Choosing a Thesis Advisor


Lab Rotation Process

New Ph.D. students participate in a laboratory rotation program, involving three five-week rotations in laboratories in Biochemistry and elsewhere in MCB. In order to become acquainted with research opportunities in MCB, new students attend a series of evening presentations, given early in the fall semester, in which Biochemistry faculty and other MCB faculty members describe their research projects. In addition, students are encouraged to attend weekly seminars and talk with advanced graduate students about their research in order to better understand various programs.

Laboratories are chosen on the basis of the information presented in faculty research presentations as well as informal interactions with the faculty. Laboratory rotations are intended to provide students with a "wet lab" experience, through which they will learn and perform laboratory procedures. Rotations allow new students to interact closely with the faculty and advanced graduate students and postdoctoral associates, through attending regularly scheduled group meetings. Through these interactions students can better understand ongoing research projects in various laboratories.

Our faculty members believe that laboratory rotations are essential in helping new students become more rapidly integrated into the department and learning more about the operations of the laboratories they may wish to join. This experience will also be important in the selection of graduate students to laboratories, since it will provide new students with excellent opportunities to interact with the faculty. Students select a research advisor at the end of the first semester in the program.

Research in Biochemistry

The Department provides a comprehensive training program in biochemistry and molecular biology. The department includes 30 graduate faculty and nearly 100 graduate students. This size enables the department to provide a stimulating research environment and at the same time promotes close interactions between the faculty and graduate students. The intellectual development of the individual student is fostered by a relaxed, informal atmosphere, which facilitates exposure to a variety of scientific viewpoints, and by events such as our annual research conference and seminar program at which graduate students describe their research.

Faculty research programs encompass a diverse array of research interests. Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry carry out research in the most dynamic areas of current research in biological chemistry and molecular biology: physical approaches to the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, including x-ray crystallography; genomics, enzymology; membrane biochemistry and protein-lipid interactions; protein-nucleic acid interactions; molecular biological approaches to gene organization and expression; immunology; microbial physiology, and signal transduction. The diversity of our research interests is strengthened by the established collaborations and free exchange of ideas and techniques between laboratories. Most laboratories use interdisciplinary approaches and innovative computer applications.