About the Department
Welcome to Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota. Whether you are looking for an entree into undergraduate or graduate education, postdoctoral research, or any of the Centers or Institutes linked to our Department, we hope that you will find this site useful and informative. We organize ourselves into research divisions with emphases on Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, Metabolic and Systems Biology and Chemical and Structural Biology. Our research facilities are second to none. Our Department boasts state-of-the-art facilities comparable to any in the world.
The heart of the Department is its faculty. We have internationally recognized researchers in many areas such as structural biology and biophysics, the molecular basis of metabolic and autoimmune disease, metallobiology, environmental biotechnology, and genome maintenance. Faculty laboratories carry out numerous investigator-initiated research projects as well as projects linked to larger collaborations and consortia. Multiple research opportunities allow BMBB faculty to interface with a variety of other basic science and clinical faculty within the university and the scientific community broadly.
The Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics is at the center of the university's research emphasis in genomics and proteomics. While graduate training in a BMBB laboratory involves first-year coursework and associated preliminary examinations, the focal point for graduate education is thesis research. Laboratory-based exploration coupled with journal clubs, seminars, scientific meetings and retreats, manuscripts, career counseling and scientific ethics constitutes the major components of the program. Support for graduate education comes from a variety of sources but is augmented by several NIH and NSF-based training grants. Ph.D. graduates from Minnesota obtain full-time employment immediately after graduation or pursue advanced training in academic or corporate postdoctoral positions. In addition, many Ph.D. students complement their research backgrounds with a law degree preparing them for careers in intellectual property and biotechnology.
Our educational programs emphasize strong foundational training at the undergraduate level with a core curriculum focusing on macromolecular structure and function, metabolism, molecular biology, signal transduction, and protein biophysics. In addition, specialized course work in chemistry, physics and biology complements the undergraduate degree program and offers the student an exceptional grounding in modern biochemistry. The majority of our undergraduate students conduct one or more research projects or internships as part of their degree program to gain hands-on experience in biochemistry. Undergraduate majors are prepared to enter the work force directly in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry, matriculate into graduate or professional schools, or pursue related careers in law or public policy.
Postdoctoral training at Minnesota allows talented investigators an opportunity to work closely with world-class faculty in an exciting environment focused on genomics and proteomics. Postdoctoral training grants coupled with foundation or federal support allows investigators the opportunity to transition to independent investigator status mentored by university faculty.
Centers and Institutes
The Department supports a number of Centers and Institutes within the University. We offer three named lectureships each year, the Dagley Lecture in Biotechnology in the fall, the Goldberg Lecture in Signal Transduction and Metabolism in the winter and the Bollum Symposium on Molecular Biology in the spring. The Department supports three main Core facilities, a high field NMR Core with associated 800 MHz and 600 MHz spectrometers, an X-ray crystallography facility with high throughput capability and a Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Core with MALDI-TOF and Electrospray capability. These Core facilities interface with university-wide initiatives in genomics and allow for unequaled research exploration from DNA microarrays and gene expression to proteomics and structural biology.
The department has equally strong interests in the following three areas of research:
- Understanding the molecular mechanisms of metabolic diseases and cancer
- Developing novel strategies in biocatalysis and biotechnology
- Advancing our knowledge through struUnictural biology and molecular biophysics