Cooperative Human Tissue Network - Western Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Former CHTN Staff

An update on some of our former employees who have greatly contributed to CHTN Western.

Photo of Ying Jin




Ying Jin, Health Systems Software Engineer
Ying Jin has moved on to work at the Office of Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

With a B.E. degree from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Ying continued her education in Middle Tennessee State University and obtain her M.S. degree in computer science in 2002. Ying has worked at the Vanderbilt Genetic Medicine Division for four years focusing on the development of promoter analysis and gene annotation tools. During this time, she also designed and implemented a web portal application for the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disease. After Ying left genetic medicine in 2006, she started with CHTN Western Division. Ying participated in the CHTN data migration project and successfully converted and imported high volumes of data from the FoxPro database to the Oracle database for all six CHTN divisions. She is responsible for system support, maintenance, and data analysis of the CHTN donor and investigator systems. She has also been working on the new donor system by redesigning some existing components and creating some new required modules. Her work related interests include topics of data analysis, system design and implementation, particularly in J2EE frameworks.

Photo of Aunshka Collins






Aunshka Collins, RA I
Aunshka Collins is a remote research assistant with CHTN Western.  She is currently in Miami, FL completing another degree in science and working for CHTN part-time to complete and review QAQC.  She received her Bachelor of Science in psychology with a double minor in biology and health cum laude from Lipscomb University in May 2012.  Aunshka continued her education at Lipscomb University and received her Master's of Science in psychology in December 2013.  She hopes to apply her experience with the CHTN and continue her education at Vanderbilt University Medical School to become a physician-scientist, specializing in neurosurgery and psychiatry.

Click here to see presentations by Aunshka.

Lane Clemons, Research Assistant I

Lane Clemons was a research assistant in CHTN Western Division's Procurement department.  He received his Bachelors of Science with honors in biology from Samford University in Birmingham, AL.  Prior to joining CHTN, Lane worked as an academic therapist, teaching biology and chemistry to middle and high school students.  He conducted research in plant physiological ecology at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA focusing on photosynthetic performance and herbivory response in post-fire resprouts of H. arbutifolia (Chaparral shrub) after alien deer browse in the Santa Monica Mountains.  He hopes to apply his experience with the CHTN and continue his graduate education in cognitive neuroscience.

Photo of Anne Campbell






Anne Campbell, RA I
Anne Campbell was a research assistant in CHTN Western Division's Procurement department. She had formerly worked in the Shipping department and as a fluids processor.  In May 2012, Anne received her Bachelors of Science in biology from the University of Mary Washington. In the future, she hopes to continue her education by attending graduate school for immunology and cancer biology.

Ishan Parikh, RA I
Ishan Parikh was a research assistant with CHTN Western.  He recently graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelors in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, with a minor in Business Administration.  He will be continuing his education to become a doctor.  In the future, he hopes to continue his education and obtain a medical degree.

Photo of Sha'Mere Walker

Sha'Mere Walker, RA I

Sha'Mere Walker was a research assistant in CHTN Western Division's shipping department.  In August 2011, Sha'Mere received her Bachelors of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry from Tennessee State University (TSU).  She is now pursuing her Masters of Science in biology at TSU with anticipated graduation date of May 2014.  She will be applying her experience with CHTN to a future career as a dental surgeon specializing in oral cancer.


Cari Jennings, RA I
Cari Jennings was a research assistant with CHTN Western Division's Consenting Department. Cari received her Bachelor of Science with honors in biology, with a concentration in human physiology and a minor in chemistry in May 2012 from Middle Tennessee State University. She has been accepted to the University of Tennessee at Memphis Medical School and will be starting Fall 2014.

Photo of Matt Clement




Matthew L. Clement, Health Systems Software Engineer III
Matthew Clement still works with CHTN Western as a contractor for special projects.  Mr. Clement received his B.A. in computer science from Harding University in 2000.  He began his career working for ALLTEL Information Services developing client/server applications for financial institutions using VB6 and C++.  These applications included mortgage lending software, teller programs, call center applications, back office applications, CRM strategy software and telephony integration software.  In 2003 Mr. Clement started working for Acxiom.  At Acxiom he designed and implemented web based front ends using Java ServerFaces(JSF), Java Servlets, JSP, Java Script and C# .NET.  He also designed and implemented a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) based on Soap Web Services in the JBoss J2EE container.  He was also part of an architecture team that developed an application framework, in JSF, for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.  
In 2006 Mr. Clement joined Vanderbilt University where he created Spring Based Web Applications for the University Registrar's Office and the Department of Alumni Relations and reimplemented core business functionality in a Service Oriented Architecture.  Currently, Mr. Clement serves as the Project Manager and Architect for the CHTN Western Division IT department.  He is responsible for leading a team developing a new Donor application, as well as implementing and maintaining all supporting applications.  
His team is using the following technologies: JavaServer Faces (JSF), RichFaces, JQuery, Maven2, Spring and Hibernate.  Objective C is being used to provide limited functionality on iOS devices.  He is also responsible for working with all departments, internal and external, required to support the Information Technologies used by the CHTN Western Division.  Mr. Clement is also pursuing his PMP (Project Management Professional) certification from PMI.

