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.

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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Featuring Our Students

Undergraduate, Class of 2020

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.

Ann-Elizabeth Le

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Photo of Ann-Elizabeth Le

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.

Alicia Howell-Munson

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Photo of Alicia Howell-Munson

Facts

89%

reported project work had a positive impact on their ability to develop ideas 

 

2012 UMass Donahue Institute Alumni Survey
Top 20

best value colleges for technology careers

PayScale.com (2017)
#14

Best Science Lab Facilities

Princeton Review (2019)
#6

Best Career Placement

Princeton Review (2019)

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 Amity Manning

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Professor Amity Manning

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. 

Professor Reeta Rao

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Professor Reeta Rao

A message from Elizabeth F. 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.

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 2015 was $66,500.

Media Coverage

  • WPI scientists are using visualization tools and mixed reality to explore complex biological networks, a depiction of a system of linkages and connections so complex and dense it’s been dubbed the “hairy ball.” Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science and director of the university’s bioinformatics and computational biology program, leads the research team.

 “The app collects data on individual species of bee and flowers and allows us to figure out what the individual needs of the species are ... so people can make changes to their yard, learn what flowers to plant, and tell us how do we conserve lands to increase bee diversity,” Robert Gegear, professor of biology and biotechnology, told the T&G.