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, where she works closely with the faculty co-directors to shape strategy, implement programs, and develop resources for researchers across campus. Rachel manages the administrative staff as well as the day-to-day operations of the campus-wide initiative. Her responsibilities include oversight of teams that develop data analytics methods and secure compute environments, patient cohorts and community engagement initiatives in support of research, education and training programs to develop precision health scientists, and health implementation teams that bring cutting-edge discoveries to the bedside to treat patients.

    Rachel is an active member of the U-M community, where she serves on the executive team of the Women of Color Task Force and is a member of the Michigan Medicine Anti-Racism Oversight Committee. Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

  • 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.

  • Arika Lycan, LMSW, Member Engagement Manager

    Arika (pronouns: they/them/theirs) serves as the Membership Engagement Manager for Precision Health. They are responsible for supporting, creating, and administering membership programs and engagement efforts, focused on quality member experience. Arika has 15+ years of program management and development experience, including seven years in the membership/association industry.  They are a positive, enthusiastic person, passionate about learning, connecting, and excellent customer service. They are committed to personal & structural DEI & anti-racism work. Arika earned their Master’s degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University and their Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University.

  • 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.

  • Janet Houghtby, MS; Manager, Cohort Development

    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.

  • Henry Robertson, Clinical Research Technician

    Henry is a Research Assistant and primarily recruits participants into the MY PART study.  He earned his BA in History at U-M Dearborn in 2021 and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Information Sciences at U-M.



  • Kristen Perkins, MSA, PMP, Senior IT Project Manager

    Kristen is a certified Project Management Professional with over fifteen years’ experience working in the health care information technology industry.  She joins Precision Health as the Senior IT Project Manager for Data Analytics & IT. Kristen is skilled in leading cross-functional teams through all phases of the project life cycle and has a background in mathematics, health care analytics, and data management. She completed her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and received her Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in Health Services from Central Michigan University.

  • Jacob Ortlieb, Clinical Research Coordinator

    Jacob has helped coordinate and recruit participants for multiple research studies within Anesthesiology and Precision Health. He earned his BA in public policy at Michigan State University, and he is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Health Informatics at U-M.


  • Gaspare Leone, Clinical Research Assistant

    Gaspare earned his BA in Romance languages with a focus on Spanish at Wayne State University. With 10 years’ experience with the Spanish language, Gaspare has taught in Mexico and Spain at an elementary school and as a full-time substitute teacher at Huron Academy (Grades 3-9). Gaspare is excited to utilize his knowledge of Spanish in the medical field, particularly to help the team reach out to diverse patients.

  • Karee Lesko, Clinical Research Technician

    Before joining Precision Health, Karee worked as a manager and helped launch a contact tracing/vaccine information call center for the state of Indiana to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. She received her BS in Zoology at Michigan State University and still has a passion for animals, with experience researching and taking care of exotic animals such as cheetahs, bears, leopards, and red pandas.

  • Susan Hollar, MSI

    Susan has worked at U-M for 22 years, first in the University Library, then in the Medical School and HITS. At Precision Health, she assists researchers by communicating complex technical, data structure, and system access information using written and visual formats. She prepares instructional materials on using technology tools and accessing data, and assesses technology tools. Susan is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Information, where she earned a Master of Science in Information (MSI).

  • Emily Bertucci-Richter, PhD, Genetic Data Analyst

    Emily is a Genetic Data Analyst for Precision Health’s Michigan Genomics Initiative. Before joining Precision Health, she studied the epigenetic and environmental determinants of aging and lifespan across a variety of species. Emily earned her PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia and her bachelors degree in Biology from Northern Michigan University.

  • Qihua Zhao, Senior Application Systems Analyst / Programmer

    Qihua currently serves as a Senior Application Systems Analyst/Programmer for Precision Health at the University of Michigan. He worked over 20 years as a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Radiation Oncology to develop active-matrix flat panel imagers for mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis, radiography and fluoroscopy, and radiotherapy, as well as for a cone-beam CT.  He received his PhD from New Mexico State University.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, Database Analyst/Programmer, 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.

  • Matt Milligan, Research Cloud Administrator

    Matt currently serves as a Research Cloud Administrator responsible for Precision Health’s Windows virtual machine pool, and as a liaison with ARC High Performance Computing and storage environments. He received his BS and MS from Eastern Michigan University. Matt brings with him over 8 years of experience supporting faculty, staff, and students in ITS at U-M.