Welcome to BIG

The rapid advances in genome technologies and the bioinformatics challenges in interpreting massive amounts of data have created amazing opportunities for young researchers. The BIG program offers an interdisciplinary PhD training aimed at producing leading researchers in these areas. Most of our students come with a very strong background in a quantitative field as well as a significant experience in molecular biology and genetics.

The BIG program is administered by the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The students have a substantial flexibility in choosing their advisors--they can choose practically any faculty members who have a primary appointment at Harvard, in addition to the core faculty members listed on this site. Our core faculty is unparalleled in its record high-quality research in many areas of genomics and bioinformatics, both in basic science and translational research.

We believe that the students need to be experts not only in computational analysis but also have broad background in the biological sciences and expertise in an area of application, whether that is a basic biological phenomenon or a disease area. The students therefore take courses in genetics and molecular biology as well as a biological literature reading course, with graduate students in other programs at the medical school. For those interested in advanced quantitative courses, there are numerous courses at nearby institutions, e.g., Bayesian statistics at Harvard School of Public Health, machine learning at the Harvard main campus, or signal processing at MIT (10 minutes to MIT and 20 minutes to the main campus by a shuttle bus).

The Longwood Medical Area in Boston is one of the premiere medical research hubs in the world, and Harvard Medical School and its numerous affiliated hospitals offer a multitude of seminars each week. Boston has also become a center of biotech companies including many start-ups in recent years. So come join us for an opportunity to tackle an important problem in biomedical sciences, in the company of wonderful classmates and faculty!

Peter Park, PhD
BIG Program Director