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Alumni Bios


Helena Klein

Undergrad: University of Oregon
Internship: Phylagen
Currently at: Phylagen

I’ve always loved biology, and before coming to the program I tried out researching a diverse set of focus areas including plant conservation, host-bacterial interactions, and even some clinical research. I thought that perhaps I would like to be a medical doctor (yes I took the MCAT). I had heard about the program from a professor earlier in undergrad, but it wasn’t until my final year when working on my honors thesis that I realized all of the questions I most wanted to answer required more computational skills. My project involved sequencing bacterial genomes to look for newly evolved mutations, which in practice meant that I had millions of short reads that I needed to filter and compare to the reference to begin to make any sense of the data, in short, I needed bioinformatics skills…more

Nate Olowo

Undergrad: Pacific University
Internship: ThermoFisher Scientific
Currently at: ThermoFisher Scientific

A recruiter from the other tracks within the Master’s Industrial Internship Program informed me that there was a bioinformatics track. The program incorporated research within the coursework and an internship opportunity, which was huge for me because I would have 9 months of work experience underneath my belt upon graduating. The program also required no standardized tests. On top of all of that, I discovered that we would be able to utilize a very powerful supercomputer…more


Mitchell Rezzonico

Undergrad: University of Oregon
Internship: Genentech
Currently at: Genentech

A graduate student in my undergraduate research lab mentioned that she was transferring from her current general biology master’s program to a master’s program in a subdiscipline of biology called bioinformatics. I looked into the field and thought the interdisciplinary nature of computer science, biology, and statistics sounded interesting, if not a bit intimidating. During my gap year, I took some extra programming courses to round out my background in biology and strengthen my application….more


Rachel Richardson

Undergrad: Western Washington University
Internship: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Currently at: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

I worked in a wet lab for a few years out of undergrad and I felt I needed new skills to advance my career. Specifically, I was looking to learn about handling and interpreting large amounts of genomic data. The Bioinformatics and Genomics Master’s program at the University of Oregon stood out due to the built-in experience with mentors on campus and the nine-month paid internship. Since breaking into a field can be difficult without prior work experience, I saw the program as the perfect environment for learning while getting my foot in the door…more


Sally Claridge

Undergrad: University of Oregon
Internship: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Currently at: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

To create figures for my undergraduate thesis project, my mentor would send me her commented R scripts and suggest that I identify what the functions do and try to recapitulate the analyses. Despite not having really seen, much less read, code before, I loved the challenge and spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out what it all meant; I even went on to pursue extra coursework in Perl and Python. One of the bioinformaticians in the lab noticed my interest and pointed me the direction of the BGMP, an ideal blend of programming, biology, and professional development…more

Alexa Dowdell

Undergrad: Willamette University
Internship: Providence St. Joseph Health
Currently at: Providence St. Joseph Health

Upon completion of my undergraduate degree I found myself questioning what the next move was to make in my life. I majored in computer science but quickly realized although the job opportunities would be there, I did not want to sit at a desk all day doing something I didn’t fully enjoy like debugging code for instance. I found myself at Oregon because it was relatively close to the university I completed my undergraduate degree at in Salem, OR. The program was attractive because of the short time commitment of 1.5 years, as well as the provided training in a work environment to apply the skills…more

Jake VanCampen

Undergrad: University of Portland
Internship: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Currently at: Oregon Health & Science University

I was weighing my graduate school options and found the BGMP attractive because I saw the potential for career flexibility, and knowledge growth in an area I was interested in: computational science…more


William Sullivan

Undergrad: Western Washington University
Internship: University of Washington
Currently at: University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute

Leading up to the BGMP program, I was chasing a doctorate in Physical Therapy but ended up turning it down for lack of interest and while searching for a new direction stumbled across bioinformatics. I knew that experience was gonna be a key factor entering into this new field and was searching for programs that not only provided the education but would also give me a chance to cut my teeth in the field. During this search, I found the Bioinformatics Program at the University of Oregon which matched perfectly with what I was looking for education and real-world experience…more

Lauren Wolfe

Undergrad: Western Washington University
Internship: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Currently at: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

I stumbled upon the program after learning about the Industrial Internship programs for chemistry and physics from a friend. I was really excited that the program focused on hands-on experience and getting students into real-world working situations…more


Jaclyn Smith
Undergrad: University of Oregon
Internship: Oregon Health and Science University
Currently at: Omics Data Automation and PhD candidate at University of Oxford

I heard about the program from a friend in a lab I was working in at UO. The most attractive thing about the program was that I could get real world experience, which a lot of master’s programs lack…more



Vasha Dutell
Undergrad: University of Oregon, Eugene, OR – Computer Science & Physics
Internship: Stowers Medical Research Institute
Currently at: UC Berkeley, CA

I grew up in Eugene and attended UO during my undergrad in Physics and Computer Science. I was attracted to the program because I wanted to learn the skills and tools needed to apply my computational background to problems in Biology and Neuroscience…more


Matthew Shum
Undergrad: University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Internship: Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA
Currently at: Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA

What attracted me to the program was the field of Bioinformatics itself. Prior to my application to the program, I have never even heard of the term, “Bioinformatics.” (That’s how new the field was!) It was not until my final year of Undergraduate school that a friend and fellow graduate of the Bioinformatics program told me to consider applying. At first, I was mildly intrigued because of the internship component but once I researched the subject, I quickly realized the impact the field was having on biology…more



Allison Burns
Undergrad: University of Oregon
Internship: Stowers Medical Research Institute
Currently at: EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) – PhD candidate

I did my internship at the Stowers Institute of Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a collective of laboratories funded by a donation from Jim Stowers, a cancer survivor and the founder of American Century Investments. I work in the Baumann lab, analyzing mine and other scientists’ data…more


Richard Dannebaum
Undergrad: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA
Internship: Stowers Medical Research Institute
Currently at: Roche

When I started I was given a single project. But, near the end of the 9 months I slowly developed into the lab bioinformatics Analyst. I ended up working on several projects, each of which had their own unique twist. I worked very closely with a few people in the lab and essentially collaborated with them on their lab work and discussed aspects of the data that might of been to use to them. I also did a small amount of bench work to try and test some of my own ideas. I worked on a lot of RNAseq data in fission yeast and lizards…more


Carly King
Undergrad: Seattle University, Seattle, WA – Biology
Internship: Pacific Northwest National Lab
Currently at: Stanford School of Medicine

I loved the idea of a period of intensive learning and then an opportunity to apply what you had learned at an internship. I also liked the flexibility of the program; that your internship could be miles away from Eugene but you would still be a part of the program because classes were accepted from various institutions. Seattle U is on the smaller side of universities, so being a student at a larger University that had a well-established, rich research community was attractive… more