People

Dr. Heather E. Wheeler, Principal Investigator

Heather is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago with joint appointments in the Departments of Biology, Computer Science, and Public Health Sciences. She teaches courses within the Bioinformatics major. She was recently featured in a New Faculty Spotlight article in the Biology Department Newsletter. Before joining Loyola in 2015, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Chicago. While there, she appeared in a LabTV video describing her research. Heather holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University and a B.A. in Biology from Hamline University. When not working on modeling complex trait genetics or course design, Heather enjoys exploring Chicago with her family. Favorite spots include The Field Museum, Momotaro, Coliseum Park, Comiskey or whatever it's called (especially when the Twins are in town), and Lincoln Hall.


Dr. Lauren Mogil, Postdoc

Lauren is a postdoctoral researcher in the Wheeler lab. Her research interests include analyzing big data sets to further understand what affects disease states. She received her Ph.D. from Mayo Graduate School in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She also hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics and Biology from Loyola University Chicago. When she’s not in the lab, Lauren enjoys exploring Chicago, going to the theater, dancing, yoga, and traveling.


Mohammed Abdul Sami, Undergraduate Student

Mohammed is a junior Biology major with a Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience minor in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program. He is a Mulcahy Scholar. He is interested in a variety of disease processes in medicine and genetics, and eventually plans on pursuing a medical degree after his undergraduate studies. When not in the lab, Mohammed enjoys swimming, tennis, trying, *emphasis on trying*, to teach himself new things, and writing!


Angela Andaleon, Undergraduate Student

Angela is a junior Biology major with current plans to move into industrial biological research after completion of her degrees. Her interests include genetic diversity within and between human populations. She is a Carbon Fellow and was recently accepted into the BS Biology/MS Bioinformatics accelerated degree program. She joined the Wheeler lab fall of 2016 after attending the computer science section of the First Year Research Experience that summer. Outside of lab, she enjoys seeing musicals, including winning the Book of Mormon lottery last summer, and attending concerts, once driving four hours to Warped Tour to crowd surf at Neck Deep.


Peter Fiorica, Undergraduate Student

Peter is a sophomore Biochemistry and Biology major in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program. He is also a Mulcahy Scholar.After college, he plans to continue his academic career in graduate school. His love of genetics and molecular biology stems from dinner table conversations with his parents about medicine and the background behind diseases. As he has grown older, he has developed a passion for human genetics because of the seemingly endless mysteries that the human genome holds. In his free time, he can be found cheering for his local Buffalo sports teams, eating chicken wings, or drinking from his Linus Pauling coffee mug.


Jack Morris, Undergraduate Student

Jack is a junior Bioinformatics major from St. Louis, Missouri. He hopes to pursue a career in biological industry, or to move onto graduate school for a degree in Genetic Counseling. Jack's passion for genetics started at a young age, and as the field grows more rapidly, he becomes more fascinated by it. In his free time, he enjoys a wide range of sports, finding new Chicago restaurants to try out, and taking time to immerse himself in a good book.


Ashley Mulford, Undergraduate Student

Ashley is a sophomore Bioinformatics major in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program. She is planning on applying for the BS/MS Bioinformatics accelerated degree program during her junior year. She is interested in working in industry after graduation, most likely for a biotech company. Outside of working in the lab, Ashley enjoys spending time with friends and family, listening to alternative music, and exploring Chicago.


Sally Ploch, Research Assistant

Sally holds a B.S. in Biology from Loyola University Chicago. She joined the Wheeler lab in spring of 2017. Her research interests include pharmacogenomics and complex trait prediction. Sally plans on becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine and is currently in the process of applying to veterinary school. Outside of lab, Sally enjoys working as a vet tech, volunteering at a local animal shelter, and spending time with family and friends.


Jennifer Takamura, Undergraduate Student

Jennifer Takamura is a junior who is majoring in biology with a minor in psychology with plans to pursue graduate school. She is fluent in Vietnamese and French, but ironically, does not know any Japanese. When she is not studying for classes or doing reseach she enjoys baking, knitting, and playing piano. She also loves exploring Chicago whenever she can.




Rachel Weiss, Undergraduate Student

Rachel is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a molecular emphasis and a minor in Bioethics. After college, she plans on attending graduate school and continuing with research. Rachel has been interested in genetics since completing a project that showed the how differences in genotypes will impact the effects of a given medication. In her free time, Rachel can be found curled up with a book or exploring downtown Chicago.




Lab Alumni