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Graduate Catalog 2012-13


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Brody School of Medicine


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Phillip H. Pekala, Chair, 5E-124B Brody Medical Sciences Building
Brett D. Keiper, Director of Graduate Studies, 5S-28 Brody Medical Sciences Building

Biochemistry is the study of the molecular basis of cellular function. It has evolved into the common language for translating the advances of molecular biology into cellular and chemical terms. In the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, we study a broad range of cellular activities, from the signals that stimulate cancer cells to grow, to the machinery that powers muscle contraction, to the specialization of cell types for animal reproduction, to the way tissues store fat for energy supply. Our research explores the functional attributes of DNA, mRNA, proteins and lipid membranes. Like all biologists, we attempt to correlate structure with function, but at a molecular level of detail, including the chemical reactions involved.

The field of biochemistry brings together the areas of molecular genetics, cell biology, and biophysics. Each of these headings can be further subdivided into the classical areas of enzymology, metabolism, bioenergetics, structure and function of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.

Our faculty provide students and postdoctoral fellows with a research experience aimed at understanding fundamental mechanisms of cellular processes. The advances of the next decade will rely on a blend of structural biology, molecular biology and molecular genetic techniques. We integrate these methods to research topics that span from regulation of gene expression and chromatin structure, to cell signaling, cell cycle control, mRNA, and protein structure and function, and receptor-ligand or enzyme-substrate kinetics. We utilize prokaryotic, nematode, and mammalian model organisms and employ advanced genomics, proteomics, microscopy instrumentation.

If our approach to research science appeals to you, we encourage you to contact us and explore our Web site at www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/biochemistry. We can provide opportunity for applicants to visit our state of the art facilities and learn more about research programs and graduate education.