Ben Heavner

Research Scientist
University of Washington

Genetic Analysis Center
Department of Biostatistics
UW Tower Box 359461
4333 Brooklyn Ave NE,
15th Floor
Seattle, WA 98195-9461


I'm a research scientist affiliated with the Genetic Analysis Center at the University of Washington. Our group is the Data Coordinating Center for the NHLBI TOPMed project.

My work focuses on data enablement, with particular focus on genotype variant annotation data. I wrote an R package for parsing output from the WGSA Annotation tool called WGSAParsr. I am active in the Data Commons Pilot Phase Consortium and the Data STAGE projects. I have experience integrating multi-omic data sets to enable biological discovery (e.g. doi:10.1093/jamia/ocv077) and I build cloud-based computational infrastructure.

Previously, my doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on the computational reconstruction of the metabolic network of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (e.g. doi:10.1089/ind.2012.0002, doi:10.1186/1752-0509-6-55, doi:10.1093/database/bat059). As a postdoc and research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology, this work refocused towards using metabolic network models as a scaffold for integrating multi-omic data for analysis and discovery.

Technical Skills

Most recently, I have been doing most of my work in R, with strong preferences for test-driven development of R packages and using tidyverse semantics. I've build tools using S3 and S4 object oriented approaches, and touched on tools using R6, but can't claim to really grok that yet.

I am a tech generalist - here's a dump of some technologies I have gained professional experience with: Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, docker, cluster computing with Sun Grid Engine and StarCluster, shell scripting, full stack web development tools like HTML5, Bootstrap, jQuery, Javascript, Angular JS, and node.js, Matlab, Linux, Solaris, mySQL/mariadb, postgres, oracle, Nagios (back when it was NetSaint), and perhaps most importantly, AOLServer.

Academic and Professional Background

Ph.D. Cornell University 2012
Biological and Environmental Engineering
M.S. University of Colorado at Boulder 2004
Civil and Environmental Engineering
B.S. University of Puget Sound 1999
Majors: Mathematics, Natural Sciences with an emphasis in Physics

Selected Publications

Last updated: December 5, 2018