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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.


Ashalla Freeman, PhD

Director of Diversity Affairs; Director of IMSD

ashalla@unc.edu | 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. … Read more


Beka Layton, PhD

Director, Professional Development Programs

rlayton@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Christiann Gaines, PhD

Assistant Director for Doctoral Diversity and Success in Graduate Education

christiann_gaines@med.unc.edu | 919-843-7129

The Assistant Director for Doctoral Diversity and Success in the UNC Office of Graduate Education has a shared leadership role in the NIH-funded UNC Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD … Read more


Dave McDonald, PhD

Director of BBSP

david.mcdonald@unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Dena Perry

OGE Program Administrator

dena_perry@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Donita Robinson, PhD

Donita Robinson, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education

donita_robinson@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Eliana De La Cruz Fernandez

BBSP Admissions & Recruitment Assistant

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Eliana is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Psychology, with minors in African, African American, & Diaspora Studies and Latina/o Studies. In this work-study position as the BBSP Admissio … Read more


Jeff Steinbach

Director of BBSP Admissions

jsteinba@email.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Kaitlin Blakemore, M.A.

Student Services Manager, BBSP; Program Coordinator, UNC PREP

blakek@email.unc.edu | 919-843-9617

Kaitlin supports the BBSP first year training program and BBSP admissions and recruitment. Kaitlin is responsible for enrollment, tuition and fee payments, course management, and providing additional … Read more


LaKeya Hardy, PhD

Director of UNC PREP; Co-Director of SOLAR & Scientific Outreach

lchardy@email.unc.edu | 919-843-7882

Dr. Hardy serves as the director of UNC PREP, an NIH funded one-year post-baccalaureate research program for students in groups historically underrepresented in the sciences. She also serves as the co … Read more


Lisa Tarantino, PhD

Faculty Director of BBSP

lisat@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Louisa Steffen

Business Officer, Office of Graduate Education

lsteffen@email.unc.edu | 919-843-5035

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 … Read more


Melissa Graves

OGE Program Coordinator

megraves@email.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Morgan Church

Administrative Assistant

morgan_church@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Patrick Brandt, PhD

Director of Career Development and Training; Director of Science Outreach

pdb@unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Rob Nicholas, PhD

Faculty Director of BBSP Admissions

robert_nicholas@med.unc.edu | 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 … Read more


Scott Williams, PhD

Assistant Dean for Graduate Education

scott_williams@med.unc.edu |

Dr. Williams works closely with the Associate Dean for Graduate Education to collaborate with the PhD programs affiliated with BBSP.


Stephanie Gupton, PhD

Faculty Director of Graduate and Training Programs

sgupton@email.unc.edu |

Dr. Gupton works closely with the Associate Dean for Graduate Education to lead special projects pertaining to graduate training including Biostatistics, Ethics, and Rigor & Reproducibility course … Read more


Zoe Silverman, LCSW

Embedded Counselor

zoesilv@email.unc.edu |

Zoe Silverman is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and a therapist within the embedded counseling program at UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). In this role, she works exclusiv … Read more