About

Staff

The Precision Health team is available to help support and connect faculty with the resources they need.

  • Rachel Dawson, JD, Managing Director

    Rachel serves as the Managing Director of Precision Health, where she has administrative and operational oversight over the campus-wide initiative. She brings more than 8 years of operations and project management experience, leading operations staff, developing teams, and representing organizations with employers and donors. Rachel came to U-M from Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where she served as assistant dean of career services. Prior to that, she was director of professional development at Faegre Drinker, where she directed lawyer training and development programs, drawing on her experience as an academic support specialist in law schools and as a staff director for the American Bar Association. Rachel has also been a practicing attorney; she served as an assistant appellate defender in Illinois, where she represented indigent individuals. Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

  • Tina Creguer, Senior Project Manager

    Tina comes to Precision Health after serving as managing director of the interdisciplinary University of Michigan Injury Center for six years. She has many years of experience managing successful projects in corporate roles, including serving as vice president of marketing communications for a large publishing company. Tina is available to help faculty engage with Precision Health, in addition to supporting all administrative and management functions.

  • Lori Robertson, Administrative Specialist

    Lori brings to this position more than two decades’ administrative experience in hospital and health care settings. She holds a Professional Administrative Certification, Service Excellence Certification, and Six Sigma Certification. Her eclectic background includes experience working in human resources, scheduling, and administrative office management, as well as implementing cost-saving measures and streamlined processes. Most recently, Lori was lead Administrative Assistant, Senior, for the Oncology Clinical Trials Support Unit at U-M, where she had the opportunity to work with multiple teams within the Cancer Center and campus wide.

  • Jessica Virzi, MSN, CSSBB, Clinical Informaticist

    Jessica is the MIPACT Project Director, and a Clinical Informaticist with Precision Health’s Health Implementation Workgroup. She is an accomplished clinical and research leadership professional with experience in improving strategic and operational initiatives, quality, informatics, clinical data analytics, and lean project management methodologies in healthcare. Jessica has led various quality assurance and process improvement efforts, and has implemented key strategic initiatives that cross multiple tiers of the health system.

  • Cinzia Villanucci Smothers, M. Bioethics; Manager, Data Analytics & IT

    Cinzia manages the multifaceted and interdisciplinary Data Analytics & IT workgroup, which brings together teams from the IT, clinical and genetic data, regulatory, computer science, and UXR domains. Before joining Precision Health, Cinzia was in charge of engagement-related projects and programs with a focus on learning analytics at the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation. Prior to moving to Michigan, she worked in the Global Health and Population Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she coordinated research programs and broadly supported faculty research projects and activities in the area of global health economics and demography. Cinzia has more than ten years of experience teaching residential as well as online courses in philosophy, logic, applied ethics/bioethics, and practical reasoning. Her education is grounded in philosophy, applied ethics, and policy, with a Master’s degree in Bioethics from La Sapienza University in Rome and a Master’s degree in Applied Philosophy from Bowling Green State University.

  • Clarissa Piatek, Communications Manager

    Clarissa has worked in communications in the fields of healthcare, medical research, nonprofit, and retail, in addition to having experience at the University of Michigan. Her most recent position was communications specialist for Critical Path Institute, where she wrote about cross-disciplinary, cross-sector collaboration in advancing treatments and therapies, biomarker qualification, precision medicine, and data aggregation and standardization. Prior to that, she held a communications role in the Law School. Clarissa has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from Emerson College. Clarissa manages the Precision Health communications portfolio, including newsletters, website, branding, events, and public relations.

