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Benfeard successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on March 24, 2017.

Benfeard Williams, PhD

Benfeard Williams, under the direction of Dr. Nikolay Dokholyan, successfully defended his dissertation and received his Ph.D. on March 24, 2017. The title of his dissertation is“The Structure of Apolipoprotein E Isoforms and their Role in Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Benfeard did his undergraduate work at Duke University, where he studied cell cycle oscillations in yeast and electron transfer properties in DNA in the labs of Nicolas Buchler and David Beratan. His research is focused on computationally exploring the conformations of a lipid binding protein, ApoE4, implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. He is also actively involved in developing software and novel methods for RNA structure prediction that utilize experimentally derived constraints.

During his predoctoral studies, Beanfeard has been involved in teaching UNC graduate students through the “How to Learn to Code” summer course that he helped develop, and in addition, he led a monthly student-led science workshop for homeschooled students. He is currently interning at UNC’s Office of Commercialization and Economic Development and plans to pursue a career in intellectual property with a focus on patents.