GOBii Team


Liz Jones  DirectorLiz photo

Liz has a background in molecular breeding, including managing high throughput marker labs, establishing seed purity protocols, germplasm IP, host pathogen genetics and pedigree analysis. She has been the product owner for LIMS, variant management and marker design database systems.

She started out her career with a PhD in Plant Genetics studying pearl millet at the Center for Arid Zone Studies in Wales and working with the Cambridge labs in Norwich and ICRISAT in India. Her experience during this time generated a passion for plant genetics and molecular breeding and a great appreciation for the work of the CGIAR centers. After >10 years industry experience, her recruitment to the GOBII project fulfills a long standing aspiration to return to working with CGIAR centers, where she is thrilled to be able to apply her knowledge of plant genetics and data management.

Liz has managed cross-functional and global projects and has Project Management Certification.


Yanxin Star Gao  Breeding Informatics and Application Specialist 


Star was born in Inner Mongolia and grew up in Shenyang, China, where she got a MS in physiological defense in horticultural crops from Shenyang Agricultural University. She obtained her PhD at Cornell University in breeding disease resistance in horticultural crops. Her postdoc at Virginia Tech was in molecular breeding and genetics for soybean seed quality traits. Star worked as a corn breeder at Dow AgroSciences for six years until 2014 and then led North America corn double haploid method development, Inbred Database, Pedigree Verification and companywide inbred characterization projects before joining the GOBii project.

Star’s responsibilities include 1) mapping key workflows and processes at the CG centers, 2) ensuring connectivity between breeding management system (BMS) and GOBii, 3) transmitting between application teams and technical teams to support the development and testing of integrated breeding information management and analysis system tools, and 4) working with breeders to integrate GOBII tools into their breeding programs. Her areas of expertise are: project management, application of advanced marker technology and database tools in plant breeding, breeding scheme optimization, and continuous process improvement.


Phil Glaser  Senior Software Developer and Remote Development Coordinator

Phil cropped (2)

Phil has over two decades of experience in the software development field. He has developed file processing, web, and database applications in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, retirement planning, and biochemistry.

Phil is designing and developing GOBii’s J2EE middle tier and client user interfaces. His interests lie in the application of object oriented design principles and enterprise architecture patterns to create high-performance and fault-tolerant systems.



Joshua Lamos-Sweeney  Pipeline and Back-End Tool Development

Joshua has a Masters in Computer Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His thesis, Deep Learning using Genetic Algorithms, is Josh

available online.  He spent three years at Epic, the largest Electronic Health Record company in the United States, where he worked on charge processing and charge interfaces over a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient settings.

Joshua has always enjoyed writing efficient algorithms and the challenges of dealing with real-time applications in large data spaces; he has joined GOBii to pursue that passion as the back-end software developer.



Yaw Nti-Addae GOBII Software Development Group Leader   


He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a M.Sc. in Computational Biology with a thesis research project “Inferring Gene Interactions in Lung and Breast Cancers through Gene Regulatory Networks Assisted by Prior Knowledge.” He also holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Grinnell College.

Before joining GOBii in September, 2015, Yaw worked for Dow AgroSciences, LLC as a computational biologist. He was involved in numerous projects in the areas of quantitative genetics, machine learning, software engineering and statistical genetics. He led global efforts in field trial analysis and genetic evaluations software development. He was also involved in developing and implementing new capabilities for protein structure and function predictions. He specializes is workflow automation, high performance computing, algorithm development and statistical analysis.

At GOBii he is leading the software development group to develop pipelines for genomic analysis and architect big data solutions for genomic data management. He joined GOBii because of his interest in big data analytics and passion for open source projects.


Dave Matthews DaveMatthews Consultant

He has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Florida Southern College and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Florida.

Since 1979 he has been a research scientist at Cornell University, first in the Department of Plant Pathology studying the enzymatic detoxification of a plant defense compound by a pathogenic fungus, then in the Department of Plant Breeding isolating the germination signal for a parasitic plant from the seed exudate of its host plants.  In 1992 he changed from laboratory science to database curation, founding GrainGenes, the genome database for wheat, barley and oats.  In 2010 he expanded GrainGenes with the addition of The Triticeae Toolbox (T3), a storehouse of crop phenotype and genotype data to be mined and analyzed by association genetics.  His interests lie in providing database support for crop breeders’ decision-making, and developing intuitive web interfaces to select, extract, and analyze structured sets of data.

