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Meet the Team


Roseann E. Peterson, PhD

POP-GEM Lab Director

Dr. Peterson is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University (SUNY Downstate) and is a psychiatric statistical geneticist versed in population-scale genetic studies applied to genome-wide association studies, polygenic risk profiling, and fine-mapping analyses. She serves in several leadership roles and is the Chair of the PsycheMERGE Diversity Initiative, Co-Chair of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Cross-Population Working Group, and Associate Director of Statistical Genetics in the Institute for Genomics in Health (IGC) at SUNY Downstate. She also has a special interest in ethics in research and policy and serves on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access committee of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics and is the Director of Education in Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity in the Office of the Senior Vice President of Research at SUNY Downstate.


Eva Lancaster, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lancaster's PhD training was in Quantitative Human Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently a IRACDA postdoctoral fellow at VIPBG under the mentorship of Dr. Peterson. Dr. Lancaster studies how genes and environment contribute to postpartum depression and other women's health outcomes.


Rowan K. O'Hara

Research Associate

Rowan is a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with Bachelor's degrees in Bioinformatics and Psychology. She is now a Master's student studying Bioinformatics at VCU. At the POP-GEM Lab, Rowan studies major depression across ancestral groups using genome-wide association studies (GWAS).


Amanda Gentry, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Gentry's PhD training was in biostatistics with a concentration in genomics. Dr. Gentry develops novel and innovative statistical methods for applicable to both continuous and categorical phenotypes with molecular genetic data of many types, including whole-genome sequencing data.

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Terrell A. Hicks, MS

5th year Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate

Mr. Hicks is a PhD student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. His long-term research goals are largely focused on the identification of potentially modifiable environmental variables that increase risk for post-trauma psychopathology (& interaction with genetic variants), with the aim of translating these findings into culturally sensitive prevention and secondary intervention programs.


Mariam Sankoh

Integrative Life Science Doctoral Candidate

Mariam is a PhD student in the Integrative Life Science Doctoral Program at Virginia Commonwealth University at the Team RIA and POP-GEM Lab. Mariam studies psychosis across diverse populations using epidemiological and population genetic based techniques incorporated with standard genetic techniques.


Madhur Singh

Quantitative Human Genetics Doctoral Candidate

Madhur is a PhD student in Quantitative Human Genetics at VCU School of Medicine and the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG). With a background in Medicine from India and in Health Policy from Norway, Madhur’s primary research interests are in the applications of Psychiatric and Statistical Genetics in advancing Precision Medicine in Psychiatry. At the POP-GEM lab, he studies cross-population heterogeneity in the genetic architecture of depression and substance use disorders.


B. Todd Webb, PhD

Omics Research Scientist, Principal Investigator at RTI International

Dr. Webb is trained in quantitative human genetics with an emphasis on complex genetics and bioinformatics and has a background in molecular biology and genomics. He has performed statistical and bioinformatic analyses using data from multiple high-throughput ‘omic’ platforms including whole-genome sequencing, genome-wide association, copy number variation, expression, metabolomic, and proteomic studies across multiple species. Dr. Webb has several collaborative projects with the POP-GEM Lab including Chair of the Bioinformatics core.

Dana Lapato

Assistant Professor

Dr. Lapato is an Assistant Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University with training in molecular, behavioral, and statistical genetics and clinical cytogenetics.  Dr. Lapato promotes open science and rigorous research through education and training and is a proud member of the NINDS Rigor Champion community. Dr. Lapato's long-term research goals include developing robust methods for exploring the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders using cross-disorder, multi-ancestry approaches to understand the interface of psychiatric nosology, genetic variation, and multi-omic interactions.

Asma Sadia

Research Associate/Medical Student

Asma is a first-year medical student at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. Her long-term goals involve bettering our delivery of mental healthcare especially in underserved communities, and she aims to assist the lab through data management involving diverse study populations and help translate research findings and build awareness surrounding the genetic and environmental variables contributing to mental health outcomes.

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Cierra Machado

Research Associate/Master's Student

Cierra graduated from the University of Minnesota - Rochester with a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences. She is currently a student at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University pursuing her master's in public health. Cierra will be assisting with various ongoing projects in the POP-GEM lab to gain research experience before hopefully continuing her education in medical school.

Huzaifa Dorria

Research Associate/Medical Student

Huzaifa is a first-year medical student at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. His goal is to gain research experience by assisting with various ongoing projects in the POP-GEM lab. In the future, Huzaifa hopes to apply the knowledge he gains to explore the impact of stigma on mental health outcomes across minority populations.

Jasmine Cárcamo, MA

Project Manager

Jasmine is the Project Manager at the Institute for Genomics in Health and the POP-GEM Lab at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. Jasmine attended Stony Brook University (SBU) where she received her master's in psychology with a focus in Clinical Psychology. She joins the lab with 7 years of multidisciplinary clinical research experience. Jasmine previously oversaw an NIA funded, international, multi-site study examining healthy aging phenotypes at Columbia University Irving Medical Center's (CUIMC) Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain. Jasmine has also participated in various NIH funded research studies regarding predictors of Alzheimer's Disease in community-based cohorts at CUIMC and the identification of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder using polygenic risk scores in the World Trade Center Responder population cohort at SBU. At the POP-GEM Lab, Jasmine will contribute to the operational infrastructure of the lab in addition to her collaboration on various projects such as the Latin American Genomics Consortium.

Molly Leitner

Neural and Behavioral Science PhD Student 

Molly graduated from Hamilton College with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. She is currently a student at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University pursuing her PhD in Neural and Behavioral Science. Molly’s primary research interests are in psychiatric and statistical genetics.

Onyinyechi Obidiro

Pharmaceutical Science Ph.D Student

Onyinyechi Obidiro is a research pharmacist who graduated from the University of Benin, Nigeria, where she obtained her PharmD degree. She is currently a research assistant and Ph.D. student in the pharmaceutical science department at Howard University, where she is carrying out research in nanotechnology-based chemotherapeutics. She wishes to continue outstanding research as she contributes to cancer treatment.

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Kaila Boyer

Research Associate/Medical Student

Kaila is a second-year medical student at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. She received her master's in public health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where she did research in environmental health and molecular epidemiology. Kaila will be assisting with various POP-GEM projects, and hopes to learn more about the genetic, environmental, and social factors that influence psychiatric conditions.

Huseyin Gedik,PhD
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Dr. Gedik earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University with a focus on statistical genetics, and is currently serving as a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Peterson. His research endeavors are directed towards developing innovative methodologies, as well as improving existing analytical frameworks, to delineate the risk associated with psychiatric disorders and other conditions of complex etiology. By integrating multi-omics data and performing multi-ancestry Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS), he aims to unravel the genomic underpinnings that contribute to risk for these disorders. His work would help to gain deeper understanding of psychiatric disorders and also to improve diagnostic and therapeutic strategies within personalized medicine.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Evan Davis

MD/PhD Student

Evan graduated from Stony Brook University with a BS in Biochemistry and Physics. He is a current MD/PhD student at SUNY Downstate with an interest in ophthalmology and computational research. His project in the POP-GEM lab focuses on the differential genetic signatures of schizophrenia across diverse populations. He plans to use the analytical skills he learned in the POP-GEM lab to discover genetic relationships of eye diseases like glaucoma across ancestral backgrounds and develop a model for how genetics and comorbid systemic inflammation affects disease development and progression.

Past Mentees


Zakira Debraux

Undergraduate Research Assistant at VCU


Tene'Sha Crews

Undergraduate Research Assistant at VCU


Hailie Suarez-Rivas

Undergraduate Research Assistant at VCU

Interested in joining our team?

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