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The Training Initiatives in Biological and Biomedical Sciences program (TIBBS) 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 our TIBBS Career Development Staff.  We are here to help, so please reach out any time.

Find the full OGE & BBSP Contact links.


Patrick Brandt (he/him), PhD

Director of Career Development & Training; Director of Science Outreach

Contact Patrick:   | LinkedIn | 919.843.9342

Patrick (he/him) brings a sincere desire to help all graduate students take control of their future professions and succeed in whatever path they choose. He directs career awareness and professional skills development programming through TIBBS, in conjunction with Rebekah (see below), and was co-PI on the Immersion Program to Advance Career Training (ImPACT). Initiated in 2006, TIBBS is UNC’s professional development program for life science graduate students. Funded by an NIH BEST grant in 2014, ImPACT is UNC’s career exploration, job shadowing, and internship program that serves 1000+ graduate student and postdoctoral trainees in the life sciences. He is also co-PI to the NIGMS SCISIPBIO Award (see below), which investigates graduate education and career development outcomes.

Patrick also directs the Certificate Program in Translational Medicine, which started as an HHMI funded program in 2006. Patrick has a track record of grant writing success and was instrumental in securing $6.1 million in grant funding from HHMI, NIH, BWF, and NCBC to fund career development, outreach, and training initiatives.

Patrick leads the statewide DNA Day initiative which for more than a decade has sent 150+ scientists annually to high schools across North Carolina to get students excited about learning science. He developed the inaugural Summer of Learning and Research (SOLAR) undergraduate research program, which is still running today, serving as SOLAR director from 2009-2013.

Patrick grew up in Upstate NY and earned a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester School of Medicine where he studied the enzymes involved in lagging strand DNA replication and a related DNA repair pathway. After a short postdoc at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Patrick joined the Office of Graduate Education in 2008. In his spare time Patrick loves spending time in the outdoors.

Patrick welcomes your input on professional development programming and is eager to discuss your career development options with you.

Rebekah Layton (she/her), PhD, CMC, PCC

Director, Professional Development Programs

Contact Beka:   | LinkedIn | 919.843.8439

Rebekah (she/her) encourages trainees’ to lean into their own enthusiasm and determination to help them build upon their passion for science to expand that into exciting professional opportunities ahead. This evolution is a collaborative effort in which Rebekah assists trainees in connecting their interests and skills with a world of possibilities to choose from. She is available to help guide the trainee through the decision-making process, set professional goals to build skills and experience, and to help trainees to find and use relevant resources, take advantage of training events, and get the most out of networking opportunities to support their development as scientists and professionals.

Preparing for a career can seem daunting, but with Rebekah’s thoughtfulness and passion to help others, she seeks to inspire each individual to walk confidently down the path of their own choosing, which may even include roads one may not have known were there. She helps each trainee make the most out of traditional academic experiences in addition to exploring new experiences that may be outside “the norm,” merging the trainees’ talents to extend into a world of opportunity to connect with an extensive network of career possibilities.

Rebekah brings to the team experience in academic professional development for teaching and research as well as non-academic professional experience. Rebekah helped establish and serves as the Co-Director of the UNC Certificate in College Science Teaching (CCST), and serves on the Advisory Board for UNC CIRTL (Center for Integration of Teaching and Learning Network). She serves on the UNC Graduate Professional Development Advisory Board, the UNC Graduate Certificate for Business Funamentals (GCBF), and the UNC Military Affiliated Graduate Student Advisory Board (MAGS).

Rebekah is a trained professional coach (Professional Certified Coach and Certified Mentor Coach) who works with trainees in individual consultations as well as providing programming through the NIH-funded TIBBS and ImPACT programs, along with Patrick (see above). Her professional interests include teaching, mentoring, and professional development preparedness. She is excited to work with trainees to help them find and prepare for engaging, rewarding, and fulfilling careers that match their personal goals and priorities.

Rebekah is the PI of the Science of Science Policy Approach to Analyzing and Innovating the Biomedical Research Enterprise (SCISIPBIO), a jointly funded NIGMS and NSF initiative. Rebekah’s research interests include graduate education research on programming, career outcomes, and professional development. Rebekah provides support to life science graduate training programs at UNC as a program evaluation advisor. Rebekah’s doctoral research training focused on goal-setting and self regulation. Rebekah received her PhD from the University at Albany, State University of New York (Muraven Self-Control in Life Lab; Social and Personality Psychology) and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (Psychology; History & Sociology of Science), where she began her research career working with the founder of the Positive Psychology movement (Seligman). She completed her University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill post-doctoral training (health psychology).

Rebekah is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where she served as a Military Police Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. As a paratrooper, she was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and completed her active duty service in Seoul, Korea as a Captain in the US Army. In her free time, Rebekah enjoys rowing with Carolina Masters, as well as volunteering with the Durham VA’s Veteran’s Research Engagement Panel (VetREP).

Contact Rebekah to get more information about upcoming TIBBS training opportunities, to be added to the TIBBS listserve, or to set up one-on-one career counseling sessions.