The Biochemistry graduate program is just one component of a thriving biomedical research community at the University of Colorado. Many departments and multidisciplinary programs, along with interactions with other campuses (including the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, only a half-hour drive away in Denver), provide a broad range of research opportunities for graduate students.
The Biochemistry graduate program is run by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. However, students can also do rotation projects or thesis research with participating faculty in several other departments, incuding the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Department of Applied Mathematics, the Department of Physics, and the Department of Computer Science .
All Biochemistry students carry out three 11-week research laboratory rotations during their first year. The rotations are intended to expose students to different laboratory environments and allow them to assess their compatibility with faculty advisors. At the end of the second semester, students decide on a faculty mentor for their dissertation research, by mutual consent between the student and faculty.
The Bioinformatics Supergroup meets monthly, and draws researchers from eight departments and programs as well as regularly hosting speakers from the other CU campuses, industry (including Agilent and Dharmacon) and other institutions (including the Whitehead Institute at MIT, The University of Lausanne, and The University of Maryland). It is supported by the STCCR training grant.
The Biophysics Supergroup is part of the Biophysics Program. Each month, members of two labs present their research. Participants come from five departments: Applied Math, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and MCDB.
The Center for Computational Biology, based in Denver, coordinates bioinformatics and computational biology research across the University of Colorado campuses. It holds a regular seminar series, and also offers a graduate certificate in computational biology.
The Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology is a campus-wide effort to raise funds for and to coordinate research at the interface between biology and other sciences. University President Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman is coordinating major donations linked to specific projects, which can take place at any of the University of Colorado campuses. Donations from Jane and Charlie Butcher, along with funds from the President's office, have thus far supported three highly successful symposia in 2002, 2004, and 2007 plus three rounds of seed funding for new interdisciplinary funding that led to research published in Nature and other high- profile journals.
The Neuroscience Supergroup is run by the Center for Neuroscience, a multidisciplinary training program that includes researchers from over a dozen academic departments and programs ranging from Chemistry and Biochemistry to Computer Science to the Institute for Behavioral Genetics. It meets monthly, with one seminar per month.
RNA Club, still going strong since its founding nearly 20 years ago in 1986, meets every 2-4 weeks during the academic year, with two research presentations per session. RNA Club attracts speakers from MCDB, Biochemistry, the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, and speakers from biotech companies in and around Boulder that were founded on the basis of research at CU. These companies include Dharmacon, siRNA Therapeutics, and Somalogic.
STCCR meets every 3-4 weeks during the academic year, with two research presentations by graduate students, postdocs, or faculty, primarily from MCDB and Biochemistry. Costs are supported by the STCCR training grant.
The University of Colorado System consists of three campuses: the University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Colorado, Denver and Health Sciences Center, and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. There is considerable interaction among the campuses: many faculty have appointments in the graduate programs at more than one campus, and many students carry out some of their research at or in collaboration with labs at other campuses.
Many biotech companies have been founded on the basis of discoveries made at Boulder. These companies continue to have close ties to the university, including participation in the multidisciplinary research seminars and programs outlined above, placement of graduate students as postdocs or during lab rotations, and donations back to the university. A partial list of Colorado biotech companies includes: