Bioinformatics Program

BS-MSBS Pipeline Alumni



Nicole (Carr) Carter 
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Sadik Khuder
Thesis Title: "Data Pooling to Identify Differentially
Expressed Genes in Lung Cancer of Non-Smokers"

Nicole did her Internship at Progenity, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
and was offered a position at Progenity, Inc. before graduation.
She is currently a Bioinformatics Associate at Progenity, Inc.

 "I have been extremely impressed with the Pipeline program as a whole. At the undergraduate level, the dual-degree program allowed me to begin taking my graduate courses early, and served as a great stepping-stone into graduate school. The academic transition was efficient and has eliminated both extra time and funds it would have required for me to complete both degrees in the more traditional method. It has also been a rewarding experience as the thesis research topics, conferences, and various other opportunities often center towards improving the human condition. At this point, I am preparing to participate in an internship acquired through the program, which will have a distinct advantage for my future career goals. Above all, the experienced faculty and staff involved in the program have helped me every step of the way and have fashioned a very successful program.



Jennifer Holmes 
Advisor: Dr. John Gray, Advisor
Thesis Title: "A Phylogenetic Analysis of Platz Transcription Factors in Plants"
Jennifer successfully defended her thesis on April 25, 2017. 

She is currently attending the PhD program of Cellular & Molecular Biology at the University of South Carolina.

"My name is Jennifer Holmes and I am currently an undergraduate student 
with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I entered the
Biology/Bioinformatics Pipeline program, because I am very interested in
doing medical research that is computer- based. My main focus is
joint disorder and cancer research. Joint disorder is my main focus due to the
fact there are not many treatments for TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).
The main ways to treat TMJ are: physical therapy, a brace or joint replacement surgery.
I was diagnosed with TMJ back in July of 2013, and with the help of my physicians,
we are trying to fix my joint without surgery. My goal in medical research would
be to find a way to cure TMJ without surgery. I also wish to help find a cure for cancer
-especially breast cancer. Before I knew of the pipeline program, I was a dual major with
my majors being Computer Science Engineering and Technology, along with Biology.
I have always loved computers, and I have always had an intense interest in the human body and how it works. My biggest influence would be my parents, my mother is a Medical Laboratory Technologist, and my father is a Computer Science Engineer. I’ve always wanted to combine the two together, since the medical field and computers are two of the things I love, and I feel the best path to take is with the Pipeline Program."




Rachael Wasikowski 
Advisor: Dr. John Gray
Thesis Title: "The Maize TFome 2.0: Genomic Analysis of Transcription Factor Repertoire."

She is currently a Volunteer Biocurator of the Maize Genome, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY 

 "I applied for the Bioinformatics Pipeline Program, because I find this field fascinating. Back in the early days of high school, all of the guidance counselors put pressure on me to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I could never once give them a consistent answer. I wanted to be anything from a Windmill Designer, to a Psychologist, to a Physician. Although I loved science and math, I could never decide what I actually wanted to do with either. When I enrolled in the University of Toledo, I declared my major Biology/Pre-Med, with the idea that I would become a doctor. The reality of that choice was harsh. I was interested in the classes that I took my Freshman year, but the dream of becoming a doctor quickly died when I met with actual medical students. I did not know what career option I wanted, but I remained optimistic, because I could sign up for advanced, more interesting biology classes my second year. Sophomore year of college brought out a dramatic change in me. I signed up for Molecular Genetics my first semester and fell in love with it. I have always been interested in genetics, and I was thrilled that there was a class dedicated to the study of DNA. I knew that I wanted to learn more about DNA when the course because more difficult and more interesting. I chose to take the lab course along with it, and found that research interested me. Along with the physical aspect, I also enjoyed working with computers. Pursuing this thought even further, I applied to work as an undergraduate in Dr. Gray's lab. After learning the ropes and testing the waters, I found that I truly love bioinformatics, and I want to dedicate my life to it."



Kathryn Helminiakkat
Advisor: David Kennedy
Thesis Title: Combined Analysis of HCUP’s NEDS Data in
Conjunction with Publicly Available GenomicsDatabases to Investigate Harmful Algal Bloom
Impacts on Human Health.
Kathryn successfully defended her thesis on July 18, 2022







Elizabeth Shedroff
Dr. Robert SmithShedroff

Thesis Title: Assessment of the Active Kinome in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Renal Transplant

Elizabeth Successfully defended her thesis on April 15, 2022 She is now working as an APHL bioinformatics fellow at the CDC's Viral Special Pathogens Branch.

"I knew I wanted to take a few gap years before medical school to utilize my bioinformatics degree, grow a bit more as a scientist, and decide if an MD-PhD or MD-MPH program might be a good fit for me. Public health is such an integral part of medicine and healthcare so to use bioinformatics tools to track, diagnose, and discover disease sounded like the perfect fit for my passions and skillset. I accepted a spot in the 2022 APHL-CDC bioinformatics fellowship program after I graduated from UT. During my fellowship, I'll be working within the CDC's Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology (DHCPP) in the Viral Special Pathogens Branch (VSPB). This branch focuses on viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) surveillance and diagnostics.  Most of my projects will entail analyzing NGS data for surveillance, outbreaks, and discovery of pathogens. My master's in bioinformatics gave me a strong foundation to build upon for this next step of my journey and will continue to be a valuable tool for me as my career progresses."





Leah Stevenson
Dr. Bina Joeleah

Thesis title: Investigation of the Gut Microbiome usingMachine Learning as a diagnostic aid for Food

Leah successfully defended her thesis on August 1, 2022

She is currently working as an Investigator Initiated Research Project Coordinator at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. She works with General Surgeons on clinical research. 


Last Updated: 8/17/22