Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD

Principal Investigator

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATuuli Lappalainen is a Professor in Genomics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, an Associate Faculty Member at the New York Genome Center, and the Director of the National Genomics Infrastructure of SciLifeLab. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University.

Her research focuses on functional genetic variation in human populations and its contribution to traits and diseases. She has pioneered the intergration of large-scale genome and transcriptome sequencing data to understand how genetic variation affects gene expression, providing insight to cellular mechanisms underlying genetic risk for disease.

Tuuli received her PhD from University of Helsinki, Finland in 2009, followed by postdoctoral research at University of Geneva, Switzerland and at Stanford University. She started her own lab in New York in 2014, and in 2021 she was appointed as a full professor at KTH. She splits her time between Stockholm and New York City.

Silva Kasela, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
Photo_SilvaKaselaSilva Kasela is a postdoctoral research associate in the Lappalainen lab. She is interested in using and developing statistical methods to understand the genetic architecture of human phenotypes and diseases. Silva studied mathematical statistics at the University of Tartu, Estonia. As a PhD student, she joined the Estonian Genome Center at the University of Tartu to integrate her interest in both statistics and biology. She obtained her PhD in molecular biomedicine from University of Tartu studying the genetic regulation of gene expression.

Dafni Glinos, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
IMG_20181016_163315Dafni joined the Lappalainen lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the end of 2018. She is interested in the contribution of coding and non-coding variants on the molecular mechanisms which define human traits, with a focus on diseases. Originally from Greece and Belgium, Dafni obtained her BSc in Biology and her MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology from Imperial College London. During her MRes she investigated gene expression patterns that can arise from stochasticity. She completed her PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute under the supervision of Gosia Trynka. Her research focussed on the human gene regulatory landscape of T cells, studying the impact of non-coding variants on immune processes.

Anu Pasanen, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher


Anu joined the Lappalainen lab as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2019. She is interested in general patterns of human DNA sequence variation, as well as the role of human genetic variation in complex traits and diseases. Anu studied biology in the University of Oulu, Finland, where she focused on genetics. (She obtained her master’s degree studying the genetics behind flowering timing.) She obtained her PhD from the University of Oulu, where she researched genetic variation that underlies infant susceptibility to viral bronchiolitis.

Júlia Domingo, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Júlia joined the lab the fall of 2020. She has a BSc in Human Biology and a MSc in Bioinformatics from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. During her MSc, she investigated the determinants of expression within coding regions. She completed her PhD at the Centre for Genomic Regulation under the supervision of Ben Lehner, where she used deep mutagenesis to understand genetic and physical interactions. In the Lappalainen lab, Júlia is interested in integrating deep mutational scanning and single cell technologies to better understand how the non-coding genome regulates gene expression.

Sailalitha Bollepalli, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher / Consultant

Sailalitha joined the Lappalainen Lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher in late 2020. She is interested in understanding how genetic and epigenetic variation contributes to complex human traits. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the Bharath University, India and MSc in Computational Biology from the University of East Anglia, UK. Sailalitha completed her PhD at the University of Helsinki, Finland, identifying epigenetic and transcriptomic markers associated with obesity and smoking.

Elise Flynn, MSc

PhD Student

IMG_0780 (3)Elise is a PhD student in the Systems Biology Program at Columbia University. She is interested in integrating -omics and other biological data to understand how perturbations in the genome and cell environment affect phenotype and disease. As a post-baccalaureate fellow with the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, Elise researched and developed bioinformatic methods to study rare diseases. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she did research in behavioral neuroscience. Outside of the lab, Elise is the Social Outreach chair of the Women in Science at Columbia group and the co-director of the Science Matters Research Internship program.

Jonah Einson, BSc

PhD Student

PicJonah is a graduate student rostered in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University. He is interested in developing computational tools for analyzing gene expression data derived from next-generation sequencing technologies. Jonah completed his bachelor’s at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where earned dual degrees in Biochemistry and Statistics. While at UMass, he studied microbial community ecology in food processing systems, and epigenetic predictors of breast cancer.

Molly Martorella, BSc

PhD Student

lab photoMolly is an MD/PhD student in the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University. She is interested in studying how non-coding variants and environmental exposures affect the transcriptome and how this, in turn, affects disease risk and phenotype. Prior to joining the lab, Molly worked as a technician in Christopher Deppmann’s lab at UVA studying exosomal signaling during neurodevelopment. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in Biochemistry and Neuroscience. During her undergraduate years, Molly studied neuroprotective effects of estrogen in a schizophrenic rat model, and researched key regulators of receptor recycling in memory formation.