  • Janet Houghtby, MS

    Janet Houghtby has been with the Department of Anesthesiology for nearly ten years.  Janet started her career in research with the Michigan Awareness Control Study. She then started and established the Michigan Genomics Initiative with the goal to complement a patient’s electronic medical record with their genetic data to lead to discoveries to improve patient treatments and therapies.  Janet currently is a Clinical Research Project Manager for the Michigan Predictive Activity & Clinical Trajectories study, which was built upon the experience she gained from 65,000+ patients enrolled in MGI.  She is responsible for the management of MIPACT study team and its study participants; as well as managing the subject incentives piece. Janet received her BA in Education from Western Michigan University and her MS in Education from the University of Michigan; she is also a Certified Clinical Research Professional.

  • Anisa Driscoll, Scientific Research Facilitator

    Anisa works with U-M Precision Health investigators across multiple disciplines. Prior to joining Precision Health, she managed and coordinated bio and data repositories at both the Rogel Cancer Center and Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Anisa completed her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and chemical biology at Wayne State University. She continues her education at Central Michigan University, working toward an MS in administration and project management. Anisa is enthusiastic about assisting collaborations that bridge the gap between researchers and U-M’s vast resources.

  • Anita Pandit, MS, Research Area Specialist Senior

    Anita completed her undergraduate degree in statistics-mathematics at Rutgers University and her MS in biostatistics at the University of Michigan. Since then, she has worked as the primary analyst and study coordinator for Genes for Good, a large-scale genetics study conducted through social media. As part of her role, she has collaborated on GWAS analyses for various self-reported outcomes such as women’s health and pregnancy outcomes, gastrointestinal disorders, and behavioral traits. Her personal research interests are centered around integrating and highlighting minority populations in genetics research.

  • Brett Vanderwerff, PhD, Research Area Specialist

    Before joining Precision Health, Brett spent six years working in a research group focused on the study of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics. He received a PhD in Molecular Bioscience from Washington State University, Washington . He holds a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He currently works as a Research Area Specialist for Precision Health and is responsible for developing, maintaining, and running pipelines for cleaning and analyzing genotype data.

  • Adrian Weyhing, Lead Application Programmer

    Adrian has over twenty years of experience building complex software applications. His specialties range from clinical business analysis to development of large-scale messaging systems. He comes to Precision Health after nearly 10 years of leading software development for the University of Michigan Transplant Center. At Michigan Medicine, Adrian was instrumental in building EMR components. Previously, Adrian helped build two early-stage startup companies, as the architect and lead developer of real-time application sharing and an online support platform, and by developing applications to help grassroots political groups coordinate their messaging and efforts. Adrian has also developed data analysis applications for Goldman Sachs, and telephony applications for Northern Telecom. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

  • Snehal Patil, MS, Application Programmer/Analyst Senior

    Snehal has been an application developer for seven years at the University of Michigan. She previously worked at Sartor lab and Nesvizhskii lab. She has been responsible for designing and maintaining web applications in different frameworks and has experience in database design and maintenance. She completed a Master’s in Bioinformatics from Marquette University, Wisconsin, and Bachelor’s from Shivaji University, India.

  • Giovanni Siciliano, Application Programmer/Analyst Senior

    Giovanni is an experienced software developer with over 14 years of experience working in the insurance industry. A strong and versatile engineering professional skilled in web, mainframe, and data warehousing technologies, Giovanni earned his BS in Computer Information Systems from Ferris State University. Giovanni will help implement technical solutions to Precision Health projects.

  • Justin Ortwine, Application Programmer/Analyst, Intermediate

    Justin is an application programmer and database administrator who joins Precision Health from the Anesthesiology Department and DataDirect development team. After earning a BS in Biology from the University of Michigan, he later returned to Eastern Michigan University to study Computer Science. He now brings to Precision Health extensive knowledge of health IT systems and experience with developing and supporting databases and their related infrastructures.

  • Steve Wolodkin, Research Cloud Administrator

    Steve has over ten years of experience working within Information Technology at the University of Michigan, supporting faculty and staff across a multitude of units. He currently serves as a Research Cloud Administrator responsible for Precision Health’s Windows virtual machine pool and a liaison with ARC-TS High Performance Computing and storage environments. He received his BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan.