Message from the Chair

Benjamin P. Tu, Ph.D.

The Biological Chemistry (BC) Graduate Program brings together students and faculty with diverse interests in biochemistry, molecular biology, as well as natural products and synthetic organic chemistry. The BC Program focuses on the proteins and small molecules that control cell and organismal function, with an emphasis on in vivo significance and discovery-based approaches.

For examples, our students are deciphering how important enzymes and macromolecular machines carry out their functions, investigating the emerging connections between metabolism and various cellular processes, elucidating biochemical mechanisms in host-pathogen interactions, developing novel synthetic methods for making useful molecules, and identifying small molecules and natural products with novel biological activities.

Students interested in biochemistry and molecular biology take the graduate core course and electives focused on molecular mechanisms. Students in the Chemistry Training Track participate in a curriculum designed to further their understanding of chemical structure, reactivity and synthesis. The Program offers weekly works-in-progress seminars and journal clubs that enhance training in critical thinking, chemical and biochemical techniques, and a broad scientific knowledge. In our yearly retreat, participants present their work and learn about exciting research developments in an ideal setting in the Texas Hill country. These events bring together members of the BC Program and Chemistry Training Track to facilitate collaborations and exploration of the interface between chemistry and biology. Our faculty will be actively engaged in these activities and provide valuable feedback to students in guiding their research projects. It is our goal to provide a rigorous, stimulating, and enjoyable training experience for students in preparation for the next phases of their careers.

Benjamin P. Tu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry
Graduate School: University of California-San Francisco, 2003
Postdoctoral training: UT Southwestern Medical Center