Research Team

Amelia Mazzone, Ph.D.

Amelia Mazzone joined the Functional Epigenomics Laboratory as senior research technologist in 2019, where she functions in a senior capacity and as a lab manager. Her technical expertise in cellular and molecular biology techniques includes immunohistochemistry, Western blots, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantitative polymerase chain reaction (quantitative PCR), lentivirus production and transduction, RNA sequencing (RNAseq), ATAC sequencing (ATACseq), multiple single-cell techniques, and cell culture and transfection.

After receiving her Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Bari, Italy, Dr. Mazzone came to Mayo Clinic in 2003. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D., from 2003 to 2005 and then joined the laboratory of Dr. Gianrico Farrugia and remained until 2019. She started as a senior postdoctoral fellow and was promoted to the rank of research associate. Dr. Mazzone holds the academic rank of instructor of medicine.


  • American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society Travel Award, 2018
  • Certificate of Recognition for Scientific Accomplishment as an Early Career Investigator, American Gastroenterological Association, 2018
  • Certificate of Recognition for Scientific Accomplishment as an Early Career Investigator, American Gastroenterological Association, 2017
  • Physiological Genomic Trainee Research Excellence Award, American Physiological Society, 2016
  • Post-doctoral research award, American Liver Foundation, 2005

Wazim Mohammed Ismail, Ph.D.

Dr. Mohammed Ismail is a bioinformatics research fellow in the Functional Epigenomics Lab at Mayo Clinic. His primary research interest is solving computational challenges in genomic and epigenomic assay data interpretation, specifically in the developing field of single-cell genomics. He graduated with dual degrees in computer science and biological sciences from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India, and earned a master's degree in bioinformatics and a Ph.D. in computer science from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2020. At Indiana University, Dr. Mohammed Ismail developed several algorithms using combinatorial approaches and probabilistic modeling to solve problems in genomics, such as clonal reconstruction from allele frequency time series estimated by whole genome sequencing of an evolving cell population. Before embarking in the academic world, he worked in industry as a software engineer/developer.


  • International Conference on Intelligent Biology and Medicine Travel Award, 2019
  • National Science Foundation Travel Fellowship,18th Annual International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB), 2014
  • Best of IBM — Bravo award in recognition for the contribution toward resolving critical issues in the Tivoli energy management software, 2010
  • Summer research fellowship in 2008 awarded by the Indian Academy of Sciences, 2008

John Moore-Weiss, Ph.D.

John Moore-Weiss is a research fellow in the Laboratory for Functional Epigenetics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. His research focus is on the analysis of multiomic data of the cancer epigenome with the goal of understanding and predicting what therapies will be effective against specific cancers. Before he ventured into the epigenomic world, he was an astrophysicist. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical, planetary, and atmospheric sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Moore-Weiss spent 12 years working on the Cassini mission to Saturn, planning observations and analyzing data. He has also been an assistant professor of science at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington, and a visiting assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Amik Munankarmy

Amik Munankarmy is a research trainee in the Laboratory of Functional Epigenomics at Mayo Clinic. He earned a medical degree (MBBS) from Tianjin Medical University in 2009 and completed his master's degree in general surgery at Tongji University, China, in 2018. His research in Dr. Maia's lab focuses on identifying transcriptional dependencies in ovarian cancer using 3D ovarian cancer organoids and patient-derived xenografts.

Nazanin Nahrjou, M.S.

Nazanin works as research technologist in the Functional Epigenomic Lab at Mayo Clinic. Her research in Dr. Maia's lab focuses on the role of cancer stem cells in the tumorigenic process by exploiting the SOX2/OCT4 traceable reporter system to investigate SOX2 expression and its effect on carboplatin/taxol treatment. She completed her B.Sc. degree in applied chemistry and an M.Sc. in physical chemistry in Iran, and earned her master's degree in biochemistry at Michigan Technological University in 2020.


  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Annual Award: Department of Chemistry, Michigan Technological University, 2019-2020
  • Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Remote Instructor of Michigan Technological University, 2020
  • National Elites Foundation of Iran Award: Graduate program fellowship (M.Sc. in physical chemistry) and Entrance Exam Exceptional Award, 2009