Nathan Sheffield, PhD

Assistant Professor


B.S. Bioinformatics, Brigham Young University
Ph.D. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Duke University
Postdoc Computational Epigenetics, CeMM, Vienna, and Stanford University


I grew up in California, but have lived in many places in the US and abroad. I appreciate cultural diversity and spent much of my adult life living in Europe. As an undergraduate, I studied Bioinformatics and did research in phylogenetic systematics and population genetics with Michael Whiting and Keith Crandall. I completed my PhD at Duke in 2013, working on pattern recognition in gene regulation in primates and among human cell-types with Terry Furey (now at UNC), Greg Crawford, and Boris Lenhard (CSC and Imperial). After my PhD, I was an HFSP Postdoctoral Fellow in Christoph Bock’s Lab at the Center for Molecular Medicine, Vienna, with the return phase of my fellowship in Howard Chang’s Lab at Stanford. I’ve been lucky to work with lots of other great collaborators over the years as well. In free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, teaching my children, reading good books, writing, taking photos, and having fun.

I also have a passion for scientific writing, and am the author of this Scientific Writing web resource.

John Lawson

I am a graduate student in the biomedical engineering Ph.D. program. I received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Liberty University where I studied the epigenetics and gene regulation of Alzheimer’s disease. My current interests include cancer epigenetics (I’ve been researching acute myeloid leukemia) and developing new computational methods for integrating various “omics” datatypes and for analyzing DNA methylation. I really like living in Charlottesville and I enjoy running on Charlottesville’s trails or around UVA’s campus and reading when I have time.

Jason Smith, M.S.


B.S. Biological Sciences, NC State University
M.S. Marine Biology, College of Charleston


I’m a graduate student in the biomedical sciences Ph.D program here at the University of Virginia. I have experience working in human health and disease while part of the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation where we performed big data driven whole genome studies involving HIV, hemophilia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia to name a few. I pivoted slightly for my masters thesis where I worked in a sea-ice diatom investigating the environmental factors driving a family of novel proteins’ abundance and regulation. I returned to work in the human health field while working with Todd Fox and Mark Kester at UVA. Following this experience I wanted to continue driving my own research with an emphasis on computational methodology. Outside of my research, I’m an avid reader, I enjoy a regular game of pick-up basketball/football/soccer, I love to go fishing (when I find the time), but I’m mostly spending time with my growing family (I’m a new dad!).

Vince Reuter

I’m a software developer with bioinformatics experience and particular interest in computational biology applications. As a member of the Sheffield lab in the CPHG and the Kipnis lab in the Neuroscience department, I’m focused on the relationship between the epigenome and neuroimmunological disorders. I came from Seattle to Charlottesville to join the University of Virginia, and prior to that I lived in Denver & New York. My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics-Statistics, and I enjoy learning about new computational approaches to biological research questions. Additionally, I like basketball, mountain scrambles, learning programming tools & languages, and discovering the quirks of a new place.

Olha Kholod, MS

I am a graduate student in Medical Informatics at Translational & Cancer Bioinformatics Laboratory at the University of Missouri-Columbia. My PhD research is aimed at developing computational tools for analyzing cancer pathways perturbations. I received a masters degree in Pathology from University of Missouri-Columbia as a Fulbright scholar. My thesis was dedicated to transcriptome analysis in pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients and supervised by Dr. Kristen Taylor. During the summer in 2017, I was interning at Center of Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia as an Edmund S. Muskie scholarship recipient. I was mastering single-cell sequencing analysis, improving my R programming skills, as well as utilized computational tools created in Dr. Sheffield’s laboratory.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading contemporary literature and playing clarinet.

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I’m recruiting!

I have several open positions, including for graduate students, undergraduate researchers, a technician or programmer, and a computational postdoc. Positions and details will be listed on the join page.