Biochemistry History + Strengths

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 Department is the interactive and collaborative nature of the research, which has a broader effect on the whole university community.

Biochemistry By the Numbers

Biochemistry has over 140 researchers, currently consisting of:

  • 21 tenure track faculty
  • 1 research faculty
  • 2 teaching professors
  • ~75 Ph.D. students
  • ~42 postdocs and scientists
  • ~29 technical staff
  • 7 administrative staff
  • ~400 undergraduate Biochemistry majors, many of which perform undergraduate research and some graduate with Honors by completing an Honors thesis

The Biochemistry faculty include:

  • a Nobel Laureate
  • five members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • three Howard Hughes Investigators

Faculty Awards through the Years:

  • NIH MERIT Award
  • NIH Career Development Award
  • NSF CAREER Award
  • NIH Pioneer Award
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Pew Scholar
  • Beckman Young Investigator
  • Searle Scholar
  • University Distinguished Professor

2010-2016 members of the Biochemistry Department published over 800 articles in scholarly journals. Overwhelmingly these papers include graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate students 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, examples include: Science Community Outreach Program and Education (S.C.O.P.E.) and Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC).

Biochemistry Funding

2022 external awards (non-philanthropic)

The largest source of funding is the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences/NIH/DHHS. Past and current funding sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • National Science Foundation
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • Beckman Foundation
  • Boettcher Foundation
  • Pew Charitable Trusts
  • W. M. Keck Foundation

Individual faculty also collaborate with industry partners to support research in Biochemistry.