For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

The application cycle for the fall 2022 program is now open.

In the words of Nobel Laureate Sidney Brenner (2002), biochemistry "... provides the only experimental basis for causal understanding of biological mechanisms."

The Biochemistry of Health and Disease (BHAD) graduate program trains students to explore the biological mechanisms that control the functions of living organisms. Students in our program work at the interface between chemistry and biology to probe the interactions between biomolecules that direct cellular function. This work is generating fundamental new knowledge about disease pathogenesis and is informing the development of new therapies. Graduates of the program are working as educators and researchers in academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and governmental agencies.

Learn more about the curriculum for the Biochemistry of Health and Disease program

Research

The Biochemistry of Health and Disease graduate program offers a rigorous and broad-based curriculum of research and coursework leading to the MS or PhD degree. The program provides a communal and supportive environment that promotes the free exchange of ideas and methodologies, in which all of members of the community are invested in one another's success. A diverse and dynamic array of faculty mentors participate in the program, representing research areas that include protein structure/function analysis, drug discovery, mechanistic enzymology, cell signaling, virus-host interactions and cancer biology. The theme of molecular and structural mechanisms represents a common thread running through all research programs, regardless of the specific biological focus.

Highlights and Announcements

Honors

Photis Rotsides, PhD candidate in the Biochemistry of Health and Disease program, gave an invited talk titled “Elucidating the antibiotic sensing mechanism of VanB vancomycin-resistant Enterococci” at Experimental Biology 2022, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Photis Rotsides (mentor: Patrick Loll, PhD) was awarded 3rd Place Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster at Discovery Day 2021.

Lina Maciunas, a Biochemistry graduate student, was one of five platform presenters to be highlighted in a news article about the College of Medicine's annual day of research, Discovery Day. Read the article.

Megan Meuser, Biochemistry PhD candidate, was invited to present her research at Molecules Medicinal Chemistry Symposium: Facing Novel Challenges in Drug Discovery in May 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

Megan Meuser, Biochemistry PhD candidate, received the first prize for an oral presentation at the Young Researchers Conference hosted by the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering in April 2019.

Neha Akella, Biochemistry PhD '19, received the first prize for Best Poster at the Sydney Kimmel Cancer Center Breast Cancer Symposium in November 2018. Neha’s poster was entitled "O-GlcNAc transferase regulates breast cancer tumor-initiating cells."

Dr. Lauren Bailey, Drexel biochemistry graduate program alumnus.

Unlocking the Secrets of HIV

Research by recent graduate Dr. Lauren Bailey is helping to advance our understanding of the structure of HIV and how an inhibitor may cause the inactivation of the virus.

Emilia Arturo, biochemistry PhD candidate at Drexel University College of Medicine.

A Step Toward Solving Phenylketonuria

Emilia Arturo, a PhD candidate, is part of a research team that recently made a critical step toward understanding the rare metabolic disorder phenylketonuria.

Fellowships

Giang Le Minh (mentor: Mauricio Reginato, PhD) won the Dean’s Fellowship 2022.

Megan Meuser won the Bondi Fellowship 2020.

Jennifer Koch (mentor: Patrick Osei-Owusu, PhD) won the Dean’s fellowship 2019.

Megan Meuser, BHAD PhD candidate, received a National Research Service Award (NRSA) pre-doctoral fellow on Drexel University’s Interdisciplinary and Translational Research Training Grant in NeuroAIDS (T32) funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Lina Maciunas (mentor: Patrick Loll, PhD) received a 2018 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID). Maciunas' project title was "Investigating how VanS induces vancomycin resistance genes: vancomycin sensing and signal transduction."

Selected Recent Publications

"Rapid Optimization of the Metabolic Stability of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Capsid Inhibitor Using a Multistep Computational Workflow"
Meuser ME, Reddy PAN, Dick A, Maurancy JM, Salvino JM, Cocklin S
J Med Chem. 64(7):3747-3766 (April 8, 2021)

"Structures of full-length VanR from Streptomyces coelicolor in both the inactive and activated states"
Maciunas LJ, Porter N, Lee PJ, Gupta K, Loll PJ
Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol. (2021)

"Discovery of a first-in-class inhibitor of sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase that protects against adverse cardiac remodeling and heart failure"
Jackson MR, Cox KD, Baugh SDP, Wakeen L, Rashad AA, Lam PYS, Polyak B, Jorns MS
Cardiovasc Res. (2021)

"O-GlcNAc Transferase Regulates Cancer Stem-like Potential of Breast Cancer Cells"
Akella NM, Le Minh G, Ciraku L, Mukherjee A, Bacigalupa ZA, Mukhopadhyay D, Sodi VL, Reginato MJ
Molecular Cancer Research. 18(4):585-598 (2020)

"Biophysical characterization of full-length human phenylalanine hydroxylase provides a deeper understanding of its quaternary structure equilibrium"
Arturo EC, Gupta K, Hansen MR, Borne E, Jaffe EK
J Biol Chem 294, 10131-10145 (2019)

Biochemistry of Health and Disease Program News and Graduate Placements

Photis Rotsides, Biochemistry of Health & Disease PhD Candidate, received 3rd place Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster. Photis is doing thesis research in the lab of Dr. Patrick Loll.

Megan Meuser, PhD '21, is now a postdoctoral associate at Yale University.

Kristie D. Cox, PhD '20, is now a postdoctoral associate at Medical University of South Carolina. Kristie did her thesis research work under the guidance of Dr. Marilyn Jorns.

Lina Maciunas, PhD '20, is now a bench scientist l3 at Glaxo Smith Kline. Lina did her thesis research work under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Loll.

Prajakta Mehetre, MS '20, is now a research associate II at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Prajakta did her thesis research work under the guidance of Dr. Shae Padrick.

Rebecca Rhodes, MS '20, is now a protein scientist at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. Rebecca did her thesis research work under the guidance of Dr. Shae Padrick.

Courtney Fesko, MS '18, is now a group leader at Eurofins PSS Insourcing solutions. Courtney did her thesis research work under the guidance of Dr. Joris Beld.

Kristie Cox, PhD '20, is now a postdoctoral scholar at Medical University of South Carolina. Kristie did her dissertation work under the guidance of Dr. Marilyn Jorns.

Jennifer Koch, PhD '20, is now a postdoctoral fellow at Temple University. Jennifer did her dissertation work under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Osei-Owusu.

Neha Manjari Akella, PhD '19, is now a postdoctoral fellow at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Neha did her dissertation work under the guidance of Dr. Mauricio Reginato.

Elizabeth Upton, PhD, a recent graduate, has accepted the position of assistant medical director at MedEdNow, a health care communications company in New York City. Elizabeth did her dissertation work under the guidance of Dr. Pat Loll.

Drexel Biochemistry program graduate Kate Beishline, PhD.

Kate Beishline, PhD, a recent graduate, has accepted the position of assistant professor of biology at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Kate did her dissertation work under the guidance of Dr. Jane Azizkhan-Clifford.

Emily Arturo, Biochemistry PhD candidate, co-chaired a session at the 2018 American Crystallographic Association Meeting in Toronto, Canada, entitled “Regulation of Protein Function by Shape-Shifting.”

Neha Manjari Akella, Biochemistry PhD Candidate

Neha Manjari Akella, a PhD candidate in the Biochemistry program, was chosen for a short talk at the October 2017 Biology of Cancer: Microenvironment & Metastasis Conference in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, to present her thesis research "O-GlcNAc transferase regulates breast cancer tumor-initiating cells." She is doing thesis work in the laboratory of Mauricio Reginato, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.