ELIXIR Hub welcomes three new members of staff

We are delighted to announce the appointment of three new members of staff at the ELIXIR Hub. Peter Maccallum joins as the new Chief Technical Officer, and Katharina Heil as the new Communities Coordinator. Melissa Konopko joins us in a new role as the Scientific Product Manager within the Human Genomics and Translational Data team. 

Peter Maccallum - Chief Technical OfficerPhotograph of Peter Maccallum, the new ELIXIR CTO

Peter Maccallum joins ELIXIR as the new Chief Technical Officer (CTO). As CTO, Peter will lead the design and implementation of an ELIXIR-wide technical strategy and oversee developments across the five ELIXIR Platforms (Data, Tools, Interoperability, Compute and Training) and ELIXIR Communities outside the domain of human data. Working with ELIXIR Members and international partners, Peter will bring together scientific and technical expertise and resources for the development of ELIXIR's portfolio of bioinformatics services. 

Peter’s previous role was as the Associate Director for Genome Informatics in AstraZeneca's Centre for Genomics Research, the company's strategic programme to analyse the genomes of up to two million individuals along with their clinical data with the aim to provide insights into drug target selection and validation. Prior to his role at AstraZeneca he was Head of Research Computing Services at University College London. Here he led a team delivering University and national High Performance Computing to a range of institutions including the UK National Facility for Materials and Molecular Modelling. Peter originally trained in chemistry and structural biology.

Peter takes over the CTO position from Jerry Lanfear, who has served as ELIXIR CTO from 2017 to the present. Jerry will continue working with ELIXIR as Head of Strategy, with responsibility for the next ELIXIR programme and for building an ELIXIR strategy around Biodiversity. 

Peter started his role on the 1 April 2021.

Katharina Heil - Communities CoordinatorPhotograph of Katharina Heil, the new ELIXIR Communities Coordinator

Katharina joins ELIXIR as the new Communities Coordinator. In overseeing the activities of the ELIXIR Communities in the domains beyond human data, Katharina will act to elevate their presence and facilitate their activities. She will also lead the development of new ELIXIR Communities where a need is identified. 

Originally from Germany, Katharina currently resides in Spain, where she previously worked at the University of Barcelona as a Scientific Project Manager working on the euCanSHare and EarlyCause projects. She is also the current President of the Erasmus Mundus Association, a role which she was drawn to after her joint PhD in Computational Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh and KTH in Sweden, which was an interdisciplinary project and funded by Erasmus Mundus. 

Katharina takes over from John Hancock, who served as the ELIXIR Communities and Services coordinator from 2017 before retiring in 2020. 

Katharina started her role on the 15 March 2021. 

Melissa Konopko - Scientific Product ManagerPhotograph of Melissa Konopko, the new ELIXIR Human Product Manager

Melissa joins ELIXIR in a newly created role as Scientific Product Manager in the Human Genomics and Translational Data (HGTD) team. In her role she will drive the adoption of HGTD infrastructure elements across the ELIXIR Nodes. She will particularly focus on the development and implementation of maturity models for the ELIXIR-CONVERGE, B1MG, and FAIRplus projects as well as GA4GH

Melissa previously worked as a Program and Partner Manager for the GA4GH at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. In this role she was responsible for four international teams of data scientists to focus on technical harmonisation in the field of genomic variants and annotation, human health data security and data use and access. 

Melissa brings a wealth of experience from her past role and her education. Hailing from the US, Melissa studied epigenetics and fetal brain development in her PhD at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and also holds an MBA and a BSc in biotechnology. 

Melissa started her role on the 4 January 2021.

Tue 6 April 2021