Meet Our 2023 Summer Interns

The New York Genome Center (NYGC) has launched our 2023 summer internship program, designed to provide students with hands-on mentorship from an assigned mentor in one of our research labs, support groups, or administrative departments. In addition to having the opportunity to gain exposure to our genomics research and interact with our scientists and administrators, our interns will be able to participate in a wide variety of events scheduled for the group, including weekly workshops, presentations, career panels, social events, among others throughout the program. Our interns this year will be working directly with our various Faculty Labs, the Production Lab, the Clinical Lab, the Technology Innovation Lab, Computational Biology, Software Engineering, Project Management, and Accounting. Please join us in welcoming our interns to the NYGC this summer!

Salma Amin | Intern, Phatnani Lab

Salma Amin is an intern working with the Phatnani lab based at Columbia University as part of the the Center for Integrated Cellular Analysis Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Single-Cell Genomics.

Salma is a rising Junior at the University of Michigan pursuing a major in biomedical engineering and a minor in electrical engineering. Outside of her courses, she works as a research assistant in the Nagrath lab at UMICH. She also has experience working on medical device development. In her free time, she enjoys painting and reading.

Nischal Bhandari | Intern, Computational Biology

Nischal Bhandari is an Intern working with the Computational Biology group at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

Nischal was born and raised in Nepal. Currently he is in Mahwah, NJ, pursuing undergraduate studies in Bioinformatics and Data Science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

He is curious about life and its granular, molecular details. He has experiences of doing computational and wet-bench experiments related to disease progression and protein expression. Nischal is gradually fascinated with the advancements in biological data collection. Therefore, he wants to hone his skills to be able to recognize patterns in the biological sample data that will help humanity to better understand disease pathways and design effective interventions.

Besides his academic pursuits, Nischal loves writing, walking, traveling, volunteering, and watching movies. 

Nischal is amazed by the work being done at NYGC and extremely grateful for the internship that grants access to cutting-edge technology and mentorship. He is beyond excited to intern at the Center this summer and continue his path forward to an intellectually stimulating research career.

Michelle Brose | Intern, Satija Lab

Michelle Brose is an intern working with the Satija Lab at NYGC as part of the the Center for Integrated Cellular Analysis Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Single-Cell Genomics

Michelle is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where she was a nontraditional student studying biology. She was a 2022 Fellow of the RNA Institute and a 2023 Fellow of the Tikkun Olam Makers Foundation. Her hobbies include laser cutting artwork from medieval illuminated manuscripts, and Japanese calligraphy using the ShodoBot, a mechanism for computer control of a brush based on a 3D printer. 

Michelle hopes to use bioinformatic and computational genomics methods to study Charcot-Marie-Tooth and other rare diseases someday.

Adja Camara | Intern, Gürsoy Lab

Adja Camara is an intern working with the Gürsoy Lab at Columbia University as part of the Ernest E. Just Biomedical Scholar Summer Internship Program.

Adja is a junior biology major on the pre-med track at Spelman College, the number one historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the country. She is a FACES scholar as part of the FACES for the Future program, a Spirited Pearls scholar, and a Spelman Path Forward scholar. She is from Bolingbrook, IL, and has a passion for community service and acting. Her career aspirations are to open her own medical research conglomerate in a low-income community like the one that surrounds many HBCUs across the country, including her own. She lives by the sentiment, “To be healthy should not be considered a luxury,” and wants this idea to influence everyone she meets. 

Throughout her matriculation through Spelman College, Adja has had the privilege of obtaining several roles but most recently became the President of Spelman’s Pre-Physician Associate Association and the 87th Miss Maroon and White 1st Attendant. She is most excited for her journey to Columbia and hopes to continue to learn her way around the lab and the human genome.

Emily Cha | Intern, Sanjana Lab

Emily Cha is an intern working with the Sanjana Lab at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

She is currently heading into her fourth year at McGill University doing a double liberal major in Anatomy & Cell Biology and Statistics. She has been working in several different labs at McGill, including a behavioral neuroscience lab and a physiology lab along with her studies. During her internship, the project she will be working on is to assist in generating and validating cell models for CRISPR screening of human disease-causing genetic variants.

Emily grew up on the east coast of Canada, and in her free time, she loves to explore outdoor activities such as hiking or golf! She also really enjoys trying out new restaurants and studying in cafes.

Ting Chen | Intern, Knowles Lab

Ting Chen is an intern working in the Knowles lab at NYGC.

Ting is a MS student in Computer Science at Columbia University. He received his BS in Computer Science and Mathematical Economics from the University of Richmond where he worked on argument mining systems within the field of natural language processing. He has also worked as a machine learning software engineer, focused on recommender systems. Currently he is interested in applying Bayesian methods and deep learning to genomics, in particular to alternative splicing and variant effect prediction. Outside of the lab, Ting enjoys hiking, swimming, and cooking.

