Graduate Program Information
Requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy
- Courses. Ideally, incoming students will have completed courses in general biology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and calculus. Deficiencies in any of these areas would normally be made up in the first year. A core curriculum of graduate courses in the following areas is given on a two-year cycle: nucleic acid structure, biosynthesis and its regulation, regulation of gene expression, regulation of chromosome dynamics, structural mechanisms and energetics of protein-nucleic-acid interactions, protein structure and folding, protein trafficking in cells, physical techniques, molecular genetics, the cell cycle, biological spectroscopy, bioinformatics and functional gemomics, and molecular, biochemical, and cellular bases of cancer and other human diseases. Additional graduate course electives are also available. Within this general framework, an individual program of study tailored to fit the student’s background and interests is designed in consultation with the graduate committee and the student’s advisor.
Qualifying examinations. The criteria for admission to candidacy for the PhD will be performance in courses, aptitude for research, a written qualifying examination at the end of the third semester, and the oral defense of an original research proposal by the middle of the fourth semester.
Teaching. Normally, three to four semesters of teaching are required.
Research interests of the department. Control of DNA replication; mechanism of protein secretion; global regulations of ribosomal biogenesis in the yeast S. cerevisiae; mechanisms of DNA replication and repair; protein-protein and protein-nucleic-acid interactions; the structural dynamics of nucleic acids and proteins; chromosome structure and gene expression; UV resonance Raman spectroscopy of biological macromolecules; biological assembly mechanisms; protein fiber formation in disease; enzyme mechanisms; the olfactory system' and new frontiers in genome research; elucidation of membrane protein function by X-ray crystallography.
The departments of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry offer an interdepartmental certificate in molecular biophysics supported by a training grant from the National Institutes of Health. This program is designed to prepare students for research and careers that combine interests in the physical and life sciences. Interested students are encouraged to consult David Beveridge or Irina Russu in the Chemistry Department or Manju Hingorani or Ishita Mukerji in the MB&B Department.