Esmeralda “Emi” Casas-Silva, Ph.D.

Program Director


Dr. Esmeralda “Emi” Casas-Silva is a program director within CBIIT’s Informatics and Data Science Program where she applies her biomedical sciences and policy background in support of the Cancer Research Data Commons, including development oversight of NCI’s Clinical Trials Data Commons.

Prior to joining CBIIT, Dr. Casas-Silva worked within NCI’s Biorepositories and Biospecimen Branch (BBRB) where, as a member of the Cancer MoonshotSM Biobank team, she contributed to general development of the Biobank including the creation of governance and data sharing policies, and led participant and provider engagement efforts. Dr. Casas-Silva co-authored NCI’s Biospecimen Evidence-Based Practices and helped develop programmatic initiatives and funding opportunities, including co-developing the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) contract topic, “Understanding Cancer Tumor Genomic Results: Technology Applications for Providers.” Dr. Casas-Silva began her time at NCI as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow. During her fellowship, she spearheaded the NCI Cancer Moonshot Clinical Trials and Social Media workshop, which led to the development of plain-language templates by NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network to improve nationwide communications about clinical trials for the public. Dr. Casas-Silva co-leads NCI’s Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Cancer Research (ENRICH) forum and contributes to the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health’s (GA4GH’s) efforts to enable genomic data sharing for the benefit of human health.

Dr. Casas-Silva received her doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from the University of California, San Diego where she studied genetic networks that drive cancer metastasis. Prior to that, Dr. Casas-Silva studied genetic networks in spinal cord development at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She completed her postdoctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.


  • NCI Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC)
  • NCI Community Hub
  • NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Data Archive


  • Rehm H, Page A, Smith L, Casas-Silva E et al. (2021). GA4GH: International Policies and Standards for Data Sharing Across Genomic Research and Healthcare. Cell Genomics. 2021 Nov;1(2):100029
  • Casas-Silva E. Fostering Diverse Biobanking Research Participation through the NCI Cancer Moonshot Biobank. Personal Genomes conference. April 28-30, 2021. Oral presentation.
  • Greytak S, Engel KB, Zmuda E, Casas-Silva E, Guan P, Hoadley KA, Mungall AJ, Wheeler DA, Doddapaneni HV, Moore HM. National Cancer Institute Biospecimen Evidence-Based Practices: Harmonizing Procedures for Nucleic Acid Extraction from Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Tissue. Biopreservation and Biobanking. 2018 Aug;16(4):247-250
  • Casas-Silva E, Campbell LD, Engel K, et al. NCI's Expert-Vetted Biospecimen Evidence-Based Practices (BEBP): A resource for harmonization of biospecimen collection procedures [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting; Apr 14-18, 2018; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl): Abstract nr 4763. Poster presentation.
  • Casas-Silva E. The Newly Expanded NCI-BBRB Patient Corner Website: A Community Resource for Biospecimen Information and Education. ISBER Annual Meeting; May 19-23, 2018; Dallas, TX. Poster presentation.
  • Casas E, Kim J, Bendesky A, Ohno-Machado L, Wolfe CJ, Yang J. Snai2 is an essential mediator of Twist1- induced epithelial mesenchymal transition and metastasis. Cancer Research. 2011 Jan;71(1):245-54
  • Yeo M, Lee SK, Lee B, Ruiz EC, Pfaff SL, Gill GN. Small CTD phosphatases function in silencing neuronal gene expression. Science. 2005 Jan;307(5709):596-600             
  • Lee SK, Lee B, Ruiz EC, Pfaff SL. Olig2 and Ngn2 function in opposition to modulate gene expression in motor neuron progenitor cells. Genes Dev. 2005 Jan;19(2):282-94
  • Lee SK, Jurata LW, Funahashi J, Ruiz EC, Pfaff SL. Analysis of embryonic motoneuron gene regulation: derepression of general activators function in concert with enhancer factors. Development. 2004 Jul;131(14):3295-306
  • Song MR, Shirasaki R, Cai CL, Ruiz EC, Evans S, Lee SK, Pfaff SL. T-Box Transcription Factor Tbx20 Regulates a Genetic Program for Cranial Motor Neuron Cell Body Migration. Development. 2006. Dec33(24):4945-55