Directors of the MetaSUB International Consortium


Christopher Mason

Principal Investigator & CO-FOUNDER

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.


Krista Ryon


Krista Ryon 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 assisting in coordinating 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. In 2021, Krista was appointed to the role of Executive Director of the MetaSUB Consortium.


Braden Tierney

Director of informatics

Dr. Braden Tierney completed his Ph. D. in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School at the labs of Alex Kostic and Chirag Patel. His studies focused on the intersection of microbiology, bioengineering, and machine learning. Dr. Tierney joined Weill Cornell in 2021 as a postdoctoral associate working on metagenomics and data science. Braden completed his undergraduate in Biology and Economics at Duke University. 


Evan Afshin


Dr. Evan Afshin completed his B.A. in Environmental Science with Honors in Math and Natural Science concentration at the Macaulay Honors College at Queens College and his M.D. with Distinctions in Biomedical Research and Medical Education at New York Medical College. He joined the Mason Lab in 2013 and has directed projects from 2015 to 2017, most notably leading the PathoMap project. Evan co-founded the MetaSUB International Consortium with Dr. Mason in 2015 and now serves as the Clinical Director. He is passionate about community outreach and education and his research interests focus on the intersection and translation of metagenomics and the microbiome with medicine and global health. 


David Danko

Director of bioinformatics EMeritUS

Dr. David Danko completed his Ph. D. in the Mason and Hajirasouliha Labs in 2021. He is also 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.

Dr. Danko currently is the Director of Software Engineering and Bioinformatics at Biotia.


Benjamin Young

Executive Director EMERITUS

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. Benjamin is currently working for Tempus, Inc.


Daniela Bezdan

Executive Director EMERITUS

Dr. 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.