Message From the Chair: Rodney Kellems, Ph.D.

As a basic science department in a research-intensive medical school, the major mission of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) is to conduct innovative and significant multidisciplinary biomedical research. The research activities of the BMB faculty are built on the premise that biochemistry is the molecular basis of life. This premise is evident in the research programs of each of our faculty members who share a common goal of understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for biological function. BMB is host to a diverse array of research programs ranging from atomic resolution studies of molecular machines to mouse models of human disease.   Many BMB faculty members are involved in translational studies with our clinical colleagues. Basic biomedical research is conducted in cell biology, structural biology, biophysics, molecular genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, immunology and circadian biology. Preclinical and translational research is carried out in areas of pulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, aging, and cancer. The fundamental mechanistic approaches taken by our faculty provide real meaning to the term “molecular medicine.”

BMB faculty members constitute a well-funded community of curiosity driven scientists conducting significant and innovative research on many frontiers, and we  thrive on  interdisciplinary research opportunities. Because our research is not restricted by arbitrary thematic boundaries, we are free to take our research activities in new directions when opportunities arise or when our curiosity drives us there. Because we have no thematic boundaries, we are free to recruit new faculty members in emerging areas of research that appear to have promising future potential.

BMB is home to three research centers (Structural Biology Imaging Center, Center for Membrane Biology, and Pulmonary Center of Excellence) that represent areas of research excellence within the department.  Of particular note the Structural Biology Imaging Center recently installed a new Titan Krios cryo-electron microscope capable of providing near atomic resolution structures of complex biological molecules. The center has recently received funding to purchase a second cryo-electron microscope. Overall, the research activities of the BMB faculty provide an atmosphere of discovery and learning that enrich graduate student and postdoctoral research opportunities. The research findings of our faculty are routinely published in journals of the highest esteem.