The Department of Biochemistry began as a semi-independent Division within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1986, and became a separate Department in 2018. The Biochemistry Department is located on the east campus in the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building and current research in the Department spans a wide range of fields from biophysical chemistry to cellular and molecular biology. Specific areas of focus in the Biochemistry Department are: (1) nucleic acid biochemistry, including RNA structure and function and mechanisms of transcription and replication, (2) signal transduction and cell cycle regulation, and (3) structural biology, including X-ray and electron microscopy, as well as proteomics and bioinformatics. One notable feature of research in the Division is the interactive and collaborative nature of the research, which has a broader effect on the whole university community.
Biochemistry has over 150 researchers, currently consisting of 20 tenure track faculty, 1 research faculty, 1 instructor, ~65 Ph.D. students, ~35 postdocs , and ~30 technical staff. There are ~450 undergraduate Biochemistry majors, many of which perform undergraduate research and some graduate with Honors by completing an Honors thesis.
Research in Biochemistry laboratories is well funded. In 2017 the Biochemistry Department had external awards of $14,500,000. The largest source of funding is the National Institutes of Health, and additional funding sources include: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, Pew Foundation, W. M. Keck Foundation, Beckman Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and others. Individual faculty also collaborate with industrial partners and contracts or gifts to support research in Biochemistry. The Biochemistry faculty include a Nobel Laureate, five members of the National Academy of Sciences, and three Howard Hughes Investigators. Moreover, many faculty have won other awards including, NIH MERIT Award, NIH Career Development Award, NSF CAREER Award, NIH Pioneer Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pew Scholar, Beckman Young Investigator, Searle Scholar and University Distinguished Professor, to mention a few. During the period from 2010-2016 members of the Biochemistry Department published over 800 articles in scholarly journals. Overwhelmingly these papers include graduate students and postdocs fellows as coauthors. The Biochemistry Department has a vibrant graduate program and also has two NIH-funded pre-doctoral training programs – one in Signal and Cellular Regulation and a second in Molecular Biophysics. Approximately 60% of the recent Ph.D.s in the Department go on to perform postdoctoral research and most graduates end up with a position in academia or in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry. The Division also participates in community education and science outreach programs, for example the CU Wizards.