profile picture

Brianna C

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Stanford University


Bioengineering, biomedical data science, genetics, computational biology, computer science, machine learning


Hi! I'm Brianna. I'm a 3rd year PhD student in Bioengineering at Stanford University. My research is in computational genomics. This means I develop computer programs and algorithms that can search through DNA sequences and learn about the relationship between genetics and disease. Some questions I'm researching right now are: - Which genes are involved in psychiatric disease? - What types of viruses do humans have inside of them at any given time, and don't even know about? - How do viruses evolve inside a person? Before Stanford, I was a software engineer at Google. At Google, I built machine learning algorithms to help predict how users would interact with advertisements. I love teaching and mentoring as much as I love research-- my current goal is to become a research scientist at a biotech company, while also teaching a community college course once or twice per year. Outside of academics, I enjoy rock climbing and drawing!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Pharmaceutical drug re-purposing project:

Sometimes pharmaceutical drugs are developed to treat a certain disease, but end up treating another disease just as well! Thalidomide, a drug created to alleviate morning sickness, was because it caused serious malformations. However, now it is used to treat leprosy, an infectious disease that is rare in western countries. We can ask the question then given that drug X works for disease Y, what are some other diseases it might be used to treat? We will take a look at how the proteins involved in disease Y look, and try to find diseases in which drug X might have a similar effect. You could learn 1) how drugs/medication interact with cells. 2) how to view and understand protein/DNA sequences. 3) how to decide if two proteins are similar?

Pet genetic screening project:

There are many companies out there that will sequence your genome and tell you what genetic diseases you might be predisposed to. Then you might be able to make changes in your life (quit smoking, healthier diet) to lower your chances of getting this disease. But there's not very many companies that do the same thing for pets! We can build a computer program that takes in a cat's DNA sequence, and tells what genetic diseases they might be predisposed to. This would teach you 1) how to read and understand DNA sequences 2) how to write computer programs to parse DNA sequences and 3) what kind of mutations are relevant to disease.

Final Notes

I would most love for you to come up with your own questions you are interested in researching, or ideas you want to develop! Then we can work together to form this into a good project proposal. But here are a couple examples of the types of projects I could help you work on.

Coding skills

python, R, C++ (but haven't used in years!), linux

Teaching experience

Teaching Assistant for BIOE 300A at Stanford: I T.A.ed Cellular and Molecular Engineering, a bioengineering graduate class at Stanford. I helped design and grade problem sets, hold office hours, and facilitate discussion sections. Schwab Learning Center Stanford: I am a tutor for the Schwab Learning Center for students with learning differences, where I tutor undergraduates and graduates in quantitative subjects. InspiritAI Bangalore, India: I taught a 2-week bootcamp in AI and Machine Learning to high schoolers in Bangalore covering the basics of supervised learning, neural networks, natural language processing,and computer vision. Volunteer Work: I volunteered for Spark from 2015-2017, a program that matches a middle schooler from an underserved school with a tech employee to complete a semester-long apprenticeship, and BUILD from 2018-2019, a program that teaches high schoolers work ethics and intrapersonal skills through entrepreneurship.


Work experience

Google (2015 - 2017)
Software Engineer


Yale University
BS Bachelor of Science (2015)
Biomedical Engineering & Applied Physics
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2022)

Interested in working with expert mentors like Brianna?

Apply now