Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) Graduate Program

UCLA Biochemistry and Moledular Biology Program

The Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) Graduate Program at UCLA offers a long-standing tradition of excellence in research and PhD student training.

Our faculty’s cutting-edge research programs span the broad areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, covering both traditional and modern disciplines.

Our program is well suited for students interested in biological systems and molecules, particularly those who seek a detailed, mechanistic understanding of biological and biochemical phenomena.

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BMSB Program Areas of Specialization »

More About BMSB Graduate Program

Areas of Specialization

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Structural and Computational Biology Research

Several of our research groups focus on the areas of Structural and Computational Biology. X-ray crystallography, NMR, EPR, and other biophysical techniques are being brought to bear on exciting new problems in biology through the elucidation of the functions and cellular mechanisms of diverse proteins, nucleic acids, macromolecular assemblies, and disease-related molecules. Studies aimed at elucidating biological phenomena are supported by technical developments aimed at advancing the current limits of structural biology methods. Our structurally-oriented research programs are strongly complimented by diverse studies in computational and synthetic biology. These range from algorithmic developments in the areas of bioinformatics and genomics to macromolecular structure prediction and design.

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Systems Biology and Biological Regulation Research

At least 15 research groups in the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry carry out research in the area of Systems Biology and Biological Regulation. This
discipline combines efforts to characterize the structural, biochemical, and in vivo functional properties of individual biomolecules and pathways with the cutting-edge approaches of modern genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. It combines both experimental and computational approaches to model biological systems and tests the predictions of the models. Investigators in this focus area are addressing questions concerning such topics as gene regulation at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, metabolic regulation and homeostasis, regulation of cell shape and motility, intracellular transport and compartmentation, phylogenomics, and molecular evolution.

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Metabolism, Aging and Development Research

Studies of spatial and temporal regulation of transcription and of the role of actin polymerization to determine cell polarity in Drosophila development and embryogenesis. Understanding the mechanisms of protein import into mitochondria, and determining how defects in mitochondrial protein translocation lead to disease. Elucidate the metabolism of lipids, RNA, amino acids, and metals, and determining how regulation of synthesis, degradation, mobilization, and compartmentalization of these processes contribute to health, disease and aging. Study how cells repair protein and small molecules to counteract spontaneous chemical damage associated with aging.

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Bioenergy and the Environment Research

Development of advanced biofuels and chemical feedstocks, using genetic reengineering of enzymes and reprogramming of microbial cells by advanced synthetic biology. Design and reengineering of microbes for degradation of plant materials to fuels and chemicals. Analysis of algal and other microbial genomes for discovery of new enzymes and pathways for energy production. Design and synthesis of biomaterials for CO2 capture. Development of statistical methods for more rapid discovery of useful genes.

Structural and Computational Biology Research Faculty

Systems Biology and Biological Regulation Research Faculty

Backus, Keriann M.

Bowie, James U.

Metabolism, Aging and Development Research Faculty

Clarke, Steven G.

Courey, Albert J.

Metabolism, Aging and Development Research



Bioenergy and the Environment Research Faculty

Bowie, James U.

Caram, Justin R.

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Clubb, Robert T.

Eisenberg, David S.


Bioenergy and Environment Research