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Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Program

Program Director: Dr. Nick Rhind
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Homepage

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology’s notable achievements include:

  • Students awarded predoctoral training grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense 
  • Students who have received the prestigious Harold Weintraub Graduate Student Award 
  • NIH program project grant focused on HIV drug resistance and protease inhibitor design 
  • Faculty members named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, W. M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholars, Burroughs Wellcome Fellows, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Scholars and a Pew Scholar 
  • A faculty member who patented discoveries in RNAi

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 and design; regulation of gene expression and epigenetics; RNA processing and trafficking; protein synthesis and transport; membrane transport and ion channel function; drug action at cellular membranes and signal transduction; structural basis of protein and enzyme function; computational investigation of protein dynamics; cell cycle control; DNA replication and repair; neural development, differentiation and neurodegenerative disease. 

Requirements for Specialization

Laboratory research is of central importance in the PhD program and starts with three semesters (one full year) of laboratory rotations. Typically, students contact the faculty member with whom they would like to work to discuss the availability and planning of a rotation project. Rotations consist of full- or half-semester projects, and students are encouraged to begin a rotation project during the summer prior to the start of their first academic year. 
In addition to the required first-year Biomedical Sciences classes, students will take three Advanced Topics courses, one of which must be either Chemical Biology or Molecular Biophysics. Elective advanced courses can be chosen from among those offered by the program, or relevant courses offered by other GSBS programs. The plan of coursework is designed to be flexible in order to accommodate each student’s needs and areas of interest.