Director / Staff Scientist
Integrative Genomics and Bioinformatics Core
Computer science and biology have been my passions for as long as I can remember. I immigrated to sunny Tucson, Arizona, from chilly Novosibirsk, Russia, in 1993, the youngest son of two Russian scientists, and grew up going with them to the Walker Lab in the old chemistry building at the University of Arizona (U of A). In high school, I started working in the lab alongside my parents, finding out about the chemical properties of nitrophorin proteins found in blood-sucking insects, learning how to run a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, and experiencing the terrible odors coming from various organic compounds. As an undergraduate at the U of A, I double-majored in computer science and biochemistry and finished with honors, developing a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation tool. For graduate school, I joined the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology PhD program at UCSD, and worked with Dr. Alexander Hoffmann (now at UCLA), on a multi-scale understanding of the B-cell immune response. This entailed computational modeling, flow cytometry time-series experiments, live-cell time-lapse microscopy experiments, single-cell RNA-Seq, and (unfortunately) occasional mouse work.
A newly-minted Doctor of Philosophy, I moved across the street to the friendly world-renowned Salk Institute, working for Dr. Chris Benner (aka the Chuck Norris of Genomics), the founding director of the Salk Integrative Genomics and Bioinformatics Core (IGC). Under his tutelage, I learned very quickly about genomics analysis (RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, HiC, Bisulfite, and many others) and how to tell good data from the not-so-good data. After Chris started his own lab at UCSD, I worked with the Next Generation Sequencing Core, Salk IT, and the cores leadership to rebuild and expand the IGC. Since then, the core hired four excellent PhD-level bioinformatics analysts, instituted an internship program, developed an annual genomics/bioinformatics workshop, expanded computational and storage capacity, helped publish dozens of excellent scientific papers, and helped author numerous grant applications. I look forward to working with you on your next groundbreaking project!