Athena Tsu

Undergraduate researcher

Image from iOSAthena is an undergraduate student at Columbia University studying applied mathematics. She is interested in using computational and statistical methods to explore how genetic variation affects phenotype and disease. Outside of the lab, Athena is involved with Columbia Barnard Matriculate and enjoys writing and exploring New York.

Martin Broly, MD

Visiting researcher

Photo d'identité Martin Broly HECMartin is a medical resident in Genetics and Genomics at Nantes University Hospital’s department of Genetics in France. He is interested in providing improved diagnosis by integrating -omics data to understand how functional perturbations in the genome and cell environment affect patient’s phenotype and disease. More specifically, his work in the lab concentrates on integrating genomic variants and allele specific expression data derived from high throughput and tissue specific sequencing to gain new insights on how rare coding and non-coding genetic variations contribute to congenital heart diseases. Prior to joining the lab, he was focused on NGS data analysis in a clinical setting in order to provide diagnostic services, genetic counseling, and individualized care for patients.

 Marcello Ziosi, PhD

Staff Scientist & Lab Manager

marcelloMarcello is responsible for running our wetlab. Before joining the lab he was Associate Research Scientist at the Huston Merrit Center at Columbia University studying genetics and molecular basis of mitochondrial diseases. He obtained his PhD from Bologna University, Italy. He focused his scientific activity on the study of cell competition, a homeostatic cell communication mechanism that leads to the elimination of unfit and potentially malignant cells. In 2011 he moved to New York City as a postdoc at Columbia University to study the genetics and metabolic requirements of cell competition and the role of mitochondria in that.

 Paul Hoffman, BSc

Bioinformatics Analyst

paul_hoffmanPaul is a bioinformatics analyst, shared jointly with Rahul Satija’s lab. Before this position, he was a bioinformatics specialist for Peter Morrell at the University of Minnesota Agronomy Department. While there, he worked on finding the physical location of SNP markers on the barley genome, helped identify mutations that are important in cold tolerance in barley, and started asking how different motifs in genomic DNA influence point mutations in soybean. Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota.

Stephane Castel, PhD

Senior Research Fellow

StephaneStephane joined the Lappalainen Lab as a postdoc at the end of 2014. He’s interested in understanding how non-coding genetic variation contributes to human traits by integrating the genome and transcriptome. He has focused on leveraging allelic expression data to quantify regulatory variation within individuals. In 2018 he received a K99 to support his work to characterize genetic, longitudinal, and developmental effects on the transcriptome using a novel non-invasive RNA-sequencing method. Stephane completed his PhD at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory studying RNA interference mediated gene regulation in Robert Martienssen’s Lab. He completed his BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph in Canada and is a native of Toronto.


Kathryn Bedrosian, BSc

Executive Assistant for Faculty


Kathryn Bedrosian is an executive assistant for faculty at the NY Genome Center, working for the Lappalainen and Sanjana labs. A native Michigander, she moved to New York in 2004 and currently lives in Bayside, Queens. While pursuing her master’s degree at Michigan State University, she had the opportunity to teach undergraduate students, and she enjoys the opportunity to again work with students in this new position.

Affiliate members and visitors

John Morris, PhD (shared postdoc with Neville Sanjana’s lab)
Kristina Buschur, PhD (shared postdoc with Graham Barr’s lab)
Vardiella Meinier, MD, PhD (professor on a sabbatical)


Margot Brandt, PhD student (2014-2019). Now at Nature Communications.
Erica Bertisch, Executive Assistant (2014-2019)
Yige Zhao, Rotation student (2019)
Nora Lam, Rotation student (2019)
Alper Gokden, Associate Scientist I (2017-2019). Now at Columbia University.
Sarah Kim-Hellmuth, Postdoc (2015-2019). Now Marie Curie Fellow at Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich
Ana Vasileva, Senior Staff Scientist (2014-2018).
Pejman Mohammadi, Postdoc (2015-2018). Now Assistant Professor at Scripps.
Aaron Wolman, Associate Scientist I (2015-2017). Now at Merck.
Yocelyn Recinos, Rotation student (2018)
Edward Ruiz, Rotation student (2018)
Nicholas Giangreco, Rotation student (2016)
Alejandra Cervera, Visiting student (2016)
Alexandre Yahi, Rotation student (2016)
Zach Baker, Rotation student (2015)
Ana Pascoini, Research Assistant (2014-2015)