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Cornell University

Cornell Institute of Biotechnology staff reaching service milestones

Someone handing out a bouquet of flowers

- August 2019 to October 2020 -
Please join us in recognizing our very talented and dedicated staff who have reached major service milestones at Cornell in the last year!

Monica Franciscus – 5 Years

Monica Franciscus has been the administrative assistant to the Genomic Open-source Breeding informatics initiative (GOBii) project for the past 5 years. In this position she has skillfully organized multiple on-site and international events across the globe, been a gracious host to all of our GOBii visitors, perfected our written communications, and has managed endless travel reimbursements. She is a passionate advocate for the project, a resolute supporter of everyone on the team and she has helped to make the GOBii project a community.

Lynn Johnson – 5 Years

Lynn Johnson joined the Buckler lab over the summer of 2014. Since then she has become an integral part of our programming team and group as a whole. Lynn has the incredible ability to deal with trillions of data points, look at core dumps, and patiently work with biologists to understand their problems and help them create tools.  Surprisingly for a programmer, Lynn is a morning person, and she accomplishes an amazing amount before most of us even have our second cup of coffee. She is also part of the analytical quilting wing of the group - combining science with art. Lastly, Lynn’s generosity of spirit and intellectually inquisitive manner make her a joy to work with and a good role model for all of us.

Zack Miller – 5 Years

Zack Miller joined the Buckler Lab in December of 2014 as a software developer, in his first job outside of graduate school. Zack’s contributions to the lab over the last years have ranged from dealing with format issues in variant files to stitching genomes together to all sorts of projects using machine learning to deal with complex plant genomes. His growing understanding of biology and genetics continues to impress everyone and that, combined with his computer science background, is an asset to the team. Zack’s calm and patient demeanor has made him the go-to person to get students started on machine learning. Behind that serene face, Zack is a bit of a thrill seeker - with a love of roller coasters. He is patiently awaiting the end of COVID so that he and his wife can take their Disney trip (intentionally before kids) to ride the coasters! Zack has a sly humor and has become a strong leader in the group without being showy about it. He continues to help get us out of our own rabbit holes and is a vital part of our programming team.

Yaw Nti-Addae – 5 Years

Yaw Nti-Addae has been with the Genomic Open-source Breeding informatics initiative (GOBii) project for the past 5 years. He came to us from Dow Agricultural Science and brought with him a wealth of valuable experience in the data management space which he has successfully applied to GOBii.  He has shown great team leadership and patience, explaining complex ideas easily to those with limited IT background. He always has a smile on his face, and a coffee in his hand, and brings both creativity and calm to the team. He is now taking on a new role in the larger Excellence in Breeding Enterprise Breeding System program and we wish him the very best in that role.

Sara Miller – 10 Years

Sara Miller has run the Buckler lab from the last decade, which has expanded rapidly from maize focused science to one that works with global collaborations on nearly every crop under the sun. The Buckler lab has collaborated with over 1300 different scientists - and only Sara can keep the collaborations organized and moving forward in the same direction. Sara is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Michigan Law School, and came to Cornell with management and legal experience. Many times, the lab has benefitted from Sara’s legal acumen as she handles the operations of multiple federal grants and international collaborations. Sara also ensures that humanity and social conscience are part of lab culture and the Cornell Institute of Biotechnology, and she works diligently and effectively to diversify the scientific workforce. She is always looking out for the wellbeing of the lab, ready to listen to anyone who needs her help - administrative, cultural, personal, writing, and linguistic. Along with her coworker Lynn Johnson, she used her sewing skills and quilter’s fabric hoard during the COVID-19 pandemic to create masks with science designs for the lab community. Congratulations to Sara on 10 years of service, and for all of her contributions to the Buckler Lab and the Institute!

