Directors of the MetaSUB International Consortium

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Benjamin Young

Executive Director

Benjamin received his Bachelor’s in biophysical science from Syracuse University and his Master’s in Biotechnology from Columbia University in the City of New York. Benjamin has been a researcher in Dr. Mason’s lab since 2018 during which time he has been involved in projects within the fields of metagenomics and human cell line engineering. Before becoming the executive director of the MetaSUB Consortium, Benjamin lead sampling, logistics, and metadata coordination for the project. Benjamin co-founded a biotech startup in the field of therapeutic biologics delivery and cell encapsulation in 2018.

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Christopher Mason

Principal Investigator

Dr. Christopher Mason completed his dual B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry (2001) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Ph.D. in Genetics (2006) from Yale University, and then completed post-doctoral training in clinical genetics (2009) at Yale Medical School while jointly a post-doctoral Fellow of Genomics, Ethics, and Law at Yale Law School (2009). He is currently an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, with appointments at the Tri-Institutional Program in Computational Biology and Medicine between Cornell, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University, the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute.

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David Danko

Director of bioinformatics

David Danko is a Ph. D. student in the Mason and Hajirasouliha Labs and the Director of Bioinformatics for MetaSUB. He joined Weill-Cornell in 2016 working on metagenomics and algorithms for third-generation sequencing.

Prior to joining Weill Cornell, David did his undergraduate in Computer Science at MIT and studied at the Oxford Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology.

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Krista Ryon

Deputy director

Krista received her Bachelor’s in Biology with a concentration in Bioinformatics from CUNY Hunter College in New York City, United States. A long time resident of New York, Krista first worked with MetaSUB in 2017 as a coordinator for gCSD New York City with the Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC) of Weill Cornell. Before joining the MetaSUB leadership Krista worked on clinical research centered around neurodegenerative diseases, specifically identifying risk factors for Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Krista joined Dr. Mason’s laboratory in 2019 and has since been involved with many projects within the field of microbiology, metagenomics and data analyses. As of 2020, Krista was appointed the position of Deputy Director of the MetaSUB Consortium.

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Ebrahim Afshinnekoo

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Ebrahim Afshinnekoo is a fourth year medical student at New York Medical College and a Medical Student Research Fellow in the Mason Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine. He has directed the metagenomics projects in Dr. Mason’s laboratory from 2015 to 2017, most notably leading the PathoMap project. Ebrahim co-founded the MetaSUB International Consortium with Dr. Mason in 2015 and now serves as the Clinical Director. He is passionate about education and community outreach, leading and designing many workshops and curricula on the subject of the microbiome, metagenomics, and bioinformatic analyses. Ebrahim’s research interests focus on the translation of metagenomic approaches to the clinical arena.

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Daniela Bezdan

Executive Director EMERITUS

Daniela Bezdan started her education in organic chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Stuttgart. During her Master’s studies at EMBL Heidelberg/Germany and her PhD at the Max-Plank-Institute in Germany she focused on gene regulation and  next generation sequencing (NGS). After her Ph.D. she studied bacterial adaptation processes at UC San Diego. In 2016 she was recruited by Dr. Christopher Mason at Weil Cornell Medicine as a Research Director. During her time at WCM Daniela lead the MetaSUB Consortium, co-founded several biotechnology startup companies in NYC, lead teams focused on metagenomics, antibiotic resistance transmission and was heavily involved in several NASA studies including Mars Rover, ISS space station environment and the NASA twin study. Daniela is currently serving as the Chief Scientific Officer for Bumrungrad International Hospital.