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Contacts in the Office of Graduate Education

The BBSP program is part of the larger Office of Graduate Education (OGE) which is home to a number of graduate education related programs. Here you will find contact information and roles for OGE staff.  We are here to help, so please reach out any time.  Not sure who to contact? Click here.

Amanda Hall, MSW, LCSW, LCASA

Student Wellness Coach |

Amanda Hall is a Student Wellness Counselor for students in the biomedical sciences. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist-Associate, and received her … Continued

Ashalla Freeman, PhD

Director of Diversity Affairs; Director of IMSD | 919-843-9597

Dr. Freeman directs the diversity recruitment and admissions efforts for UNC’s Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP). Dr. Freeman also serves as director of the NIH funded IMSD program. … Continued

Beka Layton, PhD

Director, Professional Development Programs | 919-843-8439

Dr. Layton is the Director of Professional Development Programs. In this role she is responsible for career awareness and career development programming for biomedical PhD students. Dr. Layton also me … Continued

Dave McDonald, PhD

Director of BBSP | 919-843-3387

Dave directs the BBSP first year training program. In this role Dave oversees the First Year Group course, the BBSP rotation schedule, the BBSP academic calendar, and other aspects relevant to first y … Continued

Debra Ragland, PhD

Director of SOLAR; Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs & IMSD | 919-843-1570

Dr. Ragland is the Assistant Director of the NIH funded IMSD program. In this role, she works to promote the development and success of biomedical Ph.D. students from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Ragland … Continued

Dena Perry

OGE Program Administrator | 919-843-9910

Dena is responsible for administrative support for all OGE sponsored programs. In this role she handles reimbursements, pays vouchers, processes travel, and provides other support as needed. Dena also … Continued

Donita Robinson, PhD

Donita Robinson, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education | 919-966-5679

As Associate Dean, Dr. Robinson oversees the operations and mission of the OGE, which supports the development of future biomedical science leaders, promotes innovative recruitment and training, stimu … Continued

Jean Cook, PhD

Advisor to the Office of Graduate Education | 919-843-3687

As Advisor to the OGE, Dr. Cook contributes to special projects related to graduate education at UNC-Chapel Hill and beyond.

Jeff Steinbach

Director of BBSP Admissions | 919-843-7129

Jeff is the Director of Admissions for the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program. Jeff is responsible for the BBSP application, communicating with prospective applicants, supporting admissions … Continued

Kaitlin Blakemore

Student Services Manager, BBSP; Program Coordinator, UNC PREP | 919-843-9617

Kaitlin is responsible for enrollment, tuition and fee payments, course management, and providing additional assistance to first year BBSP students. Kaitlin also supports BBSP admissions by serving as … Continued

Lisa Tarantino, PhD

Faculty Director of BBSP | 919-843-7292

As Faculty Director of BBSP, Dr. Tarantino oversees the curriculum of the First Year Group, the advising and professional development course of all BBSP students. She works closely with Dr. Dave McDon … Continued

Louisa Steffen

Business Officer, Office of Graduate Education |

The Business Officer for the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) manages NIH, NSF, and other grants that support OGE programming, and also handles all day to day business operations for the OGE includi … Continued

Melissa Graves

OGE Program Coordinator | 919-843-4142

Melissa supports TIBBS, IMSD, PREP, SOLAR, and other programs housed in the OGE. She manages program events, meeting logistics, travel, and other needs.  Melissa also coordinates events and faculty di … Continued

Morgan Church

Administrative Assistant | 919-962-4982

Morgan Church is the primary point of contact for visitors to the OGE.  Additionally, Morgan supports the day to day operations of our office, maintains department websites, and assists with OGE event … Continued

Patrick Brandt, PhD

Director of Career Development and Training; Director of Science Outreach | 919-843-9342

Dr. Brandt leads Career Development initiatives for biomedical PhD students, including the ImPACT internship program for senior trainees, career advising, and alumni career placement tracking. Patrick … Continued

Rob Nicholas, PhD

Associate Director for Graduate Education | 919-843-9342

Dr. Nicholas works closely with the Associate Dean for Graduate Education to lead special projects pertaining to graduate training including Biostatistics, Ethics, and Rigor & Reproducibility cour … Continued


Assistant Director of UNC PREP

| 919-843-7882

The Assistant Director of UNC PREP, an NIH funded one-year post-baccalaureate research program for students in groups historically underrepresented in the sciences.