Our mission is to empower pediatric cancer experts poised for the next big discovery with the knowledge, data, and tools to reach it.
We construct tools that make vast amounts of data widely available, easily mineable, and broadly reusable.
We train researchers and scientists to better understand their own data and to advance their work more quickly.
The Data Lab upholds the values of creating kind and supportive environments for childhood cancer research and democratizing access to tools and data in all settings.
The Childhood Cancer Data Lab was established by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in 2017. ALSF recognized that pediatric cancer researchers face hurdles that impede the pace of research. A massive amount of childhood cancer data exists, but collecting, sharing, and utilizing it can be a challenge. Far too often, data is not available in a ready-to-use format or found in easily accessible locations, making it difficult for researchers to carry out analyses and answer their scientific questions. ALSF introduced the Data Lab to empower researchers and scientists across the globe by removing roadblocks, supporting opportunities for collaboration and sharing, and developing resources to accelerate new treatment and cure discovery.
More about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who was fighting cancer and wanted to raise money to find cures for all children with cancer. Her spirit and determination inspired others to support her cause, and when she passed away at the age of 8, she had raised $1 million. Since then, the foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement. Today, ALSF is one of the leading funders of pediatric cancer research in the U.S. and Canada raising more than $200 million so far, funding nearly 1,000 research projects, and providing programs to families affected by childhood cancer. For more information, visit alexslemonade.org.
Jaclyn Taroni, PhD (Director)
Jaclyn joined the Data Lab in 2018 as the team's first full-time scientist and assumed the Director role in 2021. In her time with the Data Lab, Jaclyn established our training workshop program, served as the scientific lead for refine.bio, and was one of the main organizers of the Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas project.
Jaclyn received her PhD from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and postdoctoral training at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research interests included leveraging large, heterogeneous collections of biomedical data to study rare diseases.
David S Mejia (Engineering Manager)
David has been the Engineering Manager for the Data Lab since the start of 2022 after joining as a Full Stack Developer in 2019. He has spent most of that time solving various engineering challenges with refine.bio, as well as building the web interfaces for the ScPCA Portal, and the Childhood Cancer Research Resources (CCRR) Portal.
Prior to joining the Data Lab, David was a freelance web developer specializing in interactive tools for user generated content, novel digital experiences, and e-commerce stores.
Deepa Prasad (UX Designer)
Since joining the Data Lab in 2017, Deepa has led studies to gain a deeper understanding of behaviors, processes, attitudes and barriers of pediatric cancer researchers and helped translate those insights into tools developed by the Data Lab. She is responsible for designing the interfaces for refine.bio, the ScPCA Portal, and the Childhood Cancer Research Resources (CCRR) Portal.
Deepa has a background in software engineering and design and received a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction from Indiana University-Indianapolis, where she focused on creating interactive experiences for museums and user-centered approaches for data analysis in the context of fluid research.
Jen O’Malley (Scientific Community Manager)
Jen joined the Data Lab in 2021. She manages communications, helps administer programs and services, identifies opportunities to maximize the Data Lab’s reach, and maintains a supportive community for pediatric cancer researchers.
Before joining the Data Lab, she was a member of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s (ALSF) Special Events team. Jen received her Bachelor of Arts in English, followed by her Master of Arts in Public Relations and Communications from Hofstra University.
Chante Bethell (Biological Data Analyst)
Chante joined the Data Lab in 2019 as one of the team's Biological Data Analysts. Since then, she has contributed to analyses for the Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas project and external single-cell RNA-sequencing projects, worked on refine.bio example analyses for users who visit the Data Lab's refine.bio resource, and assisted with carrying out training workshops.
Before joining the Data Lab, Chante received her Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics at Rowan University, where her research interests included functional motifs in the proteome.
Joshua Shapiro, PhD (Data Scientist)
Josh joined the Data Lab in 2019. He has worked on updating and expanding the Data Lab's training workshops, performing analysis for the Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas project, and creating reusable analysis pipelines for the Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas.
Before joining the Data Lab, Josh was an Assistant Professor at Bryn Mawr College, where he taught courses in evolutionary genetics and genomics, bioinformatics and biostatistics. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago, followed by postdoctoral training at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.
Josh is not running for governor of Pennsylvania.
Steven Foltz, PhD (Postdoc)
Steven is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who joined the Data Lab in 2020. He is interested in using machine learning approaches to gain insights from public data and drive pediatric cancer research. As a PennPORT fellow, Steven is also developing his passion for higher ed teaching and mentoring.
Ally Hawkins, PhD (Data Scientist)
Ally joined the Data Lab in 2021. Most of her time has been spent building and developing the analytical pipelines for the Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas. Additionally, she works with external collaborators on single-cell RNA-sequencing projects, applying our in-house processes and reusable pipelines to help bring their research to the next level.
Before joining the Data Lab, Ally completed her PhD in Cancer Biology and Master's in Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan followed by post-doctoral training at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she focused on methods development and analysis of single-cell multi-omics technologies.
Stephanie J. Spielman, PhD (Data Scientist)
Stephanie joined the Data Lab in February 2022. She is working on the collaborative Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas project and is developing new training workshop offerings in reproducible computation.
Before joining the Data Lab, Stephanie was an Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at Rowan University, where she taught courses in evolution and data science for life scientists. She received her PhD in Integrative Biology, with a focus in computational molecular evolution, from UT Austin and her BS in Biology with Honors from Brown University.
Nozomi Ichihara (Front-end Engineer)
Nozomi joined the Data Lab in mid-March 2022 as a Front End Developer. Working with cross functional teams at the Data Lab, she enjoys collaborating with others as well as participating in open source projects - refine.bio and ScPCA Portal.
Before joining the Data Lab, Nozomi worked on various projects including intranet web applications, Sass products, and branded websites. She has an educational background in Multimedia Arts & Design and has passion for both UX creation and UI development. As a UI developer, she loves working with UX/UI designers and being part of building human-centered applications.