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The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is dedicated to the education of medical and graduate students in biochemistry, molecular biology and nutrition. Researchers in our highly interactive department utilize cutting-edge techniques to discover the molecular basis of disease, including research focused on cancer, infectious disease and aging.

Biochemistry research at the College of Medicine is in part driven by analytical technologies and instrumentation, such as protein production and purification, spectroscopy, structure analysis, mass spectrometry, and biosensor-based protein-protein interaction analysis. Molecular and cell biology are major experimental approaches complementing biochemistry and enable the elucidation of cellular processes at the biochemical level related to human disease.

The department consists of 12 faculty, including 2 full-time educators and 10 independent laboratory heads, with externally funded programs. Our outstanding faculty and their exceptional teams of research scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduate researchers are key to our success. The collaborative nature of the department and the wide array of scientific approaches, from structural biology and biophysical methods, to cell biology and animal studies, contribute to the exciting research environment.

Our department has a long history of outstanding educational programs for both PhD and MS candidates. Our graduate programs include:

Our research-intensive graduate programs offer high quality mentored research experiences. These train our students to be successful scientists and independent thinkers, prepared for a variety of careers. Students from our programs hold careers in a range of scientific areas including academic and industry research, teaching roles, government positions and science writing and policy.

We continue to expand the department by hiring additional faculty with interests in new areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, afforded by the rapid expansion of technical capabilities and new discoveries in basic biology.

Research at the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Our major disease focus has been on cancer. Cancer is a multifaceted disease and basic biochemical/molecular research on a broad range of cellular processes has been extremely powerful in understanding cancer biology—from transformation, to metastasis, to response, to treatment. Cancer biology is a "big tent" under which many disparate areas of inquiry can be united and focused.

The cancer biology research program emphasizes:

  • Control of cell proliferation (Bouchard, Noguchi, Reginato)
  • Signal transduction (Bouchard, Noguchi, Reginato)
  • DNA replication and repair (Berkowitz, Noguchi)
  • Cancer metabolism (Reginato, Bouchard)
  • Metastasis (Reginato)
  • Computational biology (Somarowthu)
  • Transcription and epigenetics (Bouchard, Reginato, Noguchi, Sell, Somarowthu)
  • Apoptosis (Bouchard, Reginato, Noguchi)
  • Aging (Noguchi, Sell)
  • Viral carcingogenesis (Bouchard)

A second research theme is directed toward understanding structure-function relationships in biological macromolecules. This includes studies of:

  • Membrane proteins (Loll, Chaiken)
  • Cytoskeleton and signal integration (Padrick)
  • Receptor-ligand interactions (Chaiken, Loll)
  • Enzymology and drug design (Loll, Chaiken)
  • Post-translational protein modifications (Bouchard, Noguchi, Reginato, Strochlic)
  • Molecular-level studies of specific diseases, including:
    • HIV and hepatitis (Chaiken, Abrams, Bouchard)
    • Malaria (Vaidya)
    • Sepsis (Loll)
    • Neurodegenerative disease (Loll, Saunders)
    • Aging (Noguchi, Sell)
    • Infertility and developmental defects (Berkowitz, Strochlich)

Another initiative arising from this approach is in the development of small molecule inhibitors (Loll, Chaiken, Reginato), including development of new antibiotics (Loll).


Meet Our Faculty – Eishi Noguchi, PhD

"I am interested in DNA damage response. One example of DNA damage is when you go outside, you are exposed to ultraviolet rays (UV). You might enjoy the sunshine but the UV cuts your DNA. When you drink alcohol, it converts into something very toxic that also cuts your DNA. That is acetaldehyde, which also causes hangovers. I'm interested in how our bodies fix that kind of DNA damage..."

Read more from Dr. Noguchi

Eishi Noguchi, PhD

Upcoming Events


 
News & Announcements
 

Christian Sell, PhD

Christian Sell, PhD, Receives NIH Institute of Aging Grant

Dr. Sell received a five-year NIH National Institute of Aging R01 grant for $2,075,000 to support his project: Novel longevity enhancing pathways regulated by mTOR.

