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Nov. 15: Miranda Darby named bioinformatics program director

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

FREDERICK, Md.—A molecular biologist with computational expertise who has a decade of experience conducting research, teaching and directing educational programs has been hired as the program director for Hood College’s Master of Science program in bioinformatics.

Miranda Darby, Ph.D., comes to Hood after working since September 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology in the John Hopkins School of Medicine, where she developed and implemented bioinformatics tools to study the genome. Prior to that, she completed thesis research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, examining the mechanisms that regulate gene transcription.

In addition to her research fellowship, Darby was also a Collaborative Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins last year and taught a companion course for general chemistry at Stevenson University. She was also the program coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Stanley Summer Scholars Program, where she designed a curriculum for a course to introduce undergraduate students to the scientific and sociological challenges of psychiatric disease research and treatment. She has also published several manuscripts describing her research.

Darby earned her doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2012, studying the termination of RNA transcripts in yeast and gaining a deep understanding of genetics, genomics, and biochemical and molecular laboratory techniques. As a postdoctoral fellow, she deepened her skill set with a focus on the computational and biostatistical aspects of bioinformatics while studying human genetics, genomics, and molecular biology in the context of psychiatric disease.

Bioinformatics is the interface between computer science and biology. It is the application of the principles of computer science to the collection, classification, storage and analysis of biological and biochemical data.

Hood’s new bioinformatics master’s program addresses the core subject areas and skill sets identified by the International Society for Computational Biology as essential for bioinformaticians. Under the program’s dual-gateway format, candidates who have strong biological backgrounds begin by enrolling in a gateway foundation course in computer science, and candidates who have strong computational backgrounds, but lack the understanding of life science, enroll first in a foundation course that introduces the basics of cell biology and genome science.