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Department of

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

We further basic science knowledge at biochemical and molecular levels that is relevant to public health.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Headlines

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BMB Celebrates 2022 Award Recipients

Research and discovery in our department is driven by our PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, which is why every year the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department presents awards that recognize outstanding trainees.

BMB Research Highlight

Wang Lab Research

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Jiou Wang’s lab studies fundamental mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, which are often associated with cellular stress and disrupted energy metabolism. They have discovered a unique type of ribonucleoprotein granule that can be formed under energy deficiency stress conditions. 

 Stress granules, or SGs, comprising condensed proteins and RNAs, are a type of membraneless organelle induced by certain stressors. Researchers studying cells with disrupted energy metabolism found a new type of stress-induced granule: energy deficiency-induced stress granules. These eSGs have a distinct protein composition and higher RNA contents, suggestive of different functions. They also assemble differently, independent of translation factor eIF2α phosphorylation that is a hallmark of conventional SGs.

Neurons derived from patients with a major form of motor neuron degenerative disease, which have pre-existing metabolic disruptions, had abnormal eSG formation, suggesting its relevance to the disease processes. Full details, including more about eSG features and assembly, are in Intracellular energy controls dynamics of stress-induced ribonucleoprotein granules at Nature Communications.

What We Do in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Our Department strives to increase knowledge of cellular processes—normal and abnormal—at biochemical and molecular levels. We train highly qualified scientists who, through research, teaching, and service, continue to provide new insights into biomedical issues with a profound impact on public health.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Highlights

Founding Department

In 1917, we were the Department of Chemical Hygiene—our name has changed but not our drive for cutting-edge research.

Basic lab science with a public health perspective

Our research labs are uncovering the fundamental biochemical and molecular mechanisms at the foundations of health.

Teaching and training focus

We are committed to providing our students with training and mentoring so they can excel in a challenging but supportive environment.

From Cancer to CRISPR

Our faculty research—and teach—diverse topics across the breadth of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Programs

As a basic research department within the #1 public health school, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology thrives at a unique intersection of basic science, medicine, and public health.

We offer a doctoral and two master’s degree programs. We are also part of an online interdepartmental Master of Arts in Public Health Biology.

Master of Science (ScM)

Onsite | Full-Time | 2 years

A two-year program providing training in cellular and molecular biology, blending coursework in the first year with extensive lab research experience

Master of Health Science (MHS)

Onsite | Full-Time | 9 months

MHS program focused on cellular and molecular biology at the intersection of biology, medicine, and public health, preparing students for a wide range of careers

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Onsite | Full-Time | 5 years - 6 years

Our students are immersed in cutting-edge research in biochemistry and molecular biology, providing insights into biomedical issues impacting public health

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty Spotlight

Ashi Weeraratna, PhD,

studies how cancer cells move to distant sites and how changes in the normal cells around a tumor contribute to their movement, especially as we age.

Ashani Weeraratna

Department News

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