About Us

OPA Staff

George Santangelo, Ph.D.

George Santangelo has been the Director of the Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) at NIH since 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and his doctorate in genetics from Yale University. Before coming to NIH, George was a systems biologist and data scientist funded by both NIH and NSF to lead research teams investigating how genes are regulated. In OPA, George now leads a team of analysts, data scientists, and software developers whose mission is to learn how to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and disseminate that knowledge across funding agencies and the research community.

How to reach George:
Phone: 301-496-5006
Send Dr. Santangelo an email

Sharon Chaney, B.A.
Staff Assistant

Sharon is a Communications professional with 28 years of experience at NIH. She provides the Office with expert administrative support and invaluable institutional knowledge of NIH.  She is the primary contact for OPA and secretary for Dr. Santangelo.  She handles all administrative issues in order to keep the Office moving forward.

How to reach Sharon:
Phone: 301-496-2987
Send Sharon an email

Elaheh Aghaarabi
Data Scientist

Elaheh joined OPA in 2021 and is a data scientist with a passion for applying Natural Language Processing techniques, developing predictive models using Machine Learning pipelines, as well as analyzing and visualizing data. Prior to joining OPA, Elaheh attended a program at the National Library of Medicine as an intern in the Graduate Data Science Summer Program where she captured text similarity for Electronic Health Records using NLP techniques and deep learning models. Elaheh holds a M.Sc in Computer Science from Towson University, US and a M.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from University of British Columbia, Canada.

How to reach Elaheh:
Send Elaheh an email

Katrina Bibb, MPH

Katrina is an analyst and trainer with over six years of experience in public health/global health, data analysis and health policy. Her background includes both quantitative and qualitative data analysis using a variety of research datasets and statistical methods. Katrina has worked with countless program staff across NIH advising different types of analyses through OPA’s training program. She is also a part of the analysis and communications team, assisting in disseminating impactful analyses and information to NIH and public stakeholders.

Katrina completed her B.S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University and M.P.H. in Applied Environmental Health alongside a Certificate in Global Health from the University of Maryland.

How to reach Katrina:
Send Katrina an email

Brad Busse, Ph.D.
Data Scientist

With a background that bridges the gap between computer science and biology, Brad brings extensive experience in scientific computing, image analysis and algorithm development to OPA. He is proficient in a number of development environments but prefers Python for its deep learning and scientific processing libraries. Prior to joining OPA, Brad was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, where he was responsible for tasks ranging from application development to machine learning. Brad received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University and his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University.

How to reach Brad:
Send Brad an email

Krista Callender M.B.A.
IT Project Manager

Krista joined OPA in November 2020, bringing leadership and project management experience. Prior to joining OPA, she built and led the operations functions for Companion Protect, LLC. Krista has held leadership positions with Asurion, Elastic Networks, and Nortel Networks, in addition to founding Trade Winds Consulting. She has managed large organizations of diverse professionals in multiple locations domestically and internationally, leading teams responsible for the delivery of complex, cross-functional projects and programs. Krista received her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and her Masters of Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler’s Executive MBA program. She also holds a Project Management Professional Certification.

How to reach Krista:
Send Krista an email

Michael Cheetham
Senior Science Policy Analyst

Michael joined OPA after 5 years at NIH with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the Fogarty International Center. Prior to joining NIH he created the International Science and Technology Partnership program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and for many years managed the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum and the US-India Science & Technology Endowment Fund. Michael has over twenty years of experience building international partnerships in science, engineering and health, including earlier work at The National Academies, the Smithsonian Institution, the Institute for International Education, and the Atlantic Council of the United States.

How to reach Michael:
Send Michael an email

Anthony Cheu
Business Analyst

Anthony is a user experience researcher who specializes in applying human-centered research to projects that combine design with technology and business. Before joining OPA in 2021, Anthony had worked in multiple research capacities across industries. His knowledge and fluency in applied user experience research contributes to the optimal experience of users on digital platforms. Anthony earned his B.S. in Health and Exercise Science from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as minored in Business.

How to reach Anthony:
Send Anthony an email

Nicholas Daly
Health Science Policy Analyst

Nicholas joined OPA in March 2021 as a Health Science Policy Analyst. Nicholas’ background is in machine learning, natural language processing, and data science. Prior to joining OPA he has worked as a data scientist, evaluator, and software consultant. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Trinity College Dublin and B.A.I. in computer engineering from Trinity College Dublin.

How to reach Nicholas:
Send Nicholas an email

Matt Davis, M.S.
Software Engineer

Matt’s background is in software engineering with a focus on natural language processing, information retrieval, and machine learning. At OPA, he works on the development of a variety web applications, web services, and batch computations. Typical projects include citation resolution and linking, classifying grants via machine learning, and working on the iSearch web application.​

How to reach Matt:
Send Matt an email

Shannon Davis
Data Scientist

Shannon’s academic background is in international political science, English, and biology. She supports the software development team testing iSearch applications and writing documentation.

