In 2013, CCBB began sponsoring training programs and peer-led working groups to meet the growing need for computational and bioinformatics skills. These events are geared towards graduate students, postĀ­docs, and faculty who are just starting new research projects that will involve programming and statistics but who have little or no background in the area. The working groups provide informal weekly sessions that facilitate the transfer and sharing of knowledge, while short courses provide and in depth view of a topic during one morning or afternoon.

While some of the courses are taught by our bioinformatic consultants, we try to draw from an ever-growing community of experts to teach introductory courses and lead the working groups. For the Fall 2015 semester, we have an excellent line up of Peer Mentors that are excited about empowering you with new tools that will further your research.

Anna Battenhouse

Anna Battenhouse is a DevOps Specialist for the Center for Biomedical Research Support. Anna has co-taught numerous short courses and in the Big Data in Biology Summer School.

: abattenhouse[at]

: LinkedIn

James Derry

James Derry is a Senior Systems Administrator for the College of Natural Sciences. James has been teaching Python for Biologist and a microcontroller course for the past three years.

: jderry[at]

: CNS Profile

Groves Dixon

Groves Dixon is a post-doc in Dr. Mark Kirkpatrick's lab. Groves has been a TA for RNA-seq workshops and was the TA for the undergraduate Big Data in Biology FRI Stream. He also teaches Fall 2017's Intro to RAD-Seq short course.

: grovesdixon[at]

: LinkedIn

Spencer Fox

Spencer Fox is a graduate student in Dr. Lauren Meyers' lab. Spencer co-organizes of the Peer-led Data Analysis in R working group that meets during the Fall semesters.

: spencer.fox85[at]

: website

Ben Jack

Benjamin Jack is a graduate student in Dr. Claus Wilke's lab. Ben assists with the Open Coding Hour that meets each Tuesday from 4-5 pm in the MBB library.

: benjamin.r.jack[at]

: website

Sean Leonard

Sean Leonard is co-advised by Dr. Nancy Moran and Dr. Jeff Barrick. Sean assists with the Open Coding Hour and has been a teaching assistant for multiple short courses and the BDiB Summer School.

: spleonard1[at]


Former Peer Mentors and Trainers

Dr. Jeff Barrick, co-organizer of the first next-generation sequencing course at UT Austin

Nichole Bennett, Biodiversity Informatics Programmer, Science Communicator

Dr. Daniel Boutz, Proteomics course instructor

Dr. Amelia Hall, Clinical Genomics and Bioinformatics

Rayna Harris, graduate student in the Hofmann Lab.

Dr. Ben Liebeskind, co-founder of the Peer-led Working Group in Biocomputing

Dr. Oana Lungu, Protein Modeling course instructor

Dr. Scott Hunicke-Smith, co-organizer of the first next-generation sequencing course at UT Austin

Dr. Mikhail Matz, Ecological Genomics and RNA-seq instructor

Dr. Kris McGary, Biological Networks course instructor

Dr. Kelly Pierce, co-founder of the Peer-led Working Group in Biological Statistics

Nate Pope, graduate student in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

Dr. Stephanie Spielman, Research Assisant Professor in the Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine at Temple University, in Dr. Sergei Kosakovsky Pond's lab.

Dr. Becca Tarvin, post-doc studying the evolution of chemical defense and resistance to self-intoxication in poison frogs (Dendrobatidae)

Dr. Jesse Webber, RAD-seq instructor

Dr. April Wright, co-founder of the Peer-led Working Group in Biocomputing