 Photo of Jessica Rix




Jessica Rix, RA I
Jessica Rix was a research assistant in the CHTN Western Division's Procurement Department.  She will continue to be a research assistant at Vanderbilt for the Lung Spore. She worked alongside Erik Brooks as a procurement technician. Jessica continues to oversee the consent department making sure they are informing patients of the research and receiving consent for fluids and tissue samples. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry in 2011 from Belmont University.  Jessica hopes to continue her education in the future and become a physicians assistant. 






Sarah Feyas

Sarah Feyas was a Research Assistant I at CHTN Western Division.  She contributed to CHTN Western in many ways because she worked in many different sections of our division.  She started in the procurement lab with Erik, then moved to QAQC and pathology reports, and ultimately helped Cari with consenting of patients.  She is a graduate of Lipscomb University.






Bojana Zivak

Bojana Zivak was the program assistant at CHTN Western Division. She is now working in the defined contribution department in BPS&M of Wells Fargo located in Brentwood, TN. Bojana received her BBA magna cum laude from Lipscomb University in international business and corporate management in August 2010. She works alongside Kerry Wiles to assist with various CHTN operations. Bojana hopes to one day receive her MBA and work in healthcare management.





Marie Jacobovitz, RA I
Marie Jacobovitz continues to work at Vanderbilt University researching blood based biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and investigating the role of amino acid transporters in lung cancer malignancy.  At CHTN Western Division she was a research assistant in the shipping department. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry in 2010 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Marie hopes to continue her education at Vanderbilt University in the graduate program offered by the Department of Biological Sciences.

Ellen's pic
Ellen Heimann-Nichols, RA I
Ellen Heimann-Nichols has been a member of CHTN Western Division since 2009. Ellen was the shipping coordinator and managed the specimen QA/QC process. She received a B.S. degree in microbiology from Mississippi State University in 2005. She continued her higher eduction at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. There, she completed research studies of Murine Norovirus 1. In late 2006, Ellen started working as a research assistant for Dr. Vasundhara Varthakavi at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She was a member of a basic research laboratory investigating the Vpu portion of HIV and its interactions with human proteins.
Ellen is a contributing author on two papers: "Murine Norovirus 1 infection is associated with histopathological changes in immunocompetent hosts, but clinical disease is prevented by STAT 1-dependent interferon responses" Journal of Virology 2007 Apr; 81(7):3251-63 and "Identification of calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand as a human host restrivtion to HIV-1 release overcome by Vpu" that was published Nature Medicine 2008 June; 14(6): 641-7.
Ellen is involved in her community with various charities and athletic events. Ellen hopes to apply her work experience towards laboratory management.

Picture of Briana Skinner

Briana Skinner, RA I
Briana Skinner was a research assistant in CHTN Western Division's Procurement Department.  In May 2011, she received her Bachelor's of Science in biology from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  Briana hopes to continue her education and become an occupational therapist. Currently, she is holding a recruiting position for a medical company.






Dana E. Reeves, RA II
Dana Reeves worked as CHTN Western Division's research analyst II consenting personnel for about 4 years. Dana received her B.S. degree in community and public health education with a minor in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in 2006. She continued her education at MTSU to receive her M.S. degree with a concentration in public health in 2008.
Prior to her position at Vanderbilt, Dana worked for the Tennessee Cancer Registry in the Office of Cancer Surveillance as an epidemiologist intern and assisted in writing The Burden of Cancer in Tennessee report (published in 2008) and the first annual Cancer in Tennessee 1997-2003 report (published in 2006). With CHTN Western, Dana speaks with patients preoperatively regarding consent for fluid and tissue sample donation from their surgeries. She also keeps track of patient data, creates quarterly accrual data reports and assists with fulfilling investigators requests.
Dana has been a member of the Tennessee Public Health Association-Epidemiology and Biostatistics section since 2007. She is also a new member of the Southern Health Association. Dana hopes to apply her work experience toward pursuing a future career in epidemiology research.