Todd Strochlic, PhD

Todd Strochlic, PhD, VMD, Selected to Serve as 2023 Fellow in the Faculty Launch Program

The Faculty Launch Program is an innovative training program for mid-career faculty that provides opportunities for leadership training, career planning and mentorship while establishing a robust interdisciplinary faculty network.

Emily Esquea, Mauricio Reginato Lab

Emily Esquea Receives Dean’s Fellowship Travel Award and 1st Place for Graduate Student Poster at SKCC Trainee Retreat

Congratulations to Emily Esquea, a PhD candidate in Dr. Mauricio Reginato's lab, for receiving the Fall 2022 Dean's Graduate Student Travel Award. Emily also received 1st place for Best Graduate Student Poster at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Trainee Retreat in December 2022.

Discovery Day 2022

Photis Rotsides at Discovery Day 2022

Congratulations to Photis Rotsides, a PhD candidate in Dr. Patrick Loll’s lab, for being selected to present his research as a platform presentation.

Dr. Alexej Dick at Discovery Day 2022

Congratulations to post-doctoral fellow Dr. Alexej Dick for receiving 2nd place Best Post-Doctoral Fellow Poster at Discovery Day 2022. Dr. Dick is collaborating with Dr. Reginato in developing novel inhibitors to treat breast cancer brain metastasis.

Eishi Noguchi, PhD, Receives the 2022 Elias Abrutyn Mentoring Award

The College of Medicine's Elias Abrutyn Mentoring Award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring colleagues, residents, or students, by creating a supportive, effective environment in research, clinical care, education or scholarship, while advocating for the advancement of their mentees, and serving as a trusted advisor and role model. Dr. Noguchi was honored along with other faculty award recipients, on June 9, 2022. Dr. Noguchi joins previous winners of the Elias Abrutyn Mentoring Award from our department including Dr. Michael Bouchard (2021) and Dr. Mauricio Reginato (2018).

Eishi Noguchi, PhD, Receives the 2022 Elias Abrutyn Mentoring Award

Patrick Loll, PhD, Receives the 2022 Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award

The College of Medicine's Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in scientific research, achieved international recognition, demonstrated outstanding teaching skills, mentored students as well as peers, and provided consistent, high-quality leadership to the medical school, creating a better environment for all faculty and students. Dr. Loll was honored along with other faculty award recipients, on June 9, 2022. Dr. Loll joins previous winner of the Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award from our department Dr. Mauricio Reginato (2021).

Patrick Loll, PhD, Receives the 2022 Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award

Todd Strochlic, PhD

Todd Strochlic, PhD, VMD, Receives Third Golden Apple Teaching Award

Congratulations to Dr. Todd Strochlic for earning his third Golden Apple Teaching Award. Dr. Strochlic was selected by the class of 2024 medical students for his incredible teaching this past year.

Jessica Chen, PhD

Jessica Chen, PhD, Receives 2022 Professional Enrichment and Growth Grant

Congratulations to Jessica Chen, PhD, assistant professor in our department for receiving the DUCOM 2022 Professional Enrichment and Growth Grant to further her expertise in online education and expand graduate-level programs in cancer biology.

 
In the Media
 

February 26, 2020: Christian Sell, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, led research into the use of rapamycin to treat skin aging that was featured in MIT Technology Review's article on “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2020.”

December 11, 2019: Christian Sell, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and colleagues recently published research showing a possible new use for Rapamycin — as a way to slow skin aging. The findings were covered by Medical News Bulletin and Gilmore Health News.

November 26, 2019: Christian Sell, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was quoted in United Press International, Specialty Medical Dialogues and Medical Life Sciences about his research exploring the use of rapamycin, a drug typically used to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients, to reduce signs of skin aging. His research and findings were also covered in Economic Times Healthworld, ScienceBlog, McKnights Long-Term Care News, Medical News Today and Derm City.

May 11, 2016: Irwin Chaiken, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was quoted in a Philadelphia Gay News story about his research team's receipt of a Campbell Foundation grant to study new treatments for HIV.

May 4, 2016: Irwin Chaiken, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was mentioned in a post on the POZ Magazine website about receiving a Campbell Foundation grant to study a treatment that targets HIV reservoirs.

See all College of Medicine faculty in the Media

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Mauricio J. Reginato, PhD

Mauricio Reginato, PhD
Professor and Interim Chair