Molecular Genetics Core Facility

Irene Simkin – Lab Manager

Irene Simkina, MS, has been with the Core Laboratory since 2001 and manages the group as an operational unit. Irene is responsible for accomplishing the Core Laboratory goals and targets, quality and productivity, and ensuring customer satisfaction. She also develops the Standard Operation Procedures (SOP), adapts new technologies, protocols and software, while improving the lab and working to reduce costs.  Irene works closely with the investigators and scientists to consult and provide advice.

Stella Morfessis – Lab Technician

As a Laboratory Technician, Stella extracts DNA/RNA from various samples including blood, saliva, placenta and brain tissues and stores for genetic analysis. Stella logs and maps samples using network databases, performs genotyping reactions, optimizes PCR-based assays, and operates automated DNA genotyping equipment. Other tasks include sample preparation, data analysis and quality control.

Anna Berberoglu – Lab Technician

As a laboratory technician at the Genetics CORE lab in the Boston University School of Medicine, Anna extract DNA/RNA from various samples including blood, saliva, placenta, and brain tissues and store them for genetic analysis. Anna logs and maps samples using network databases, perform genotyping reactions, optimize PCR-based assays, and operate automated DNA genotyping equipment.

Visit our Molecular Genetics Core Facility website!

IT Support

John Farrell – IT Manager

The IT Manager of the Biomedical Genetics Program leads a team of talented information technology specialists to support the complex computational and data management needs of the Genetics Epidemiology Center and the Molecular Genetics Core Lab. Since arriving at Boston University Medical School in 1981, he has developed software systems and tools for the computerized data collection, data management, quality control and analysis of epidemiological research studies. His efforts have been instrumental in the use of web technologies, optical scanning technologies and laptop computers for the data collection and patient tracking in numerous large scale epidemiological research projects. His recent efforts have included meeting the computational requirements of the Genetics Program research with the installation of a 48-processor Linux Cluster.


Data Analysts


CongCong Zhu– Data Analyst II

As a Data Analyst II, Junming works closely with investigators to perform multiple statistical analyses. Her work deals with developing bioinformatics pipelines for NIH funded projects, studying the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease and addiction to alcohol, cocaine, and opioids. Junming also harmonizes and cleans phenotype and genotype data.

Selected Publications:
Zhang X, Zhu C, Beecham G, Vardarajan BN, Ma Y, Lancour D, Farrell JJ, Chung J; Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Schellenberg GD, Pericak-Vance MA, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA. A rare missense variant of CASP7 is associated with familial late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Jan 3.

Junming Hu– Data Analyst

As a Data Analyst for the department, Junming works on bulk RNA-seq. and single-cell analysis relating to Alzheimer’s Disease as well as many other bioinformatics projects.


Jinghan Huang – Data Analyst

As a Data Analyst, Jinghan participates in FHS-BAP project 2 and is investigating the link between AD genetic vulnerabilities and chronic inflammation using various statistical methods and bioinformatics methods.


Administrative Staff

Hau Nguyen– Section Administrative Director

Hau has been with Boston University for 6 years. As Administrative Director, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of budget, finance, personnel, strategic plan, and the administrative services of the Section to meet the research and education missions at the Department of Medicine.

Nancy Ortega – Program Manager, FHS-BAP

As Program Manager her main responsibilities are the daily administrative operations and project management of the The Framingham Heart Study, Brain Aging Program. In addition, she assists two PI’s with grant reports, conferences and other program related duties.

Phuong Nguyen – Administrative Research Assistant

Phuong is an alum from Boston University. As a Research and Administrative Assistant, Phuong is responsible for scheduling appointments and meetings, ordering supplies for the department, updating the section website, as well as other miscellaneous research assignments in order to assist department faculty, staff, and students.