Ph.D in Biochemistry

Seventeen faculty members in Biochemistry and affiliate faculty offer the Ph.D. program in Biochemistry. Students may also work with faculty members in Chemistry who have biochemical interests. Graduate students in Biochemistry are part of a close-knit and supportive community, but all the resources of a large research department and university are available. We provide rigorous graduate course work in biochemical and biophysical principles and techniques as well as in molecular biology, genomics and proteomics, and systems biology. Graduate research focuses on fostering independence and expertise in answering cutting-edge biochemistry questions. Research programs fall into the general areas of biophysical chemistry, nucleic acid biochemistry, molecular biophysics, structural biology, bioorganic chemistry/chemical biology, and enzymes and molecular machines. Our students go on to successful academic, industrial, and government careers in today’s hi-tech world of biochemistry and biotechnology.

Faculty research programs in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park emphasize fundamental approaches to molecular aspects of biological systems. Biophysical chemistry/molecular biophysics/bioanalytics is a particular strength, including biomolecular NMR (DayieFushmanOrban) and X-ray crystallography (Beckett , Herzberg, LaRondePaukstelis), biomolecular small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS) (DayieFushman), biomedical mass spectrometry (Fenselau), computational methods (Fushman), kinetic and equilibrium analysis of biomolecular interactions (Beckett, Lorimer), and fluorescence approaches (Kahn, Lorimer). Faculty apply these approaches to problems of biological and biomedical importance that include molecular mechanisms of allosteric regulation (Beckett), regulation of gene expression (Kahn), RNA processing (Dayie, LaRonde, Paukstelis), translation (Dayie, Dinman, LaRonde), protein folding and chaperone proteins (Lorimer), ubiquitin-mediated signaling pathways (Fushman), cell-cell communication (Fenselau), SNP’s associated with human diseases (Herzberg),  drug design (Herzberg), protein-protein interactions in virulence (Beckett), membrane channels (Colombini), nanobiotechnology (Kahn, Paukstelis), and DNA recombination and repair (Julin).  Chemical biology and bioorganic chemistry benefit from the environment of a chemistry department with active research in nucleic acid biochemistry (Dayie, Kahn,  LaRondePaukstelis, Winkler), ubiquitination and other post-translational modifications (Fushman),  and protein glycosylation and glycoprotein function (Wang). Most projects are carried out by one or a few graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral researchers, so there is constant contact among faculty and students. Biochemistry groups benefit from connections with many other programs on campus, including Chemical PhysicsBiophysicsMolecular and Cellular Biology, and Bioengineering.

Program Requirements and Forms

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Biochemistry PhD Program

We provide rigorous graduate course work in biochemical and biophysical principles and techniques as well as in molecular biology, genomics and proteomics, and systems biology. Learn more about our Biochemistry Graduate Program.

Chemistry PhD Program

Collaborate on projects in interdisciplinary fields such as nanofabrication, bioorganic chemistry, supramolecular synthesis, environmental and atmospheric chemistry and fuel cell research. Learn more about our Chemistry Graduate Program.