Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration

NOTE: This page is for detailed information about the Physiology and Functional Genomics Concentration only. All inquiries concerning admission to the BMS must be directed to the BMS Admissions office at biomed@med.ufl.edu. More information on admissions is also available on the Admissions Page.

Overview

The Advanced Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is one of eight advanced concentrations leading to the Ph.D. degree under the auspices of the Graduate Program (BMS) in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) program of study is designed both to provide students with fundamental graduate-level training and to provide flexibility in tailoring a course of studies to fit with a student’s research interests. During the first year of studies, students take required coursework and do three six-week laboratory rotations. The rotations give students the opportunity to work in research laboratories of three different BMB faculty to aid in the selection of a research advisor. By the end of the first year, students select a research advisor, and in the second and subsequent years, the major focus of the graduate program is on supervised research. Students can pursue a broad range of research projects. In the second year, students begin working on dissertation projects in a research laboratory, prepare for a qualifying exam, and complete required coursework. The qualifying exam must be completed by the end of fall semester of the third year. After passing the qualifying exam, students officially advance to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The average time students require to complete a Ph. D. degree in the BMB program is about 5 years.

The College of Medicine at the University of Florida enjoys a strong graduate education program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. BMB faculty are committed to providing students with an intellectually challenging and rewarding environment for graduate education in the molecular life sciences. Students in our Ph.D. program receive solid training in the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology. Detailed information about our training program, faculty, and research projects can be found through the links below.


Areas of Research

Faculty in the BMB program work in a diverse range of research areas and actively collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. Information about the research interests of individual BMS faculty members in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Concentration. Please check the following GPBS faculty search page for a list of BMB faculty: BMS faculty search page

  • Aging
  • Bacterial Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Pathogenesis
  • Biochemical and Molecular Basis of Human Disease
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Trafficking and Cytoskeleton
  • Cellular Signaling Pathways
  • Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
  • Enzyme Mechanisms and Structure-Function Relationships
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene Expression and Regulation
  • Gene Therapy
  • Genome Maintenance and Replication
  • Immune and Inflammatory Responses and Disorders
  • Membranes and Transport
  • Neuronal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • RNA Structure, Function, and Metabolism
  • Structural Biology
  • Viral Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Pathogenesis

Meet Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Structural Biology, and learn about her research on the structural biology of viruses:

Research Facilities

Student progress is facilitated by the availability of state-of-the-art instrumentation and research core laboratories:


Program of Study

The BMB program of study is designed to provide students with a strong foundation of knowledge in the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology, while at the same time, allowing the flexibility to design a course of study to fit individual research interests. All entering GPBS students enroll in the same curriculum in the fall semester of the first year which prepares students to participate in graduate-level research in any one of the six graduate programs including BMB. After the first semester, students have the freedom to select courses that meet their research interests. Examples of Individual Curricula are provided below.

The BMB program offers a wide range of courses, and in addition to these, students can select advanced courses from other disciplines. Many of these 3-hour courses have been divided into modules so that a student can take part of the course for credit. For example, a student could take the third section (BCH 6209) of the 3-credit metabolism course (BCH 6206) for 1 credit. Links to course listings are provided below.

Students typically take 6 hours of advanced courses in the spring of their first year and 3 hours in the fall and spring semesters of their second year for a total of 12 credits to complete the formal course requirements. Every semester, starting in the second year, students must register for the BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936). This coursework along with work on the research project prepares students for taking a qualifying exam for admission to candidacy for a Ph. D. degree. The qualifying exam must be completed by November of the third year. An Overview of BMB Program and Course Requirements is provided below. Specific questions can be answered by the graduate coordinators, Robert McKenna and Andy Berglund, or the graduate secretary, Elise Feagle.

Overview of BMB Program and Course Requirements

First Year
Fall Semester

  • “Core Course” (GMS 6001) – 5 credits
  • Lab Rotation (GMS 6090) – 2 credit
  • Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development (GMS 6003) -1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) -1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Advanced Courses – 6 credits
  • Lab Rotations (GMS 6090) – 1 credits
  • Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (GMS 7003) – 1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7979) – 6 credits

 

