Curriculum in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology - UNC Chapel Hill


UNC Old Well Bioinformatics and computational biology are related fields that focus on the development or application of quantitative tools to address modern biological problems. The Curriculum in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, started in 2002,  trains students to become sophisticated, interdisciplinary researchers using state-of-the-art computational methods to advance biological discovery.  The BCB Curriculum currently supports a standalone PhD granting program, and also a certificate of specialization for students working toward their PhDs in other affiliated departments at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The BCB Curriculum is supported and administered by the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences.  The Curriculum also receives financial support from the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health. 


Upcoming Events:

June 15 to 18: BCB Written Exams

Special Event: 2015 Innovations in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

October 27 @ 1:0 -5:00 pm - Featuring 6 speakers: Arthur Lander - UC Irvine, Tobias Meyer - Stanford, Michael Yaffe - MIT, Bryan Roth - UNC, and Zefeng Wang - UNC.


In The News:

Congratulations to Katrina Kutchko (Laederach Lab) who co-first authored a paper in RNA titled "Multiple conformations are a conserved and regulatory feature of the RB1 5′ UTR,” where they identified a novel set of RNA structures that affect RB1 expression in patients presenting with retinoblastoma. These elements are also conserved in Bos taurus (cow) and Trichechus manatus latirostris (manatee), suggesting this novel mechanism of gene expression control is evolutionarily conserved. The paper is in press at RNA


Congratulations to Chanin Tolson and Meredith Corley (Laederach Lab) who’s posters titled "Autonomous Classification of RNA Structure Change” and “Detecting riboSNitches with RNA folding algorithms: a genome-wide benchmar” both won awards for computational innovation in RNA at the Annual meeting of the RNA society in Madison, Wisconsin last week. Chanin and Meredith developed novel approaches to predict the deleterious effects of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) on RNA structure and identify structure changes in the human genome. They were each awarded a cash prize and recognized at the awards ceremony of the meeting on May 30th.


Patrick McCarter (graduate student, Elston and Dohlman Labs) was highlighted in UNC School of Medicine's Vital Signs Student Profiles April 23. “We just published a paper in January in Science Signaling, in which we experimentally showed that a protein has very interesting dynamics and then we were able to propose a mathematical model that could explain the behavior. We found that a key protein, called Hog1, which drives the stress-response of the cell, actually increases its own activity. It becomes activated by stress and then once activated it induces more activation of itself. In this case, it upregulates its own activity and then later in time, it down regulates its own activity. So you have this really dynamic profile for Hog1 in yeast. This is the first time that any lab has shown that it has a positive effect on itself." (except from the article--read the full article to find out more about Patrick and why he chose UNC's Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program.)


John Mellnik (graduate student, Forest Lab) received a 2015 UNC Graduate Education Advancement Board (GEAB) Impact Award at an April 9 ceremony honoring the recipients. John received the award for his research to create more effective inhalers for patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes. John performed mathematical modeling and simulation techniques to quantify the percent of inhaled medication that will pass through an individual patient's lung mucus over time, as well as the percentage of drug that is cleared from the lung. John is currently is working on applying these tools to data from clinical trials to expore how patient characteristics such as age, body mass index and smoking history affect this dynamic. John's work represents a significant advance toward rigorous protocols for personalized inhaled medications, with the potential for safer and more effective standards of treatment.



Tim Elston, PhD

Tim Elston, PhD
Curriculum Director
4092 Genetic Medicine Bldg.
CB# 7365
Chapel Hill NC 27599

Will Valdar, PhD

Will Valdar, PhD
Curriculum Deputy Director
Student Progression Director
5113 Genetic Medicine Bldg.
CB# 7264
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

John Cornett

John Cornett
Curriculum Administrator
5009 Genetic Medicine Bldg. 
CB# 7264
Chapel Hill NC 27599


UNC campus photo by Betsy Clarke