Elias Ciudad | Intern, Satija Lab

Elias Ciudad is an intern working with the Satija Lab at NYGC as part of the the Center for Integrated Cellular Analysis Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Single-Cell Genomics.

Elias was born and raised in Peru, well-known for its gastronomical richness. He is majoring in bioinformatics at St. Mary’s University and working on annotation of insulin-signaling pathway genes in Drosophila melanogaster. He has played the euphonium in wind ensembles since middle school and participates in his hometown’s music parades and gigs. Elias is also obsessed with capybaras. New York City has always been attractive to him because of its walkability, diversity, and rich musicality and artistic venues.

He is most excited about all the computational methods for bioinformatics applied at the NYGC and single-cell science advancements, which will help him achieve his goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics/Genomics.

Emmanuel Claude Matthew Cordina | Intern, Vicković Lab

Emmanuel Cordina is an intern working with the Vicković Lab at NYGC as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Columbia University.

After completing his undergrad in Telecom Paris, he is currently pursuing his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. Emmanuel aspires to continue his research in Computational Biology, specializing in the field of Genomics through his Ph.D., and looks to contribute to valuable findings, both to the scientific community and for the betterment of society. At NYGC, he will be working on developing algorithms to enhance the resolution of spatial transcriptomic data.

Born and raised in Paris, Emmanuel has always had a passion for the arts and science. He is a pianist and is always curious to learn about new topics. He looks to bring his energy and enthusiasm to the team at the NYGC and looks forward to working with everyone.

Jolie Crunelle | Intern, Production Lab

Jolie Crunelle is an intern working with the Sequencing Lab at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program. 

Jolie just finished up her third year of a five-year dual degree in Biomedical Engineering / Science, Technology, and Public Policy. She was born and raised in Charleston, SC, but now goes to school at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in western NY. She stumbled into the field of BME by combining her love for creative problem-solving and the desire to impact the lives of people around her. She’s previously worked in medical device engineering as well as pharmaceutical policy research, so is excited to try something new this summer!

Outside of classes, Jolie is a member of Hot Wheelz, an all-female solar car design/manufacture/race team at RIT. She’s also a proud dog mom and plant lady.

Fionna Feerick | Intern, Knowles Lab

Fionna Feerick is an intern working with the Knowles Lab at NYGC as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome.

Fionna was raised in Pembroke, MA, and is a rising senior at Stevens Institute of Technology working on her B.S. in Pure and Applied Mathematics while minoring in Biology. As current captain of the Varsity Cross Country and Track & Field team at Stevens, she enjoys running, hiking, and other outdoor activities during her free time. 

Fionna’s interest in disease research was sparked by her desire to use her passion for mathematics and biology to make a positive impact on the lives of others. She is looking forward to a summer of learning at NYGC.

Anthony Ferrara | Intern, Software Engineering

Anthony Ferrara is an intern working with the Software Engineering team at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

Anthony is a native New Yorker and was born and raised in Queens, NY. He is a senior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics at Queens College, City University of New York, and will be graduating this fall. He has a passion for science and technology, and one of the main things that attracted him to this internship was the fact that he gets to explore his interests in biology while still staying within the realm of software engineering. He is a huge fan of poetry (especially by John Keats), and he loves reading, writing, and sketching in his free time.

Alanna Fields | Intern, Zhu Lab

Alanna Fields is an intern working with the Zhu Lab as part of the the Center for Integrated Cellular Analysis Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Single-Cell Genomics.

Alanna attends Macaulay Honors at CUNY Hunter College. She is a Biochemistry major and is pursuing a certificate in Human Rights. In her free time, she likes to crochet and listen to music.

Craig Fouts | Intern, Vicković Lab

Craig Fouts is an intern working with the Vicković Lab at NYGC as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Columbia University.

Craig is currently a Master’s student in Applied Mathematics at Columbia University, where he works as part of the Computational Morphogenetics Group to develop algorithms for modeling self-organization and morphogenesis. This summer, he will be developing machine learning tools for studying genomic morphology using single-cell data. 

Before arriving in NYC, he received his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Mathematics from The Ohio State University, where he became fascinated with collective behavior and self-organizing systems through his ongoing work with Neural Cellular Automata. Outside of research, Craig enjoys skiing, inline skating, and playing the violin. 

Wilson Green | Intern, Singh Lab

Wilson Green is an intern working with the Singh Lab at NYGC.

Born and raised in San Mateo, CA, Wilson is a proud graduate of The Nueva School. His passion for computational biology led him to the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently pursuing a concentration in computational biology and is expected to graduate in June 2026.

