Nature of the Discipline
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology integrates the molecular life sciences
from the most basic biology-chemistry interface to molecular genetics and bioinformatics.
The disciplines of the molecular biosciences involve the use of sophisticated analytical,
biochemical, and genetic technologies to examine the activities of living systems,
focusing on the structures and roles of macromolecules in complex biological systems.
Faculty members in biochemistry function as research project managers and principal
investigators of their own individual programs whose success require them to be
innovative and interactive with other scientists. The faculty member designs the
individual research programs, and there is little to no administrative direction
applied to their choices of research activities.
Each faculty member is expected to direct an active research program or be involved
in other scholastic activities involving the training of doctoral and masters-level
graduate students as well as undergraduate students studying in biochemistry and
molecular biology. In addition, each tenure-tract faculty member provide effective
formal classroom teaching, provides service to the department's research and
academic functions, and maintains research/teaching funding to sustain their laboratory
The Department has multiple missions that involves balancing teaching in biochemistry
and molecular biology with the needs of high-achieving undergraduate majors in biochemistry,
a growing Ph.D. graduate program in biochemistry, and of highly competitive research
programs. The Department has administrative responsibility for the support and resource
management for the interdepartmental Graduate Faculty of Biotechnology and Cell
& Molecular Biology.
The mission of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is to provide
strong educational programs for undergraduate, graduate and professional students,
to conduct high quality research in biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology,
and to effectively transmit scientific knowledge to the general public.
Biochemistry has taken the forefront in defining broadly based opportunities in
biotechnology processes and applications that indicate the path for the biologically
based future of the twenty-first century. This future will influence all phases
of our lives from the quality of food and fiber to the preservation of natural resources
and the medical biosciences. The molecular tools, which are being developed today,
will lead to technologies to manage infectious diseases, cure metabolic and cellular
dysfunction, and define the physical quality of life.
This Department must provide
a broad set of technical and conceptual capabilities that result in a cutting-edge
perspective to discern the molecular events that underlie normal and aberrant life
science functions in medicine, nutrition, agriculture, and environmental adaptation.
In addition, the Department must be involved in the promoting life-long education
and technology transfer necessary to disperse this information.