Dina Kovarik, MS, PhD, Program Manager, Bioinformatics
Dina Kovarik, MA, MS, PhD, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Biology from Sonoma State University working under Dr. James Christmann on the architecture of peroxisomal genes in tobacco. While at Sonoma State, Dina was active in student outreach and HIV/AIDS education. She also worked as a Teaching Associate in the Department of Biology, where she was the first recipient of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award in 2001.
Dina completed her Ph.D. in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Washington, developing a pre-clinical HIV vaccine in Dr. Nancy L. Haigwood’s laboratory at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (now Seattle Biomed). At the same time, she earned her Master’s degree in Epidemiology through the University of Washington working with Dr. Cathy Critchlow and Dr. Steve Hawes, identifying tumor markers in HPV-related cancer. While at the University of Washington, Dina was a founding member of FOSEP, the Forum for Science, Ethics and Policy.
Dina joined NWABR in 2009 as the Program Manager, Bioinformatics, for the ITEST strategies program, Bio-ITEST: New Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She develops outreach programs to bring bioinformatics resources to secondary school teachers and students. These programs include annual professional development workshops for teachers, and development of curriculum for the Bio-ITEST program (including an introductory curriculum on the science and ethics of genetic testing, and an advanced curriculum on genetic research using DNA barcoding). She is also actively involved in other educational outreach programs such as Expanding Your Horizons, where she introduces middle school girls to the field of genetics through the workshop "How Do Orange and Black Cats Differ?"