About the Department
The department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics is committed to understanding the molecular mechanisms of metabolic diseases and cancer; developing novel strategies in biocatalysis and biotechnology; and advancing knowledge through structural biology and molecular biophysics.
We organize ourselves into research divisions with emphases on Chemical and Structural Biology, Metabolic and Systems Biology, Molecular Biology and Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology. We are housed in new buildings with state-of-the-art research and support facilities.
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 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.
The Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics is at the center of the university's research emphasis in the post-genomics era. The focal point for graduate education is thesis research. Support for graduate education comes from a variety of sources but is augmented by several NIH and NSF-based training grants. Our Ph.D. graduates obtain full-time employment immediately after graduation, pursue advanced training in academic or corporate postdoctoral positions or complement their research backgrounds with a law degree preparing them for careers in intellectual property and biotechnology.
Our undergraduate program emphasizes strong foundational training 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. 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 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.