What is Biochemistry? In the life sciences, all roads lead to Biochemistry. Sooner or later, every scientist who studies the living organisms that inhabit our planet will ask themselves the deceptively simple question: “How?” How does it carry out a particular process or perform a specific function? How can we prevent a disease or ameliorate its effects? How can we leverage their catalytic capabilities for our benefit? Biochemistry is the branch of the life sciences devoted to the identification and analysis of the structure, function, and mechanisms of action of the molecules of life. Whatever the organism, whatever the process, the role of the Biochemist is to bring to bear an arsenal of powerful chemical, spectroscopic, molecular genetic, computational and other techniques in order to understand biological mechanisms in complete molecular detail. The insights Biochemists provide into life processes at their most fundamental level not only help satisfy our curiosity about ourselves and the world in which we live, but provide the foundation for the development of new approaches to fighting disease, generating food and energy, healing our environment, etc.
How big is our department? The department is currently home to sixteen tenured or tenure track faculty, approximately sixteen other Ph.D. research scientists, a dozen research technicians, nine support staff, nearly thirty graduate students, and more than 600 undergraduate Biochemistry majors – making us one of the largest B.S. granting programs in the nation. Over the past four years, the members of our department have brought in an average of $3.9 million in grants and contracts from federal and private funding agencies and published an average of 44 research papers in refereed journals, along with numerous reviews, chapters, and a textbook.
We encourage you to explore this site to learn more about our department, its people, and its programs.
Dennis R. Dean has generated a significant level of extramural funding for research through grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Education.
As part of a number of strategic moves to capitalize on research synergies at Fralin Life Science Institute and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute scientific director Christopher Barrett, a world authority in simulation science, will take the reins as the institute's executive director.
An assistant professor of biochemistry is examining the crucial time when malaria is transmitted from a mosquito parasite to humans. The effort will attempt to identify new drug targets to prevent malaria.
Each of the 15 ACC member schools will send student representatives who will present their work through oral presentations, posters, or models and exhibits. The conference will be held April 3-5 at the University of Pittsburgh.