Leadership

ashok

Ashok Krishnamurthy is the Interim Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and a Research Professor of Computer Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is also the Co-director for Informatics and Data Science (IDSci) at NC TraCS. Krishnamurthy has many years of experience with informatics and data science including data science cyberinfrastructure, medical image analysis, time-series data analysis, machine learning and high performance computing.

He has over 15 years’ experience as both a researcher and an administrator in advancing cutting-edge research in interdisciplinary teams. Krishnamurthy collaborates with researchers in informatics, biomedical and health research, and social sciences to develop projects and programs that leverage the power of data science and scalable computing to solve challenging problems that advance the state-of-the-art. He advises undergraduate and graduate students and mentors post-doctoral scholars and junior investigators. He is also involved in managing and enhancing research partnerships with faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University, along with building relationships between RENCI and Triangle area businesses.

Ashok’s research over the years has been funded by NSF, NIH, DoD, DARPA and DOE. Prior to joining RENCI and UNC in 2013, Krishnamurthy was for many years at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and a faculty member at The Ohio State University. While at OSC, Krishnamurthy played a crucial role in establishing OSC’s successful industrial outreach initiative called Blue Collar Computing. He also helped develop and deploy cyberinfrastructure that allows researchers to easily access and use computing and storage resources at OSC. Krishnamurthy holds PhD and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Asia Mieczkowska is RENCI’s Interim Chief Operations Officer. In this role, she manages the day-to-day operations of RENCI and leads both the Office of the Director Coordination Team (OOD-CT) and the Research Project Management Office (RPMO). Asia serves as an outreach liaison for RENCI groups and helps to coordinate activities across RENCI, UNC-CH, Duke, and NC State. She co-leads several large, multi-institutional and/or multi-disciplinary sponsor-funded research and coordination projects. Asia and her teams are responsible for creating comprehensive systems that streamline data collection, reporting, and administrative maintenance for the Office of the Director and RENCI staff. Additionally, Asia oversees the RENCI Service Program activities. 

Her previous professional life includes K-12 teaching and managing one of UNC-CH’s genetics laboratories focused on the research of transcription regulation of human and model organisms. She has supported the research in ENCODE and modENCODE projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. Asia holds an MA in literature from Warsaw University, Poland, and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources Management from the School of Business and International Finances & International School of Managers in Warsaw, Poland.

Kristi Andrews is RENCI’s Associate Director of Finance & Research Administration. She is responsible for the institute’s day-to-day fiscal management and research administration. This includes accounting, purchasing, travel, effort management and sponsored research administration.  Kristi and her team are responsible for managing all institutional and sponsored research funding. RENCI sponsored research funding comes from a variety of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. Her team also provides assistance with submission of research proposals, ensuring that the institute remains in compliance with university, state and federal guidelines. In addition to RENCI, Kristi’s team also manages finance and research administration for the UNC Center for Natural Hazards Resilience and the Center for Galapagos Studies.

Ilya Baldin leads RENCI’s network research and infrastructure programs. He is a networking researcher with a wide range of interests, including high-speed optical network architectures, cross-layer interactions, novel signaling schemes, and network security. He is the PI for NSF Mid-scale testbed called FABRIC, which supports experiments with future Internet technologies. Before coming to RENCI, Baldin was the principal scientist at the Center for Advanced Network Research at the Research Triangle Institute and a network research engineer at the Advanced Network Research group at MCNC, where he was a team member and a leader of a number of federally funded research efforts. He holds PhD and MS degrees in computer science from North Carolina State University.

Brian Blanton is RENCI’s director of Earth Data Sciences and an oceanographer 20+ years of experience in analysis and simulation of the coastal ocean, high performance computing, and earth sciences data analytics. His research usually involves applications of the tide, storm surge, and wind wave model ADCIRC for problems on storm surge and tide dynamics, interaction of storm surge and coastal river flooding, and the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on coastal hazards and risks.  He earned a BS (1991) in mathematics from Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia, and a PhD (2003) in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chris Bizon is the director of Analytics and Data Science. He leads a team that applies a range of analytical methods including knowledge graphs, machine learning, visual analytics, semantic web-based reasoning, and textual annotation across many domains. He joined RENCI in 2008 as a member of the informatics group, where he worked in the areas of high-throughput sequencing, genomic analysis, and clinical genomics. Prior to joining RENCI, he spent a decade in the private sector working as both a developer and a researcher in the areas of fluid dynamics simulations and the application of machine learning to drug discovery. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he developed numerical models of nonlinear phenomena including pattern formation in oscillated granular media.

Sarah Davis is a Senior Research Project Manager. She leads a team of project managers supporting multiple NIH and NSF-sponsored research projects and oversees a broad variety of scientific and educational events. For the BioData Catalyst Coordinating Center and NIH HEAL Data Stewardship Group projects, she coordinates across diverse teams, developing standards, practices, and protocols to increase efficiency and automation of cross-team project management.  She also leads RENCI’s efforts to develop an interdisciplinary data science and law community, serving as a co-PI on an NSF-funded workshop and leading efforts to develop judicial training on data science. She has an BA in art history from Boston College and a JD from Duke University.

Marian Mersmann is a Senior Research Project Manager and co-leader of RENCI’s Research Project Management Office. She jointly oversees a team of project managers and coordinators supporting a variety of sponsored and state-funded research projects. Her own portfolio includes large-scale, multi-institutional team science initiatives as well as pan-campus projects centering on biological and translational sciences. She currently serves as co-PI on the RADx Data Hub Program where she oversees operations and outreach efforts and fosters strong relationships with RENCI’s funded partners and NIH leadership. She also supports RENCI’s internal operations through strategic planning and leadership of grant development process improvements. Marian has a BS in Psychology from Kansas State University.

Terrell Russell serves as the Director of Data Management for RENCI as well as the Executive Director of the iRODS Consortium. In addition to providing direction and support for Data Management efforts at RENCI, he provides management and oversight of the iRODS Consortium and high level architecture design. He’s interested in distributed systems, metadata, security, and open source software that accelerates science. Terrell holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering, a B.S. in Information Technology and Service Organizations, and an M.S. in Computer Networking from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.