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For Faculty

More than 350 UNC faculty contribute to the success of BBSP. Our faculty train students in research, teach them about their scientific disciplines, and provide mentorship. See the following pages for more information and commonly-used resources.

UNC faculty can affiliate with BBSP by taking the following steps. Please note that you must have an appointment or affiliation with one of our PhD programs in order to mentor students in your lab. If you are not automatically part of a PhD program based on your departmental appointment, you may reach out to the Directors of Graduate Studies of programs of interest to inquire about their affiliation process. If you have questions about this process, you can contact Dave McDonald, PhD (, the Director of BBSP.

Once we have the information from the survey link, we can start to add you to our listservs, databases, and website.

BBSP recommends a compensation level that is typically higher than NIH stipend levels. We set our yearly stipend to account for cost of living increases and to remain competitive with other biomedical science PhD programs in the US.

The NIH has adjusted the previous policies that had limited student compensation sources. Now students on T32 training grants or F31 pre-doctoral fellowships can receive wages for compensation in addition to their NIH stipend. After their first year, students supported by federal NIH stipends can have their total compensation increased to the BBSP recommended amount from their PI’s grants (“topping up”). From the relevant NIH policy: “Under these conditions, the funds provided as compensation (salary, fringe benefits, and/or tuition remission) for services rendered, such as teaching or laboratory assistance, are not considered stipend supplementation; they are allowable charges to Federal grants, including PHS research grants.”

While BBSP strongly encourages faculty to provide our recommended compensation level, we recognize some department’s funding structures may present challenges to doing so. Faculty who recruit from multiple PhD programs may have students earning different stipend levels as well, which can raise questions about equity. In these cases, faculty have taken a few different approaches, and it is up to the PI to decide what works for them, their lab, and their department:

  • Students are paid the recommended stipend level based on the PhD program they matriculated through. This option complies with the policies of each program.
  • BBSP student stipends are decreased to match the stipends of PhD students from other programs in the lab. If this approach is taken, BBSP recommends discussing this arrangement as early as possible with rotation students so they can make an informed decision when choosing a lab to join.
  • If a BBSP student joins a lab, all student stipends are brought up to the BBSP recommended level, no matter which PhD program they matriculated through
Academic Writing – The Writing Center:  UNC’s Writing Center supports student writing in a variety of ways. All UNC students can schedule an in-person appointment with a writing coach or submit writing samples to an online coach who will provide specific feedback. This set of guides on scientific writing can be helpful to those who want to improve writing skills. International students for whom English is a second language can access a wide variety of resources including writing groups, courses, and speaking groups. All international students will want to check out these guides for helpful ESL tips on academic writing.

UNC-CH Policy on ADA Reasonable Accommodations

  • Students must register with Accessibility Resources for accommodations in class. If a student in one of your courses discloses a disability to you and you have not received notification from ARS, please refer the student to ARS. Staff at the ARS are always available to discuss questions you may have including concerns about unreasonable accommodations. The Faculty & Staff page contains many helpful links.
  • Students must work with EOC for workplace accommodations including religious, accessibility, or medical conditions.

Academic Resources on Campus

Academic Related Policies

If you have a general question, are unsure what your needs are, or have an unusual situation – the individuals listed here are available as a resource to you (and your students). Any one of them is available to talk with faculty at any time to decide on a course of action.

  • Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Student Services Manager (SSM) for your student’s PhD program: These individuals administer the PhD programs and have experience with common student issues. It is important to keep the program informed if a student is having difficulty. An early intervention can often reset the student and avoid delays in progress.
  • Dave McDonald, Office of Graduate Education: Dave can provide advice and coaching to faculty or students who are experiencing a mentoring or student progress issue. Typically Dave will also provide a connection with other appropriate on and off-campus resources. Dave can be reached at or by phone at 919-843-3387.
  • Kate McAnulty, Associate Dean for Student Affairs: Kate, based in in the Graduate School, can advise especially on unusual or difficult situations. Kate can be reached at or by phone at 919-962-6329.
  • Office of the Dean of Students: The Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) is concerned with the well-being of all students on campus. Their Faculty & Staff page provides excellent information on recognizing students of concern, how to make a referral for help, and more. To reach someone in DOS simply call 919-966-4042 and explain that you are a faculty member at UNC calling with a concern about a graduate student.
  • UNC Ombuds: A confidential resource for all UNC-CH students, faculty, and staff. The Ombuds office can offer advice, coach individuals on responding to a situation, mediate conflicts, and more. To make an appointment email, email one of the staff in the office directly.

