CHIP Study Team


CHIP study Pricipal Investigator Cristen Willer

Cristen J. Willer, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Willer is trained as a computational geneticist after completing a DPhil at the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics at Oxford, and postdoctoral fellowship in Biostatistics at the University of Michigan. She has published approximately 150 manuscripts, which have been cited over 35,00 times. Dr. Willer’s research is focused on the genetic basis of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and related traits in global human populations. She is interested in identifying the full spectrum of disease–associated alleles using a variety of approaches including whole genome and exome sequencing, analysis of coding variation and unbiased surveys of common variation in the genome. Dr. Willer has developed expertise in gene discovery, imputation of variants from population reference sets, meta-analysis of genetic data and visualization of genomic features. In addition to being the Principal Investigator for CHIP, she continues scientific research as principal investigator of the HUNT investigation of genetic basis of cardiovascular disease, and Michigan Racial Equality and Cardiovascular Health (M-REACH) at the University of Michigan.      


Jonathan Eliason, MD

Jonathan L. Eliason, MD is a Professor in the Section of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, interested in aneurysmal and occlusive diseases of the arterial system, and he is a Co-Director of this study.





Himanshu Patel, MD

Himanshu J. Patel, MD is the Joe D. Morris Collegiate Professor of Cardiac Surgery.  In August 2016, he became Head of the Section of Adult Cardiac Surgery. He received his undergraduate degree and completed medical school at The Johns Hopkins University. His general surgery training was completed at University of Rochester School of Medicine, Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, and he then came to Michigan to complete his Thoracic Surgery Residency. His clinical and academic interests revolve around open and endovascular approaches for aortic valve and aortic surgery. He believes the best care of patients occurs when approached in a collegial and multidisciplinary fashion and set with the highest of expectations of performance for all team members.


Tori Melendez

Tori Melendez, MSW is the Project Manager for CHIP. She has over 10 years’ research experience at the University of Michigan. Tori previously worked on projects with retina and optic nerve regeneration in zebrafish, and genetic hearing loss. Tori obtained a B.S. in Biology, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) from the University of Michigan. 

Lauren Humphrey

Lauren Humphrey, B.S. is the Clinical Research Study Coordinator for CHIP. She graduated with a B.S. in Biophysics from the University of Michigan. After working in a Cell & Developmental Biology laboratory for several years and publishing a paper in Molecular Biology of the Cell, Lauren joined CHIP as the Research Coordinator. She would like to become a Project Manager after her time with CHIP.


Noha Belah

Noha Beleh, B.S. is a CHIP Research Assistant. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Bio-psychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. In addition to working with the CHIP Biobank, Noha is currently applying to Medical School with aspirations to become a physician.


Noemi Garg

Noemi Garg, B.S. is a CHIP Research Assistant. She graduated with highest distinction from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences.Noemi plans to pursue medical school and gain experience working with diverse patient populations locally and globally. She produced an app for breast cancer patients, and has a publication in the BMC Bioinformatics Journal.