About the Department

Advances in biomedicine depend upon innovative approaches that are capable of recognizing complex associations in increasingly higher-dimensional data. Providing this innovation is the core task of bioinformatics. Previously understood as the computational branch of genetics and genomics, bioinformatics is fast becoming an overarching science of biomedical information processing. The Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics seeks to generate the intellectual and technical infrastructure required to integrate vastly diverse data types into models for the purpose of i) explaining biomedical processes from the molecular to the human scale and ii) predicting future outcomes of process interventions from current observations.

Interconnected Network

The foundation of our Department’s research programs is mathematics and computer science. Within our own labs and in collaborations across campus, we also engage in the development of experiments that enable and amplify the explanatory and predictive power of our computational models. Our Department is therefore home to theoreticians and experimentalists alike, who share a passion for the scientific exploration of uncharted territory in biomedicine through mathematical formalism and computation. BioHPC, a world-class academic computing facility, is housed within our Department and employs a team of scientists dedicated to enabling computationally-driven research in the environment of a major academic medical center. In Spring 2021, the Department also integrated the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Systems Biology, which focuses on probing, modeling and programming of genetic and molecular circuits in cancer and bacteria.

Our Culture

Our Department strives for teamwork and team-education. Organized around the grant-funded research programs of our faculty, we generate platforms for cross-departmental and cross-institutional research and training. All members of our Department benefit from a climate of openness, peer-to-peer support, a minimally hierarchical structure, and the belief in collective excellence.

All members of our Department have decided to stay in an academic environment for the beauty of making unbounded discoveries. The feeling of observing a data point for the first time or having an epiphany of a concept no one else has ever thought through is priceless. Yet, money matters. This is especially true for our postdoc community, where many individuals have responsibilities outside of the research environment, including families of their own. We therefore seek to provide internationally competitive postdoctoral compensation. As of September 1, 2023, a first year postdoc will earn an annual base salary of $70,000 (see our updated postdoc pay plan). We also believe that striving for excellence belongs to a research culture and must be recognized. Our pay plan thus provides postdocs with an independent, competitive fellowship bonus payment of > $20,000 on top of their annual base salary. With this pay plan, we intend that a fifth-year postdoc, awarded for example with a K99-grant, crosses the threshold into receiving a six-figure salary. Moreover, we provide additional bonus mechanisms for postdocs engaged in teaching opportunities. Together, this shall become a springboard for our trainees into leadership positions in academia or industry.

Department News

  • Dr. Dagan Segal was awarded a K99 form NIH titled, The context-dependent role of Caveolin-1 as a driver of cellular adaptation in Ewing Sarcoma.
  • Dr. Milo Lin was awarded R35 from NIH-NIGMS titled, Discovering interpretable mechanisms explaining high dimensional biomolecular data.
  • Dr. James McCormick was awarded the June 2023 Discovery Engine Program grant for his project titled, A Bright Future: Introducing Light Based Allosteric Control to Cytochrome P450.
  • Dr. Kevin Dean was awarded the Distinguished Researcher Award from the President's Research Council at UT Southwestern at a dinner reception held on May 2, 2023.
  • Dr. Albert Montillo was awarded R01 from NIH-NIGMS titled, Correcting biases in deep learning models
  • Dr. Gabriel Muhire Gihana was awarded a Hanna Gray fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for the project titled, Cell Morphological Regulation of Oncogenic Ras Signaling.