The Graduate School Handbook: all policies and procedures set forth by the UNC Graduate School, the unit which governs all BBSP PhD programs. Below are direct links to some commonly requested policies.

Many graduate students experience depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses during their graduate training. If one of your students is struggling, while you may be very concerned for their well-being you may also feel uneasy about addressing the issue directly. This is normal, but it is important to talk with your student to offer support. and direct them to resources. If you are unsure what to do, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of your student’s PhD program may be able to advise you. Additionally, you may reach out to Dave McDonald for a consultation. While Dave is not a trained mental health provider, he is able to direct you or your students to appropriate resources.  Below are a few UNC resources available to advisors seeking support for their students.

If you have an imminent concern for a student based on a threat of harm to self or others call UNC Public Safety at 919-962-8100 or call 911.

Student Wellness Coach: the School of Medicine has a trained mental health provider, Alli Schad, LCSW, available to meet with students one on one to address mental health concerns.  Alli provides counseling, referral to resources, and support to students in BBSP as well as MD students. You can refer your student to Alli by giving them her emali address ( or you may reach out to her to express your concern directly.

UNC Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS): CAPS offers counseling and medication management to UNC students. No appointment is needed for an initial assessment. Walk in hours for initial assessments are Monday – Thursday 9-12, 1-4 or Fridays 9:30-12, 1- 4. CAPS is located on the 3rd floor of the Student Health Clinic.  Dave McDonald and others in the OGE are available to walk a student over if they are unsure of the way or are uncomfortable going on their own.

Dean of Students: if you need help deciding if it is appropriate to make a referral for mental health counseling or if you need help with a student in a very unusual situation, the Office of the Dean of Students can also provide advice. They can be reached at 919-966-4042.

Other reading about mental health in biomedical science trainees

Biostatistics: The OGE organizes a Biostatistics course for biomedical scientists – BBSP 601. The course is offered each fall and the course director is Rob Nicholas.

Rigor & Reproducibility
: The OGE and MSTP program jointly created and offer a course titled “Best Practices for Reproducibility and Rigor in Research”. For more information about this course contact Rob Nicholas

Responsible Conduct of Research Training: All BBSP entered students receive training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) during their First Year Group course. For information about the curriculum contact Dave McDonald or Donita Robinson.  Additionally, the OGE has collected resources for PhD and T32 programs to create and lead their own ‘senior’ RCR training to satisfy the NIH requirement.  For more information about this, please contact Rob Nicholas.

Grant Application Assistance: The OGE is available to assist graduate students, T32 directors, and other individuals writing grants related to graduate education and training. The types of information and assistance we can provide includes:

  • F31 and NSF preparation workshops: these are announced via the TIBBS listserv and are open to all trainees
  • Successful graduate student grant proposal examples (click here for a password protected library containing NSF, F31, and American Heart Association proposals from UNC trainees)
  • T32 Data Tables and Boilerplate text for Admissions, Professional Development, Diversity, Individual Development Plans, and RCR training.  Please email Dave McDonald with your request.
  • Diversity Supplement Consultations: If your student is eligible for a Diversity Supplement on your R01, please contact Ashalla Freeman for a consultation.
  • T32 Program Evaluation ConsultationsBeka Layton is available for survey design assistance; one-on-one consultations on program evaluation plans; advising on data preparation, analysis, and interpretation; and connection to additional resources for more complex consultation needs.