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.


Jean Cook, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education

jean_cook@med.unc.edu | 919-843-3687

As Associate Dean for Graduate Education, Dr. Cook leads the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) and its constituent programs. She advocates for the interests of graduate researchers and their faculty … Continued


Rob Nicholas, PhD

Associate Director for Graduate Education

robert_nicholas@med.unc.edu | 919-843-9342

Dr. Nicholas serves as the Faculty Director for BBSP First Year Groups, the advising and professional development course for first year BBSP students.  He also works closely with the Associate Dean fo … Continued


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 … Continued


Ashalla Freeman, PhD

Director of Diversity Affairs; Co-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 co-director of the NIH funded IMSD progra … Continued


Porchia Gerald

Director of Finance, Office of Graduate Education

porchiag@email.unc.edu | 919-843-8291

Porchia serves as the Director of Finance for the Office of Graduate Education (OGE). In this role Porchia manages NIH, NSF, and other grants that support OGE programming.  She also handles all day to … Continued


Joshua Hall, PhD

Director of BBSP Admissions; Director of UNC PREP

jdhall@unc.edu | 919-843-7882

Dr. Hall directs admissions for Biological & Biomedical Science Program (BBSP), the umbrella application and first year training program for 14 biomedical PhD programs. He is responsible for the a … Continued


Jessica Harrell, PhD

Director of SOLAR; Co-Director of IMSD

jessica_harrell@med.unc.edu | 919-843-1570

Dr. Harrell directs the UNC Summer of Learning and Research (SOLAR) program for undergraduates from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences. She oversees the 10-week summer research exper … Continued


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 … Continued


Anna O’Connell

Director of BBSP First Year Program; Director Biomedical Student Affairs

aboconnell@unc.edu | 919-843-3387

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


Allison (Alli) Schad, LCSWA, LCASA

Student Wellness Coach

allison_schad@med.unc.edu | 919-843-4171

Allis is a licensed social worker and provides one-on-one counseling to PhD students at the School of Medicine. To schedule an appointment with Alli click here.  Alli also monitors the wellness of bio … Continued


Jeff Steinbach

Assistant Director of BBSP Admissions; Program Coordinator, UNC PREP

jsteinba@email.unc.edu | 919-843-7129

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


Tina Craven

Student Services Manager

tjcraven@med.unc.edu | 919-843-9617

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


Susan Chen

Administrative Assistant

chens@unc.edu | 919-962-4982

Susan is the primary point of contact for visitors to the OGE  Additionally she supports the day to day operations of our office, maintains department websites, and assists with OGE events.


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 … Continued


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 … Continued