His passion grew while working for UCSF Biomedical Research, utilizing AI to enhance CT imaging. He grew to become particularly interested in the intersections of AI and biology, working on various different algorithms to diagnose tumors. Wilson’s interests outside of biotechnology include Chinese yoyo, playing guitar, tennis, and weightlifting. Wilson is excited to apply his skills and interests to support the research at NYGC, and can’t wait to meet his peers and mentors.

Ashley Kim | Intern, Vicković Lab

Ashley Kim is an intern working with the Vickovic Lab at NYGC as part of the Bonomi Summer Scholars program at Columbia University.

Ashley is a rising senior at Columbia Engineering. Her previous research work was in computational neuroscience at the Columbia Bionet Lab, and in the fall, she will be working at Professor Hod Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab. At NYGC, she will be working on building computer programs for spatial transcriptomic techniques.

She was born and raised in Denver, CO but has previously worked in Washington, DC as both a journalist intern and software developer. She has a passion for hands-on, human-centered engineering and enjoys embarking on creative projects of all kinds. She hopes to contribute well to her research team’s work this summer and looks forward to learning more about cutting-edge bioinformatic technologies. 

Angel Kuo | Intern, Project Management

Angel Kuo is an intern working with the Project Management team at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

Angel was born in Los Angeles, CA, and was raised in San Bernardino County until he moved across the country for college. He is a rising senior at Princeton University in the Neuroscience department and also is pursuing a minor in Chinese (Mandarin) Language & Culture. Outside of class, he is the Art Director and a photographer at the Daily Princetonian, Princeton’s daily student newspaper. Additionally, he is a research assistant in the Psychology department’s Adversity and Relationships in Context lab, which is currently looking at how socioeconomic differences affect the friendships formed by college-aged students.

He is very excited to work with the Project Management team at NYGC, knowing that he’ll be able to combine his long-held interest in the biosciences along with his experience leading groups small and large, and learn more about the inner workings of this organization!

Leeker Lim | Intern, Salehi Lab

Leeker Lin is an intern working with Dr. Sohrab Salehi at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome program at NYGC.

Leeker is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University with interests in chemical biology, computational medicine, and computer science. He is pursuing a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in computer science. Outside of his courses, he works with extremophilic bacteria in Dr. Stephen Fried’s lab to understand their protein stability and folding landscape. He also volunteers at a hospice located in Baltimore. 

During this summer internship, Leeker will work on a project that involves the development of computational methods for the integration of multi-modal single-cell data to understand the mechanisms that pattern metastasis in small-cell lung cancer. Through this project, he aims to explore different computational skill sets and gain a better understanding of cancer cell metastasis.

Sebastian Maurice | Intern, Chambwe Lab

Sebastian Maurice is an intern working with the Chambwe Lab at Northwell Health as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome program at NYGC.

Sebastian is currently a senior undergraduate student at CUNY (the City College of New York), and majors in Biomedical Engineering. His main assignment for the summer will be aiding in analyzing patient-based datasets, to understand how epigenetic features of cancer cells differ according to genetic ancestry.

Sebastian was born in upstate New York and was raised in Rockland County, New York. During his free time, he divides his time between lab research on campus and work at Cold Spring Harbor Lab. He also likes to paint and draw when he has the time.

Sebastian’s interest leans toward cancer research and clinical work. Post graduation, he plans to go to graduate school to pursue medical imaging or lab technology.

Johan Ramirez | Intern, Accounting Team

Johan Ramirez is an Accounting Intern at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

Johan is a rising Junior, currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in Accounting at SUNY Binghamton in Binghamton, NY. After he obtains his Bachelor’s, he plans on completing a Master’s degree, in order to become a CPA. He grew up in a family full of business owners, where he was shown the ins and outs of running a business, which sparked an interest in Accounting, “the language of business.”          

Johan was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, but grew up in Uniondale, NY, on Long Island. He loves sports, with his favorite sports being soccer and basketball. He is a huge New York Knicks and Real Madrid fan. He co-founded a non-profit organization called “My Second Foot Print Foundation,” which promotes recycling in his hometown of Bucaramanga and gives back to local schools and nursing homes. Johan also volunteered last summer at The Long Island Advocacy Center, which furthered his interest in working at a non-profit organization.

Valeria Sanchez Estrada | Intern, Vicković Lab

Valeria Sanchez Estrada is an intern working with the Vicković Lab at NYGC as part of the the Center for Integrated Cellular Analysis Undergraduate Summer Research Program in Single-Cell Genomics.

A recent graduate of St. John’s University, Valeria studied biology, chemistry, and data science throughout her undergraduate career and plans to continue her education next year as she pursues an M.S. in Computational Biology. Born and raised in Mexico, Valeria enjoys exploring New York City in her free time. Her other interests include mentoring underrepresented students, reading, and eating good food!

She is immensely grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such a knowledgeable staff at NYGC and is excited to combine her interests in genomics, microbiology, and public health over the course of this internship.

Hannah Schermerhorn | Intern, Sanjana Lab

Hannah Schermerhorn is an intern working with the Sanjana Lab as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome. 

Hannah was born and raised in Lincoln, RI where her high school courses sparked her interest in medicine. When entering Villanova University as a Chemical Engineering major, she was introduced to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries that she instantly wanted to pursue. In light of her passion, she joined as a research assistant in a laboratory on her campus where she studies T cell transduction of polymer nanoparticles. Now entering senior year, she will be obtaining Biochemical Engineering and Chemistry minors. 

She is thrilled to be working at the NYGC, as she will be able to gain experience working in research, which she hopes to continue after graduation.

Katie Sinitsyna | Intern, Sanjana Lab

Kaite Sinitsyna is an intern working with the Sanjana Lab as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome. 

Katie is a rising junior at the University of Michigan majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Russian. She will be pursuing a Ph.D. after her B.S degree in either immunology or neurobiology field. Currently, she is working in a micro immunology lab under the mentorship of Dr. Olszewski, investigating the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. She is also part of a professional pre-health fraternity, Delta Epsilon Mu, where she is an active member participating in many volunteering and community service events. 

She was born in Russia and moved to New Jersey when she was young and was raised in Bergen County. She is an avid reader and loves to pick up a book whenever she has a chance. She also is very active and loves hiking and the outdoors and is part of the board for Girl Gains, a club that promotes female weightlifting in the gym. She is really excited to do research at NYGC this summer!

Julia Sohn | Clinical Lab Intern

Julia Sohn is an intern working with the Clinical Lab as part of NYGC’s Prospective Genetic Counseling Student Summer Internship.

Julia is a Senior at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, concentrating in Genetic Counseling and the Ethics of Reproduction with a minor in Psychology. She plans on continuing her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling after graduation.

Julia grew up in Englewood, NJ, and has been living in the East Village for three years. She also just spent a semester abroad on NYU’s London campus! She enjoys listening to music, traveling, and taking long walks along the Hudson River. Julia would like to become a Prenatal Genetic Counselor in order to give individuals the support and guidance they need in creating a healthy family. At the NYGC, she is observing and participating in clinical research in order to get a better understanding of the laboratory side of genetic testing, which she hopes to take with her into her career.

Sophia Sowinski | Intern, Knowles Lab

Sophia Sowinski is an intern working in the Knowles lab at NYGC.

Sophia, originally from San Diego, CA, is an undergraduate at Barnard College studying Computational Biology and Dance. Previously, she has worked with the Knowles lab, using tools for quantification of alternative splicing to investigate neurological disorders.

Sophia is passionate about increasing the accessibility of scientific information, which she pursues through her work as a Science Writing Fellow at Barnard. Outside of the lab, Sophia is an active member of the NYC arts community.

Mason Spodek | Intern, Zhu Lab

Mason Spodek is an intern working with the Zhu Lab as part of the MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome.   

Mason was raised in Manhattan, NY, and is now attending Northwestern University, where he is majoring in Neuroscience and Public Health. Mason has past lab experience working in the Verma Lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Cell Biology. There he investigated the role of glutamine by inhibiting the glutaminase transporter (SLC38a1) in MDS. At NYCG, he is excited to learn from the many individuals researching and studying single-cell genomics tools.

Jacob Vider | Intern, Technology Innovation Lab

Jacob Vider is an intern working with the Technology Innovation lab at NYGC as part of the NYGC Summer Internship Program.

Jacob recently completed his bachelor’s at Columbia University in Applied Physics. During his undergrad, he worked on optical and computationally-focused research projects, which has fueled his interest in instrumentation-focused genetics research. At NYGC, he will be working on developing equipment to better understand the mechanisms for disease progression.

Born and raised in Boston, Jacob enjoys biking around New York City. He is looking forward to joining NYGC’s collaborative, hands-on research environment. 

Collin Wang | Intern, Knowles Lab

Collin Wang is an intern working with the Knowles Lab at NYGC. 

Collin is working on a project related to ML methods development for single cell genomics. He recently graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. He is originally from Michigan, and enjoys reading and running in his free time.

John Zou | Intern, Singh Lab

John Zou is a research intern working with the Singh Lab. 

John is currently pursuing his junior year at Brown University with a major in Computational Biology. Initially captivated by biology and neuroscience, his sophomore year exposed him to the broad applications of computer science, spanning fields like medicine and business. This newfound interest has fueled John’s desire to apply his computer science knowledge to biology, specifically focusing on developing computational methods for analyzing genetic and functional data associated with severe psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. 

During his leisure time, John enjoys activities such as going to the gym, listening to music, and indulging in K-Dramas on Netflix. John is grateful for the opportunity at NYGC and is eager to maximize his learning experience.

NYGC is excited to see all that our 2023 Summer Interns accomplish!