Post-Doctoral Researchers

Mariusz Butkiewicz, Ph.D.

Dr. Mariusz Butkiewicz is currently a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Jonathan Haines in the Institute of Computational Biology and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. His current research focusses on quantitative genetic and genomic studies with an
emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders. Dr. Butkiewicz is also interested in developing novel computational methods for analyzing dense genotypic and sequence data in both case/control and family-based datasets. Previously, Dr. Butkiewicz earned a Diploma in Computer Science (Master’s equivalent) from Leipzig University in Germany, and later earned his PhD in computational Chemistry from Vanderbilt University working with Dr. Jens Meiler ( on developing new cheminformatics approaches to aid drug discovery of novel small molecule therapeutics for Schizophrenia and Malaria.

Sandra Smieszek, Ph.D.

Dr. Sandra Smieszek is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics working for Dr. William Bush and Dr. Jonathan Haines. Sandra completed her PhD at the Centre for Systems and Synthetic Biology at Royal Holloway, University of London under the supervision of Dr. Paul Devlin. Her research focuses on translating biomedical ‘big data’ with the aim of elucidating the human genotype-phenotype associations. Specifically her research focuses on delineating the genetic underpinnings of complex traits and disorders with emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease, HIV-associated phenotypes, and Autism Spectrum Disorder among others. Her particular interests include application of concepts within the domains of translational bioinformatics, machine learning, systems biology and network inference to elucidate the complex interactions giving rise to observed phenotypes. Her previous research was in the domain of the circadian clock working on various types of ‘omic’ time series data. She is a member of International Society of Computational Biology, American Society of Human Genetics and Society of Biology with avid interest in synthetic genomics, genetic engineering and science policy.

Nicole A. Restrepo, PhD

Dr. Nicole Restrepo is a Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics working with Dr. Jonathan Haines in the Institute for Computational Biology and Dr. Ruth Keri in the Department of Pharmacology. Nicole earned her PhD in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of Dr. Dana Crawford. Additionally, she earned her Bachelor of Science in 2008 majoring in Chemistry and Biology with a concentration in Genetics and Biotechnology from Middle Tennessee State University. Nicole’s graduate research pursued the identification of population-specific genetic and environmental modifiers contributing to ocular disease (i.e., age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma) in diverse populations. She is currently completing her Interdisciplinary Masters in Computational Biology at Vanderbilt University as well as beginning her Computational Genomic Epidemiology of Cancer (CoGEC) fellowship at Case Western Reserve University. Her fellowship work broadly focuses on bioinformatics approaches to the study of cancer genomics. This involves computational modeling of ocular cancer as an in silco model for the identification of novel tumor suppressor mechanisms and transcriptomic analysis of potential hierarchical co-regulators of cellular differentiation genes in breast cancer cell types.