I’ve recently moved to Los Angeles but continue to seek opportunities to organize in support of people and the planet.

Elena Vasileva

California State Coordinator

Postdoctoral Researcher, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, USC

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, USC. I am interested in studying the molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression. I developed an inducible zebrafish model of human EWS-FLI-driven Ewing Sarcoma to better define the disease biology and to identify new targets for therapy. COVID-19 is changing the world around us and I would like to be a part of the movement to fight it.
Twitter: @evasilevasci

Nadia Raytselis

Maryland/DC State Coordinator

Postbac Research Fellow, NIH

Nadia Raytselis is a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. She is currently studying malaria, specifically parasite/host interactions and vector immunity. After her fellowship at NIH ends, she is interested in pursuing a PhD in the field of infectious disease. She joined the NSVD team because she is passionate about working on public health issues, and saw many scientists wanting to get involved with COVID-19 efforts, but not knowing what organizations were in need of volunteers. She hopes that NSVD will be able to help mitigate this issue, making strides toward improving COVID-19 testing capacity and other public health needs.

Michael Ruiz

Massachusetts State Coordinator

Engineer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Innovative and entrepreneurial engineer with 10 years of administrative and technical experience in leading engineering projects, improving products and services, and providing operational support within highly regulated industries. I became motivated to become a State Coordinator almost immediately following the lockdown. I have been a local volunteer community organizer for various social/cultural issues and have now turned my focus on COVID-19 relief efforts.

Matthew Tegtmeyer

New England Coordinator

Graduate student, Broad Institute

I am a molecular genetics graduate student working between the Broad Institute and King’s College London. Additionally, I serve a consulting role within the private biotech industry.
I have a background in political science and health administration and recognize the increasing importance of mobilizing basic science researchers to assist in large scale efforts to support public health measures.

Dennis Deluca

Ohio State Coordinator

Associate Professor, Ohio Northern University

Inimary Toby, PhD

Texas State Coordinator

Assistant Professor, University of Dallas

Dr Inimary Toby holds a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from The Ohio State University, College of Medicine. Having worked in industry, federal government, and academic labs, she has expertise in Systems Biology, Bioinformatics and Genomics. Dr Toby’s research program at the University of Dallas is focused on the use of wet bench and computational methods to assess sequence data as a means to better understand the cellular/molecular consequences of lung diseases. She enjoys mentoring research students and promoting Bioinformatics education. The ability to bridge the gap between community leaders, key decision makers, and scientific experts is her primary motivation for joining the efforts as an NSVD state coordinator for the state of Texas. Faculty bio
“Dovresti sempre mostrare amore a tutti”

Raad Khan

Virginia/DC State Coordinator

Graduate Student, The University of Oxford/Howard University

Hi everyone! My name is Raad and I am a cancer researcher and drug discovery and development scientist at Howard University. My background is in biology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceutical science. I was motivated to become a state coordinator because I wanted to ensure that scientists could generate a strong response to the current pandemic.

Shakuntala Choudhury

PPE Data Support

Data Scientist and Adjunct Professor, William Paterson University

Shankuntala (Lata) Choudhury, PhD has focused her career on analytics. She has been part of the evolution of Big Data data mining and use of these sophisticated insights across various industries. In recent years, she has had significant exposure to cognitive technologies in the context of financial, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and retail industries. She is an AT&T retiree and is currently Adjunct Professor of Machine Learning at William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ. Her expertise is in predictive modeling, analytics, time-series forecasting, demography/population studies, biostatistics, marketing research, financial forecasting, data mining and quality assurance.
Currently her Capstone projects on COVID-19 Data Science has been published in researchgate.com. Her expertise include thought leadership in Data Science and Statistical computing tools like SAS, R, Python and SQL, as well as Visualization tools like Power BI and Tableau. In community service, she joined NSVD to combat COVID-19 in USA and the rest of the world.

Shaniah Pereida

California State Coordinator

Loma Linda-Scribe America

COVID-19 has caused distress not only on patients and healthcare providers but the entire nation. Being a part of NSVD will provide resources to local groups and hopefully my involvement will make a difference in my local community.

Nupur Verma

Washington State Coordinator

Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF / University of Cambridge

Nupur Verma is a life science enthusiast with a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and a postdoctoral fellow from the University of California, San Francisco. Her research expertise is de novo drug discovery and structural biology. She has worked on developing new medicines for the treatment of tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Currently, she is working as a subject matter expert with Crowdfight COVID-19 (an initiative by the scientific community to fight against COVID-19) on a pro-bono basis. With a desire to accelerate COVID-19 research and testing in Washington, she joined forces with the NSVD as a State Coordinator to effectively channelize the volunteering opportunities in her state.

Gary Chizever, MD

Co-Coordinator, Consulting Service

Zerobase Foundation - Volunteer CMO

Physician and former engineer - experience in surgery, public health and disaster response.

Dr Jeremy Rossman

Lead, Consulting Service

President, Research-Aid Networks

Dr Jeremy Rossman is a virologist, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Virology at the University of Kent and President of the non-profit organisation, Research-Aid Networks. Jeremy has conducted collaborative interdisciplinary research on the molecular biology of pandemic-causing viruses, international epidemic responses, evidence-based humanitarian aid and science education. His organization, Research-Aid Networks, facilitates collaborative and evidence-based approaches for assessing need, delivering aid, evaluating effectiveness and achieving long-term sustainable community development, worldwide. Jeremy is coordinating local community outreach efforts at endcoronavirus.org and providing expert guidance to the NSVD consulting service.