How to reach Shannon:
Send Shannon an email

Karl Doughty
Senior Software Developer

Karl brings his expertise in software design, development, and deployment to his role as senior software developer at OPA. Before joining the team in 2021, Karl used his programming skills to create and maintain high-reliability, mission-critical software for the defense and space industries. He has extensive experience in full-stack development, software security, fault-tolerant architecture, and high-performance computing. He earned his B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

How to reach Karl:
Send Karl an email

Paula Fearon, Ph.D.
Project Manager

Paula is our training program director, an analyst, and a problem solver with a background in biochemistry and cell biology. She provides guidance in the use of portfolio analysis methods and tools, and consults with NIH staff to find effective solutions to their portfolio analysis questions. Paula is typically involved in trans-NIH analyses, training activities, and coordinating the use of OPA tools across NIH. ​

How to reach Paula:
Send Paula an email

Ehsanul (Ehsan) Haque, M.S.
Bioinformatics Programmer

Ehsan’s background is in programming. At OPA he develops specialized software for synthesizing large volumes of qualitative scientific information. Ehsan’s programs aim to extract useful information about NIH research programs that can be used to support programmatic decision making. ​

How to reach Ehsan:
Send Ehsan an email

Grant Jones, Ph.D.
Health Science Policy Analyst

Grant is a biochemist by training, with a diverse background studying human virology, toxic marine algae, and protein translation. He uses his experience with genomics and computer programming to analyze large-scale datasets and present his findings using clear, concise graphics and figures. His work within the OPA is focused on comparing scientific portfolios as well as developing new tools to enhance data-driven decision making by NIH leadership. ​

How to reach Grant:
Send Grant an email

Emily Lampe
UX/UI Designer

Emily joined OPA in 2021, bringing 7 years of 3D conceptual design experience. Paired with her human-centered design approach, she curates exceptional experiences and visual design by fusing the client’s vision with the users’ unarticulated needs. Emily earned her B.S. in Interior Design from Oklahoma State University.​

How to reach Emily:
Send Emily an email

Merricka Livingstone, Ph.D.
Scientific Portfolio Analyst

Merricka joined OPA as a scientific portfolio analyst in 2020, bringing a broad background in chemistry, toxicology, and biomedical science. Previously, she was an NRC Research Associate at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, developing antibody-based therapies for malaria. Merricka earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Environmental Health, concentrating in Molecular and Translational Toxicology from Johns Hopkins University.​

How to reach Merricka:
Send Merricka an email

Gabriel Lopez
Software Developer

Gabriel joined OPA in July of 2019 as a Software Developer with a concentration in web development and big data processing. Prior to joining OPA, Gabriel worked extensively with web applications designed to derive significant conclusions from large datasets. He earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University. Currently, Gabriel is focused on java web application development. ​

How to reach Gabriel:
Send Gabriel an email

Larry Luna
Software Quality Assurance Engineer

Larry joined OPA in March of 2021 bringing experience in both manual as well as automated testing. Prior to joining OPA, Larry did testing for KTS (Kranze Technology Solutions) where he worked on software testing for communication devices utilized by the United States Marine Corps. Prior to that, he worked as a Product Analyst/Scrum Master for BSwift. There he tested the "Ask Emma" functionality, software that makes benefits recommendations for its users. Larry has also served 9 years in the United States Army. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University Northwest.​

How to reach Larry:
Send Larry an email

Chuck Lynch, Ph.D.
IT Specialist and Information Scientist

Chuck is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a background in mechanical engineering, systems engineering and information technology. At OPA he is primarily responsible for specifying, acquiring, and implementing OPA IT infrastructure, adding computational and storage capacity. A recent success was the design and implementation of a complex computing environment (a five server, 150TB Hadoop Computing Cluster) in just six months, with the help of OIT, while the average implementation time is 18 months. ​

How to reach Chuck:
Send Chuck an email

Rebecca Meseroll, Ph.D.
Health Science Policy Analyst

Rebecca’s background is in cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry, with a long-standing interest in science communications. She brings her science writing and editing expertise to OPA, where she prepares data analyses and other developments from the office for external consumption in the form of presentations and written reports. In addition to communicating about OPA, Rebecca performs portfolio analyses to support programmatic decision-making across the NIH. 

How to reach Rebecca:
Send Rebecca an email

Payam Meyer, M.S.
Software Engineer

Payam’s background is in software engineering and data systems. Payam is integral to the collaborative work between OPA and ODP involving the development of an advanced machine learning architecture to efficiently classify prevention research across the NIH portfolio. He also contributes to the development of iSearch as well as assisting OPA teammates with their day-to-day data and analytics needs.

