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image of students taking water samples from Pittsburgh's three rivers

August 01, 2019

News Briefs

Computational Biology Hosted Nation's First Pre-College Program

Twenty-six high school students recently completed studies in Carnegie Mellon’s Computational Biology Department’s first pre-college program, the first in the nation for computational biology. The students split their time between computer labs and wet labs, using computational methods to perform actual microbial research in a matter of weeks that would otherwise take years using traditional methods for colonizing bacteria. 

Phillip Compeau and Josh Kangas, both assistant teaching professors, co-directed the program. Its curriculum was similar to a module of a lab course Kangas teaches for undergraduate computational biology majors. The idea, Kangas said, is to push the students to learn by gathering real biological data and analyzing it with computational methods to solve real problems.

First, the students went on a cruise of Pittsburgh's three rivers, where they collected water samples. Then, working with Kangas, they learned to perform DNA sequencing of the bacteria in each sample. Finally, Compeau taught them how to use software to analyze the data in the computer lab.

The students learned methods and techniques, and also performed actual research, observing how microbial communities in the river differ depending on location, season and proximity to pollution sources.

"This was a really amazing experience," said Stephanie Eristoff, a rising senior at the American School in Tokyo.

Find out more.

New Building Signage Project Gets Underway Aug. 5

The first phase of installation for new exterior building signs on campus will begin during the week of Aug. 5, when approximately 80 new signs will be installed as part of the new campus signage system. The new identification signs, which will replace the existing ones that are more than 20 years-old, will complement the navigation technology that is widely used today. 

The new signs will be mounted directly onto buildings to more easily confirm that a visitor has reached the correct destination. They will include the building name, street address and building abbreviation code that matches the campus map to help navigate the campus. You can view the building names, codes and street addresses online.

“The new campus signage is the next step in the university’s vision to elevate the experience people have on campus,” said Bob Reppe, senior director of planning & design, Campus Design & Facility Development. “With the opening of the new Tepper Quad, the refurbishing of Forbes Avenue, the completion of the Square Project at Forbes and Morewood, and now the new signage, the campus continues to become more unified and recognizable.”

Beth Wiser, director, Visitor Experience, Marketing & Communications, said this new signage system will help everyday users and visitors navigate campus more easily.

“Our goal in creating this new signage system was to improve the experience for campus visitors and our students, faculty and staff from their arrival to their destination.  As people find their way around campus using technology, having the street addresses on the building signs will prove to be beneficial,” she said. “It also will help first responders to find their way quickly in an emergency, and help support the increasing amount of deliveries to campus buildings.”   

The existing red post and panel freestanding building signs, which have faded or suffered damage over the last two decades, will be removed. The new signage system includes a process for repairing or replacing damaged exterior signs, and includes a maintenance plan to keep the campus looking fresh and up-to-date.

The second phase of the project will be completed by mid-October, and will include directional and wayfinding signs throughout campus utilizing the new, unified map. The third phase will include identification signs for the East Campus and Collaborative Innovation Center garages.

The signage project, which began with the revamping of multiple campus maps into one unified map, is being coordinated by a working group with representatives from Campus Design & Facility Development, Facilities Management & Campus Services, and Marketing & Communications.

If you have questions about the campus signage project, please contact Beth Wiser at

Hamburg Entrance, Forbes Sidewalk To Close Through Aug. 14

The main entrance to Hamburg Hall, the driveway directly in front of the main entrance, and the adjacent sidewalk on Forbes Avenue will be closed through Aug. 14, while several revisions are made. The accessible entrance/exit from Hamburg Hall A level will remain open for use during the course of this work.

The renovations will eliminate the stairway leading from the driveway to the sidewalk, which was the pedestrian crosswalk that has been moved. The stairway will be made into a garden area, matching the gardens on both sides of the stairway. The work this summer will set the stage for additional streetscape and pedestrian improvements next summer, including a wider sidewalk and street trees.

For questions or concerns regarding the work, contact Ron Cunningham at

Enroll Part-Time in INI Master's Degree Programs: New Opportunity for Fall

The Information Networking Institute (INI) is offering a new opportunity to enroll part-time in its highly acclaimed master’s degree programs in Pittsburgh. For fall 2019, students may enroll part-time in the Master of Science in Information Networking program or the Master of Science in Information Security program. If you'd like to learn more, submit an interest form and the admission team will be in touch.

The INI is an integral part of the highly ranked College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. Its technical, interdisciplinary master’s degree programs incorporate business and policy perspectives and are an ideal fit for Pittsburgh professionals looking to take the next step in their technology careers. 

Learn more about the INI programs. 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: CMU Night is Sept. 17

cmu night a pnc park promotional banner

The fourth annual Carnegie Mellon Night at PNC Park is Tuesday, Sept. 17, when the Pirates host the Seattle Mariners at 7:05 p.m. Buy your tickets online — $23 for a corner box seat or $18 for a seat in the infield grandstand — and you’ll receive a free Pirates hat in CMU colors with the Carnegie Mellon wordmark on the side.

Prior to the game you can enjoy discounts on food and beverages from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the concessions area behind sections 133-135.

Purchase your tickets online.