Jennifer Mosher – 10 Years

Jennifer Mosher received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and joined the Genomics Facility of the Biotechnology Resource Center when the Microarray Facility at the Cornell Veterinary School was incorporated into the Biotechnology Resource Center. In the Genomics Facility, Jennifer is responsible for running a number of technologies, all of which are critically important to many dozens of research programs on this campus, Cornell affiliate institutions, and many external academic and private institutions. Jennifer has advised and trained many scientists in the quality control and preparation of NGS sequencing libraries, in addition to preparing NGS sequencing libraries herself. Jennifer manages our Illumina sequencing operation, coordinating the processing of hundreds of samples per month through this critical operation supporting many research programs. Her extreme dedication to the success of the Genomics Facility has made her an extremely valuable member of the Genomics Facility team, a tremendous resource for project design and implementation, and she has made substantial contributions to many research programs on campus.

Elodie Smith – 10 Years

Elodie Smith joined the Cornell Institute of Biotechnology in 2017 as our first and only communications specialist. This role was a dramatic shift for her as she moved from postdoctoral research in computational biology and genomics to science communications.  The shift was mirrored by the Institute as we realized the extraordinary potential of bringing in a specialist to help promote and communicate our mission and activities.  Her impact cannot be understated, from our stunning printed brochure to our marvelous new web site, posters, and branding materials.  The future promises many more successful ventures with a focus on video production and social media. Her ability to expertly organize and manage projects, both large and small, while collegially partnering with staff across the institute to tell our stories continues to have a tremendously positive impact.

John Flaherty – 15 Years

John Flaherty leads the desktop and network support team in the Bioinformatics Facility. His knowledgeable, friendly, and dedicated leadership is the foundation of the team’s successful operations. His knowledge of IT combined with a friendly and understanding disposition make him an extremely efficient problem solver who is greatly appreciated by our customers and his colleagues in the Bioinformatics Facility. Congratulations to John on his 15 years of service – we are all looking forward to working with you for many years to come!

Xiaoyun Wang – 15 Years

Xiaoyun Wang received a Bachelor’s degree from Nanjing University School of Forestry (Nanjing, China) and in 1999 joined the Cornell Institute for Genomic Diversity. After leaving to work in Andy Clark’s lab (Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics) in 2004, and a subsequent move to work in Fargo, North Dakota in 2008, she returned to the Institute for Genomic Diversity (by then, renamed to the Genomic Diversity Facility) in 2014. Xiaoyun was a member of the lab team that, in conjunction with Ed Buckler’s lab, developed GBS (genotyping-by-sequencing). The GBS technology advanced genomic research not only for highly-important crops (maize, wheat, etc.), but also enabled heretofore unattainable genomic analyses in many dozens of plant and animal species. More recently, after the Genomic Diversity Facility was incorporated into the BRC Genomics Facility, Xiaoyun has been responsible for developing protocols and running Oxford Nanopore sequencing, the only long-read technology available on campus. In addition, Xiaoyun continues to contribute to the “genomics projects” part of the Genomics Facility, which performs high-throughput genotyping and gene expression analyses. Xiaoyun has been integral to the success of the Genomics Facility and remains a valuable member of the Genomics Facility team.

Cindy Wang – 20 Years

Cindy Wang joined the Genomics Facility of the Biotechnology Resource Center in November 2013, coming to us from Dr. Ling Qi’s lab in the Department of Human Ecology. Before coming to the Genomics Facility, as a lab manager and technician she helped PIs run their research labs, and also worked on many different research projects with postdocs and students. In the Genomics Facility, Cindy is responsible for all aspects of the Sanger sequencing operations. Hundreds of different research programs benefit from her contributions to the Sanger sequencing pipelines. She continues to be a tremendously valuable member of the Genomics Facility team.

James VanEe – 25 Years

James VanEe (’95) began his career as a lab technician in the Analytical Chemistry and Peptide/DNA Synthesis Facility following his graduation from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.  He was promoted to an information technology management position in Biotech in 1998, following his interests in biology and information technology.  His current role as BRC Associate Director benefits from his history, knowledge, and skills in the organization, as someone who has worked in both technical and management roles with core facilities.  He is a respected colleague within national and regional professional groups such as the Association of the Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) and the Northeast Regional Life Sciences Core Directors (NERLSCD).  When he is not at Biotech, James enjoys many outdoor opportunities in the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario regions, including sailing, ice fishing, gardening, and hiking. Congratulations to James on 25 years of service at Cornell and Biotech!