Given his area of expertise, he has joined the GOBii team as a consultant in genomics and structured sets of data.


Kevin Palis  Data Architect   kevinpalis_gobii2

Kevin graduated from the University of the Philippines Los Baños with a B.S. in Computer Science. For the past eight years, he worked in Telecommunications (Smart Communications, Inc.), IT (Oracle), Automotive (Continental AG), and Bioinformatics (IRRI). His work ranged from AAA server development, toolchains (Eclipse PDE) and IDEs implementation, compiler defect management, web development, to database design and implementation. His focus and interest is on databases.

Kevin worked as a Bioinformatics software specialist for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). His responsibilities included the design, implementation, and maintenance of the IRIC portal’s (SNP-Seek) database. Additionally he worked as the Scrum master throughout the project implementation, whose database was particularly large; hundreds of billions of rows of genotypic data (derived from the 3000 rice genome project). This started his interest in data warehouse, big data, and biological schemas.

With GOBii he will collaborate on the design, implementation, and administration of the production data warehouse for genomic information.


Roy Petrie  DevOps Engineer                                                                        

Roy was a Systems Administrator at an Internet Service Provider for eight years where his role was to host, deploy and maintain medium to enterprise level customers.  He was responsible for data center management and implemented the physical and cloud based architectures.


His role developed from Systems Administration into Software Development within the R&D department where he assisted development to a new architecture for Enterprise cloud platforms.  After completing six data center deployments he worked on live production support and service automation.

Moving into his Systems Engineering position, he received funding to redesign the pre-production lab and QA environments.  This architecture would become the blueprint for future production deployments, enabling full redundancy and future proofing data center expansion.  The design was built to host multi-level support for testing, development and training throughout the company.

With GOBii, he will be managing all System Administration and Development Operational tasks.  This includes building, managing and deploying GOBii Architecture while creating processes to maintain the product for users.



Angel VillahozBaleta   Scientific Programmer

Angel was the first deaf international student from Spain, to g20160525_151145 (3)raduate from an American University earning two degrees, B.Sc. and M.Sc., both in Computer Science with a Bioinformatics specialization from the University of Alabama at Birmingham thanks to its student disability services and remote captioning services.

He worked in bioinformatics in diverse bio medical centers in the Midwest and Northeast: University of Connecticut Health Center, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2008 to 2011.

While attending PhD studies in Bioinformatics at University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 2012, he developed two summer internships at Dow AgroSciences and the National Marrow Donor Program.

His professional interest are in methodologies of software engineering applied in bioinformatics.


Deb Weigand   Software Quality Assurance/Support 

Deb has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Analysis from Miami University, Oxford, OH. She has over 16 years of experience in a variety of technology roles, including Batch COBOL Programming, Systems Programming, Web Development, and the last 5+ years as Software Quality Assurance.  As SQA, she worked for a Software Development company, Envisage Information Systems in Ithaca, NY, doing manual UI and backend testing, as well as test automation.  She is passionate about QA, stemming from her innate desire for things to work as expected and need to determine the root cause when they don’t.  She especially likes negative and boundary testing which is where most issues are discovered.  She looks forward to collaborating on the GOBii project development.

With GOBii, her main responsibilities will be testing new features, training, proposing process improvements, writing documentation of released features, tracking issues, gathering requirements, loading data with collaborating breeding centers (CGs), as well as regression testing, documentation & user manual, and version tracking.


Monica Franciscus  Administrator 


She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and worked in multinationals in Spain and Italy for five years. She returned to the U.S., enrolled in art school in Manhattan and became a full time artist and teacher for 20 years. She’s involved in her studio outside of ‘work’. Prior to joining GOBii she worked in New York City for Rogers Marvel Architects assisting the two principals and then was the assistant to PIs at the Boyce Thompson Institute.