The Hood College bioinformatics master’s program is pleased to introduce a new program director who has more than a decade of experience in conducting research, teaching and directing educational programs.
Miranda Darby, Ph.D., is an expert in molecular biology and computing. She comes to Hood after working since September 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology in the Johns 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.
“I am excited to establish the new bioinformatics program at Hood because I want to inspire Hood students to flourish in this rapidly evolving field,” Darby said. “I arrived at the beautiful campus and met smart, curious, passionate faculty members who are dedicated to providing the best opportunities for their students to thrive. I am eager to work with my new colleagues and to find opportunities for those who are interested in contributing their expertise to the bioinformatics program.”
Bioinformatics is the interface between computer science and biology. It is the application of the principals of computer science to the collection, classification, storage and analysis of biological and biochemical data. The recent boom in bioinformatics centers on the analysis and interpretation of molecular genetics and genomics data that is generated by next-generation, whole genome sequencing.
With the demand for knowledge and expertise in the field by regional employers including the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, the Frederick Cancer Research Center at Fort Detrick and others, students can find themselves with multiple job opportunities after finishing the program. Darby is focused on helping her students achieve success in the industry and in their lives.
“I knew I belonged at Hood when I read Hood’s mission statement, which describes my own goals: ‘to empower students to use their hearts, minds and hands to meet … challenges and lead purposeful lives …’”
Also, having completed her undergraduate studies at Carleton College in Minnesota, she understands the value of the liberal arts education that Hood provides.
“I think that a liberal arts education is the best possible foundation for future study in the sciences because liberal arts students are exposed to a wide variety of ideas concerning a full range of topics,” Darby said. “This prepares students to think outside of the confines of a specialized field and gives them a fresh perspective on the range of possibilities available to them.”