Requirements After the First Year

  • 6 credits of formal coursework – After completing the courses required in the Fall semester of the first year, a total of 12 credits of Advanced Courses must be taken. Typically, 6 of those 12 credits are taken in the spring of the first year, and the remaining 6 are taken in the second year. At least 4 of the 12 credits must be from the BMB Advanced Courses (BCH prefix) and at least 3 credits must be from another advanced concentration. Students are not required to take the Spring Semester “Core Course”, however, a student may take some or all of the spring semester Core Course modules to satisfy the advanced course requirements. These core course modules can be taken in any year not only the spring of the first year.
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit each fall and spring semester
  • Qualifying Exam taken by Nov. 1 of the 3rd year
  • Supervised Research – After the first year, supervised research is the major focus of the BMB graduate curriculum. Successful completion of a Ph.D. degree requires students to carry out an independent research project, write a dissertation describing this work, and defend the work in a public presentation.
  • Supervisory Committee – By the end of the first year, students must form a supervisory committee composed of 5 faculty members including the research mentor who serves as chair of the committee. In addition to the chair/research mentor, the committee must include 2 faculty members from the BMB concentration and an external member from outside the BMB concentration. The fourth member may be from within the concentration or outside the concentration.
  • Supervisory Committee Meetings – After passing the qualifying exam, students have regular meetings (twice a year) with members of their supervisory committees. The purpose of these informal meetings is help students with their research projects and to help students stay on target for graduation.

Examples of Individual Curricula

Student Interest in Molecular Biology

First Year
Fall Semester

  • “Core Course” (GMS 6001) – 5 credits
  • Lab Rotation (GMS 6090) – 2 credit
  • Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development (GMS 6003) -1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) -1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology (BCH 6415) – 3 credits
  • Electives from Advanced Courses – 3 credits
    (genetics, virology, immunology, cell biology, neuroscience, etc.)
  • Lab Rotations (GMS 6090) – 1 credits
  • Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (GMS 7003) – 1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7979) – 6 credits

 

Second Year
Fall Semester

  • Any combination of the following (2 – 3 credits)
    • Advanced Gene Regulation (BCH 7410) – 1 credit
    • Epigenetics of Human Disease and Development (BCH 7412) – 1 credit
    • Advanced Metabolism (BCH 6206) – 3 credits
  • Elective Advanced Course Module – 1 credit
  • Research (GMS 7979) – 4 – 5 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Electives from Advanced Courses – 3 credits
  • Research (GMS 7979) – 5 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7979) – 6 credits
  • Prepare and Pass Qualifying Exam!!!
Third and Fourth Years
Fall Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 6 credits
Fifth Year
Additional Semesters (if needed)

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
  • Write dissertation and defend!!!

Student Interested in Structural Biology

First Year
Fall Semester

  • “Core Course” (GMS 6001) – 5 credits
  • Lab Rotation (GMS 6090) – 2 credit
  • Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development (GMS 6003) -1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) -1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Advanced Structural Biology (BCH 6740) – 3 credits
  • Electives from Advanced Courses – 3 credits
    (genetics, virology, immunology, cell biology, neuroscience, etc.)
  • Lab Rotations (GMS 6090) – 1 credits
  • Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (GMS 7003) – 1 credit
  • Journal Club (GMS 6090) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7979) – 6 credits

 

Second Year
Fall Semester

  • Any combination of the following – for 2 or 4 credits
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (BCH 6741C) – 1 or 2 credits
    • Molecular Structure Determination by X-ray Crystallography (BCH 6744) – 1 credit
    • Molecular Structure Determination by X-ray Crystallography Lab (BCH 6744L) – 1 credit
    • Molecular Structure and Dynamics by NMR (BCH 6745) – 1 credit
    • Molecular Structure and Dynamics by NMR (BCH 6745) – 1 credit
  • Research (GMS 7979) – 4 or 6 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Electives from Advanced Courses – For a total 6 credits for fall and spring. (Alternatively, a student could wait until the fall of the third year and take additional structural biology electives).
  • Research (GMS 7979) – variable credits (for a total of 9 credits for the semester)
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7979) – 6 credits
  • Prepare and Pass Qualifying Exam!!!
Third and Fourth Years
Fall Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Spring Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
Summer Semester

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 6 credits
Fifth Year
Additional Semesters (if needed)

  • Research (GMS 7980) – 8 credits
  • BMB Journal Club (BCH 6936) – 1 credit
  • Write dissertation and defend!!!

The Faculty and their Research

For a list of faculty members in the Biochemistry and Structural Biology advanced program, please click here.

Meet Jorg Bungert, Ph.D. and learn about his research on the regulation of human b-globin genes:


Concentration Contacts

Robert McKenna Ph.D.
Coordinator, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – UF College of Medicine
Phone: (352) 294-8395 | E-mail: rmckenna@ufl.edu

Andrew Berglund, Ph.D.
Doctoral Graduate Coordinator, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – UF College of Medicine
Phone: (352) 273-7889| E-mail: aberglund@ufl.edu


BMB Logo

The BMB logo was designed and created by Nan Su, a talented graduate student and now an alumnus of the BMB program. It is an abstract representation of a human/pipetman intertwined with DNA.