How to reach Payam:
Send Payam an email

Will Millman
Software Architect

Will joined the Office of Portfolio Analysis as a software architect in 2019 after spending over ten years at ProQuest specializing in developing and managing large-scale biomedical content and MeSH indexing solutions for the life sciences. At the OPA, Will collaborates for design, document, and build new versions of the Portfolio Analysis applications produced.

How to reach Will:
Send Will an email

Matt Perkins
Training Director and Science Analyst

Matt has a background in mathematics and statistics and has previously spent 14 years working for the Government Statistical Service in the United Kingdom. Matt works as a statistical portfolio analyst and is the director of the OPA Portfolio Analysis Training Program. In this role, Matt assists analysts across the NIH with the use of PA tools, particularly iSearch (OPA’s portfolio analysis search tool). In addition, he is responsible for the coordination of the OPA Portfolio Analysis consultation service.

How to reach Matt:
Send Matt an email

Chris Pickett
Scientific Portfolio Analyst

Chris has experience in science policy and previously focused on improving the training environment for graduate students and postdocs. Prior to joining OPA in 2021, Chris was Director of Rescuing Biomedical Research, and worked on issues ranging from improving transparency in Ph.D. career outcomes to accelerating the use of preprints and improving support for young faculty. Chris received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah and his B.A. from the University of Colorado Boulder.

How to reach Chris:
Send Chris an email

Lisa Strauss
Program Analyst

Lisa Strauss joined OPA in 2017 as a Program Analyst. She serves in an administrative capacity using her experience as a budget analyst, COR, and administrator. Lisa has been at NIH for 35 years working in both the Clinical Center and the National Institute of Nursing Research. Prior to her career at NIH, she worked in ambulatory care as a Certified Medical Assistant. She has a degree in Health Care Management.

How to reach Lisa:
Send Lisa an email

James Tucker
Data Scientist

James joined OPA in 2021 as a Data Scientist with a background in computational and historical linguistics. Prior to joining OPA, James contributed to two international research projects, bringing his expertise in statistical methods, data modeling, computer vision, and data visualization to bear on historical artifacts and forgery detection. James has presented his research at various international conferences and has published in peer-reviewed journals. As a linguist and programmer, James admires the complexity of semantic systems and strives for efficiency and clarity. Outside of his research and work, James enjoys playing tennis, reading, and travel. James earned his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and his M.A. from Trinity Western University where he specialized in computational and historical linguistics.

How to reach James:
Send James an email

Gelareh Vinueza
Science Analyst

Prior to joining OPA, Gelareh was a Regulatory Policy Fellow in the Office of Clinical Pharmacology at the FDA. Her fellowship project focused on informing the best practices for dosing of locally acting drugs in the pediatric population. Gelareh developed a passion for big data analysis, science policy and science communication during her graduate studies. She was a volunteer writer for ASBMB Today, was the chair of the Communications Committee at WIB-Capital Region chapter and did a business marketing internship at Noble Life Sciences. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, biking, and swimming. Gelareh holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and a M.S. in Basic Medical Sciences from Wayne State University.

How to reach Gelareh:
Send Gelareh an email

Hashi Wijayatilake
Senior Policy Analyst

Hashi joined OPA in 2020, bringing 10 years of experience in science publishing, first at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (NY) and then at PLOS. As Managing Editor of PLOS Biology, she led the journal team in publishing high-profile research content, and implementing open science initiatives and publishing innovations. Hashi’s experience in publishing and research reproducibility initiatives will be leveraged in portfolio analysis and metrics, as researchers worldwide look to generate a culture change towards best research practices. Hashi received her Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, and her DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford (UK).

How to reach Hashi:
Send Hashi an email

Lucas Winch
Software Developer

Joining OPA in 2019, Lucas brings experience in web development, super-computing, and scientific computing. Lucas leverages these skills to build a diverse set of software resources and classify research within the NIH portfolio. Prior to joining NIH, Lucas earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and created systems models within the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

How to reach Lucas:
Send Lucas an email

Winnie Wong, Ph.D.
Communications Officer

Winnie joined OPA in 2021 as a Communications Officer with extensive experience in science writing and academic research. She is passionate about using creative storytelling to distill complex problems and build impactful solutions. Before joining OPA, Winnie created content for multiple global teams at QIAGEN and non-profit organizations. Winnie earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

How to reach Winnie:
Send Winnie an email

Tom Xu, M.S., Ph.D.
Software Developer

Tom joined OPA in November 2017 as a Software Developer. Tom’s background is in quantum physics and computer science. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and went on to acquire an M.S. in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Tom has substantial experience in scientific programming, simulations, and modeling. His current focus is on Java web application development, data analysis, and deep learning.

How to reach Tom:
Send Tom an email


This page last reviewed on November 4, 2021