Areas of research interest in the program are focused on important human health problems that include drug abuse and its effect on the developing fetus, drug delivery in the treatment of disease, complications of diabetes and aging, especially as they impact on the eye, sickle cell anemia and related thalassemias, gene therapy, stroke and reperfusion injury, microbiology, and kidney disease. Advanced techniques of modern laboratory research in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology are utilized in an attempt to acquire a basic understanding of these disease states. These include but are not limited to molecular cloning, gene isolation and analysis, gene therapy, transgenic animals, cell culture and transfection, patch clamp technology, polymerase chain reaction, and sophisticated immunological techniques, as well as the study of signal transduction, membrane receptors and membrane transport, the structure and function of macromolecules, the inflammatory response, and the regulation of gene expression.
Upon entering the PhD. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, core courses are supplemented with advanced courses tailored to students' educational needs. Student workshops enhance oral communication skills and the ability to critically evaluate research data. In seminar courses, faculty and visiting scientists present their research. PhD. students must pass two departmental qualifying examinations to be admitted to candidacy for the degree. Students are encouraged to present their work periodically in departmental seminars and at regional and national scientific meetings.
In addition to the first year of core coursework and laboratory rotations, the PhD. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology requires approximately four years of full time study, including course work, examinations and dissertation research.