Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BCB)



From sequencing the human genome to modeling living organisms, biology has gone digital, and WPI’s Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BCB) program is at the forefront of this digital revolution.

Bioinformatics involves the collection, management, and analysis of biological data; Computational Biology is the development of quantitative models of biological systems. While many schools offer BCB as a concentration within a traditional Biology program, WPI’s program comprises three academic departments: Biology, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

Our program’s diverse environment encourages a collaborative mindset and access to a broad range of resources that promote creative solutions to pressing scientific questions. Undergraduate and graduate students work alongside expert faculty researchers to use cutting-edge, quantitative techniques to increase our understanding of biology and translate this knowledge into meaningful solutions.

Degree is also offered online.
Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology bachelor minor master phd
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Major Qualifying Project (MQP) Senior Showcase

Undergraduate Research Projects Showcase (URPS)

A celebration of research, design, and creative theses—a requirement of every graduating senior through the Major Qualifying Project—takes place each spring on campus. Student teams representing all academic departments present their work to their faculty advisors, external sponsors, and the community-at-large, and the public is invited.

Featuring Our Students

BS/MS Student, Class of 2021

Ann-Elizabeth Le is a BCB student that has done bioinformatics research in and outside of WPI. She is currently on track to complete her 5 year BS/MS for a bioinformatics degree. In her sophomore year, Ann had the opportunity to go to the Janelia Research Campus to present about a predicted protein function based on sequential overlaps from a novel bacteriophage through a two-part lab class and ISP. For the past three summers, she also worked at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard as an intern analyzing HIV antigen processing and presentation.

Alicia Howell-Munson

PhD

Alicia Howell-Munson has been in the WPI PhD Program for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology since the fall of 2019. Her research interest has been to develop computers that are more intuitive and streamlined with the intent of the user. She is currently working under Professor Erin Solovey on a National Science Foundation grant for adaptive learning environments using non-invasive neuroimaging.

Our Students' Experience

As a freshman, I felt very welcomed by previous alumni that were part of the BCB program, and gained quick support through the advisors in the department.
You can do genetic data analysis, simulations, computational methods of finding new algorithms for mathematical formulas. You can branch out even further and do analysis of brain data and map machine learning algorithms to it. I like how versatile it is
The research opportunities that span across the computer science, mathematics, and biology departments are wonderful opportunities for BCB students to recognize their specific strengths over time and gives flexibility in expanding their interests.

Facts


$71,811

average starting salary, bachelor's degree (class of 2021)

95%

of master’s and PhD recipients are employed or continuing their studies shortly after graduation (2021)

#14

best career placement

The Princeton Review (2023)
Top 5.4%

worldwide out of 20,000 universities 

Center for World University Rankings (2022)

Our Faculty

Professor Amity Manning

Professor Manning is an assistant professor for the Department of Biology & Biotechnology. The work in her lab focuses on defining the cellular mechanisms that maintain genome stability in normal cells and understanding how these pathways are corrupted in cancer cells. She looks forward to working with students both in class and in the lab to gain a better understanding of cancer cell biology and to make meaningful contributions to cancer research.

Professor Reeta Rao

Professor Rao is the associate dean of graduate studies and a professor in the department of Biology & Biotechnology. In addition to teaching students in the class setting, she has a research program that focuses on understanding and managing fungal diseases. In the program, Professor Rao mentors and works with students in her lab to employ a myriad of molecular, genetic, genomic, biochemical approaches to understand fungal pathogenesis. Her paper was recently published in Nature Communications, Volume 10. 

BCB Program News

Eric Young and colleagues publish article in Nature Communications "Engineered yeast genomes accurately assembled from pure and mixed samples."

A message from Dr. Elizabeth Ryder

Director, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

We designed WPI’s BCB Program to educate students to feel comfortable in the language, concepts, and techniques of three distinct disciplines: biology, mathematics, and computer science.  We also developed courses that overlap two or more of these disciplines, each centered on different aspects of the theories, concepts, techniques, and tools of bioinformatics and computational biology.  This interdisciplinary training is exciting and rewarding, and allows students many opportunities to tackle challenging biological problems.

Preview

WPI Graduate Student Impresses at Dublin Conference

BCB graduate student Alyssa Tsiros won an honorable mention at the Symposium on Biological Data Visualization in Dublin, Ireland, for her biovisualization depicting the evolution of noncoding RNA in the Human accelerated region 1, a recently discovered gene that may be responsible for  the accelerated brain development of humans compared to other mammals. Tsoris’s project stood out for effectively using color-coded arc diagrams to depict genetic data. 

Finding Patterns that Can Improve Sleep

With their robust cross-disciplinary knowledge and hands-on project experiences, BCB graduates are well prepared for rewarding careers across a wide variety of industries. Our graduates assume leadership roles in positions in federal and state government, higher education, research and development, and the pharmaceutical industry. The average starting salary in 2015 was $66,500.

Career Outlook

With their robust cross-disciplinary knowledge and hands-on project experiences, BCB graduates are well prepared for rewarding careers across a wide variety of industries. Our graduates assume leadership roles in positions in federal and state government, higher education, research and development, and the pharmaceutical industry. The average starting salary in 2019 was $64,100.

From WPI's University Magazine

computer teacher

Computational Connections

Dmitry Korkin has made the computer a powerful ally for unlocking the mysteries of biology and medicine.

Student Voices

Sophia Kouznetsov '26
Sophia Kouznetsov '26
BS in Psychological & Cognitive Sciences, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

While working on her research and academic goals, Sophia stays active by pursuing her love of dance and other extra-curricular activities.[...]

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Dayna Mercadante
Dayna Mercadante
PhD, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

Dayna arrived at WPI as a Presidential Fellow and has discovered a supportive community where her research efforts have led to professional growth and personal satisfaction.  [...]

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