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.

Featuring our PhD Students

Nathan Johnson currently pursuing a PhD in bioinformatics.  His dissertation work involves exploring the impact alternative splicing has on complex genetic disorders by utilizing RNA-Seq data.

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.

Finding Patterns that Can Improve Sleep

BCB Professor Carolina Ruiz designs data mining algorithms to discover patterns in large collections of data. She is developing computational models for the purpose of advancing the treatment of sleep disorders.

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. 

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.

Faculty Profiles

Brigitte Servatius

Professor
Mathematical Sciences
I pose this question: if I dip a wire cage of a cube into soap bubbles, can I get a hexagon? These are questions I love posing to my students. Likewise, I appreciate all questions my students ask me, regardless of how ridiculous they may seem. Every question is worth asking and investigating, and WPI encourages this innovative way of thinking.
Elizabeth Ryder

Associate Professor
Biology & Biotechnology
Neurobiology and genetics are my two favorite scientific subjects, and my goal at WPI is to help students discover for themselves how exciting it is to work in these areas. In the classroom, I try to introduce students not only to necessary background knowledge, but also to some of the cutting-edge research going on in these rapidly changing fields.  One of the things I enjoy most about teaching is helping students learn to read the scientific literature.
Lane Taylor Harrison

Assistant Professor
Computer Science
Information visualization is a powerful means for understanding data and informing human minds. As people begin to rely on visualizations to make high-impact and even life-critical decisions, there is a growing need to ensure that information can be perceived accurately and precisely.