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Overview

 

The Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology offers graduate study and research focused in the areas of molecular, cellular and regulatory biochemistry; molecular biophysics; chemical biology; and structural biology. Students receive a rigorous foundation in modern biomedical science through an integrated program of laboratory research, advanced coursework, and attendance and participation in seminar programs. Students also organize and participate in a weekly informal seminar series in which they present recent research results.

Specific areas addressed within program laboratories include: protein folding; regulation of gene expression; RNA processing and trafficking; protein synthesis and transport; membrane transport and channel function; drug action at cellular membranes and signal transduction; structural basis of protein and enzyme function; protein modeling; cell cycle control; DNA replication and repair; and neural development, differentiation and neurodegenerative disease.

Requirements

Courses: To earn a PhD in the Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology (BMP) students are required to pass the GSBS Foundations Course (BBS614) plus three Advanced Topics Courses (2 or more credits), two of which must be part of the BMP Program Course Curriculum.  The third Advanced Topics Course is typically taken in Year 2; however, the student should enroll in a course (regardless of when it is offered) that is most relevant to their graduate research.

Laboratory research: Students are introduced to laboratory research by taking three to five 8-week laboratory rotations during the first year of graduate study. Typically, students contact the faculty member in whose laboratory they would like to work to discuss the availability and planning of a rotation project. At the end of the first year, students select a Thesis Advisor and begin laboratory research in the Advisor’s laboratory.

Qualifying Exam: Students typically take their PhD Qualifying exam in the Spring of their second year after completing the core course.  Completion of two advanced topics courses is recommended to ensure the students are prepared for the exam.  The exam consists of an oral presentation and defense of an original research proposal based on the student’s own potential thesis work or any topic of the student’s choosing. Successful completion of the exam marks the official entry of the student into thesis research.  A detailed description of the qualifying exam guidelines can be found here.

Research Presentation: All students in Thesis Research are required to give an annual research presentation to the Department in a Friday afternoon seminar series that runs from September through May each academic year.

Program Progression

Year 1
Fall: Foundations in Biomedical Science (BBS614), Laboratory Rotation
Spring: Two Advanced Topics Courses, Laboratory Rotation
Summer: Laboratory rotation

Year 2
Fall: Preparation for Qualifying Exam (BBS602), Laboratory Research
Spring: Qualifying Exam, Laboratory Research,
Summer: Thesis Research

Year 3
Fall: Professionalism and Research Conduct (BBS601), Thesis Research
Spring/Summer and semesters thereafter: Thesis Research

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