Graduate Program

Welcome Prospective Students,

The Department of Biochemistry is the administrative home for the Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The goal of our graduate program is to train students to design and conduct research aimed at elucidating biochemical and molecular mechanisms controlling physiological and pathological processes. The approach used by our faculty to achieve this goal is to cultivate an open, collegial relationship with one another and with the students. Close collaboration among scientists, the sharing of ideas, and open inquiry are critical components of our training plan. Key components of graduate training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are the emphasis placed on laboratory research and the use of current scientific literature in advanced coursework. In addition, students are provided opportunities for professional development through seminar presentations, attendance of national meetings, teaching opportunities, and seminar programs both within the department and throughout the Health Sciences Center.

Faculty research in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program can provide the student with training in multiple basic sciences areas:

  • Regulation of gene expression
  • RNA processing
  • Molecular basis of cancer cell growth
  • Intermediary metabolism
  • Regulation of signal transduction by nutrients and metabolites
  • Nutritional biochemistry
  • Oxidant-induced cellular stress
  • Structure/function relationships of proteins
  • Molecular genetics of visual and auditory development
  • G protein-mediated signaling in retina photoreceptors
  • Genetic basis of age-related macular degeneration

These research areas provide fundamental knowledge of the normal health state and the amelioration of diseases:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Disorders

All of the graduate programs in the West Virginia University School of Medicine share a common admissions process and first semester curriculum. This semester of study provides a strong background in basic cellular function and whole organism dynamics. The student also carries out research rotations in different laboratories during this semester. The student enters into the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at the end of the first semester by choosing to work in a laboratory affiliated with the graduate program.

Please take some time to peruse our website and gain detailed information about the program. By clicking on "Curriculum" you can see a sample plan of study and the courses that you can expect, as well as how our curriculum meshes with the undifferentiated first semester curriculum. Click on "Faculty" and see a description of each faculty member's research program. Click on "Handbook" to see a detailed description of the graduate program. Each semester we offer a Seminar Series and invite world-class scientists to the Department.

What you can't see from our web site is perhaps more important. At West Virginia University we offer our graduate students significant amounts of individual attention. We pride ourselves on the friendly atmosphere in our Department and throughout the Health Sciences Center. Students receive both academic and professional development via courses in the sciences and training in seminar presentation, manuscript writing, and professional ethics. The graduates of our program can be found in industry positions, at the National Cancer Institute, in teaching positions, and throughout the academic research community. We also can't show you the beauty of West Virginia, the convenience of life in the small town of Morgantown, or the ease of reaching Pittsburgh for major league sports, excellent museums, arts, restaurants and cosmopolitan ambiance.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our graduate program.

Sincerely,

Brad Hillgartner, Ph.D.
Graduate Director
Phone: 304-293-7751
Email: fbhillgartner@hsc.wvu.edu