Our Team

Senior Leadership

Richard Head

Director of Genome Technology Access Center @MGI

Professor of Genetics

Professor of Pathology and Immunology

As the current director of the Genome Technology Access Center (GTAC), I bring over 25 years of experience in medical research, with 20 years of experience in the development and use of high throughput genomic technologies (microarrays, next generation sequencing, and high-throughput PCR). In addition to detailed technical knowledge, I also bring considerable understanding of how to apply these genomic tools to the fields of drug discovery, clinical research and clinical practice. In my years within the pharmaceutical industry and academia, I, and the groups I led, have numerous successes including discovery of novel drug targets, identification of drug mode of action, biomarkers for patient stratification, elucidating the translatability of pre-clinical models, and ascertaining the causes for drug failures.

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Shelly O’Laughlin

Director of Clinical Operations

Shelly O’Laughlin attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), where she received a BS degree.  She began her career at GTAC@MGI during the Human Genome Project and worked part-time loading ABI sequencers while finishing her degree.  Upon graduation, she began working at GTAC@MGI full-time.  During this time, she had the privilege of managing several different groups and working with a variety of researchers on many exciting projects.  In 2013, Shelly started the CLIA Licensed Environment (CLE) laboratory.  The laboratory successfully completed the first CAP inspection in 2015.  In the beginning, there was one targeted assay which consisted of 10-20 samples per month.  The laboratory successfully completed the first CAP inspection in 2015.  Throughout her time in the clinical lab, she has helped to implement 6 additional assays and increased sample volume to 250-300 samples per month.  For a short time, she was the Project Manager of the WUSM saliva COVID testing in 2020.  Shelly enjoys working closely with the CLE Medical Director, the GTAC@MGI Research Groups, and the Department of Pathology and Immunology.

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Michael Heinz

Director of Research Operations

Since joining Washington University in 2002, I have had the honor of working with many many phenomenal researchers.  These experiences have allowed me to develop understanding and expertise in applying genomic tools to the needs and goals of the research.   My experience includes more than a decade in high-throughput PCR and next generation sequencing and more than two decades in microarray.  I have more than 10 years of clinical laboratory experience as well, acting as a supervisor for our facility in a CAP/CLIA certified setting. Prior to my tenure at Washington University, I worked in a microarray services laboratory at Incyte Genomics.

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Paul Cliften

Director of Computational Biology

Associate Professor of Genetics

As an Associate Research Professor in Genetics and the Director of Computational Biology for GTAC@MGI with well over a decade of experience in comparative genomics and bioinformatics. Paul came to Saint Louis in 1999 for postdoctoral training, then spent two years directing a bioinformatics group at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University. Dr. Cliften returned to Washington University in 2010 to help establish the GTAC sequencing facility.

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Seth Crosby

Director of Research Collaborations

Assistant Professor of Genetics

Seth Crosby is the Director of Research Collaborations and an Assistant Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetics at Washington University.  Crosby works with groups within and outside the University to leverage technology to achieve research and clinical goals. During his time at Washington University, he directed the Department of Genetics Microarray Core, which is now part of GTAC and then GTAC, itself, during its first two years.  Previously, he was the Director of Translational Research at the McDonnell Genome Institute. Prior to his tenure at Washington University, Dr. Crosby worked in the field of genomics and drug discovery at Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer, and Pharmacia.

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Need Help With A Project?

GTAC@MGI’s dedicated project development and management team routinely assists investigators with designing the most informative sequencing and analysis strategies at minimal cost. Our specialized customer service provides a connection to the facility and the research.

Project Teams

Project Development & Management

GTAC@MGI’s dedicated project development and management team routinely assists investigators with designing the most informative sequencing and analysis strategies at a minimal cost. Our specialized customer service provides a connection to the facility and the research.

Human Pangenome Reference Consortium

GTAC@MGI  participates as a provider of the infrastructure necessary to coordinate the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium’s large scale effort. This work involves facilitating communications within the HGRP, international genome reference collaborators and with the scientific and medical communities.


GTAC@MGI’s bioinformatic based team generates post-processing deliverables that are automatically provided for your convenience. They are strong and knowledgeable in developing and applying computational tools to the study of human disease.

Not Sure What You Need?

GTAC@MGI’s Technology Guidance Services and Resources may be of some help.  Click the Learn More button to navigate to our Technology Guidance page to learn more about the  equipment and technologies that we have currently available.

Laboratory Teams

WGS, Exome & Targeted DNA Library Preparation

A strong experienced team accepts a variety of specimens to isolate for your desired nucleic acid.  These isolates are then directed through proper quality and quantity checks and prepped into libraries based on the requested pipeline.

Single Cell Library Preparation

This focus dedicated team will handle your single cells for all steps of library preparation.  Our committed group can add value through feature barcoding, T cell or B cell enrichment with a variety of single-cell techniques. 


RNA Library Preparation

A group of focused and committed personnel will handle your RNA samples with care.  They will provide a quality process that will allow you to tell which genes are turned on, their level of expression, and the timing of activation. 

Illumina Sequencing

Our detail-oriented crew processes all of our Illumina sequencing samples through high output instrumentation.  Their committed efforts generate an extensive amount of data to our collaborators. 

CLIA Licensed Environment Services

The CAP-accredited and CLIA compliant group generates research data from validated assays with dedicated laboratory space, equipment, and personnel. They maintain an extensive documenation infrastructure and electronic quality management. Regular internal and external inspections ensure compliance.

Special Services

A team of diverse talents manages a variety of  GTAC@MGI service options.  Each with skillsets that can provide detailed processing for the following pipelines; PCR, Pacific Biosciences Sequencing, and the Bionano Saphyr. 

Illumina Microarray

This multi-faceted crew participates in every step of the microarray project, as needed. They help run the study design, preparing samples hybridizations, and analyzing the results.  This can be with all the major array formats from Illumina, Affymetrix, and Agilent.