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    University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  Sep 22, 2017
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Biochemistry (BIOC)

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MICHAEL F. SUMMERS, Graduate Program Co-Director
GERALD WILSON, Graduate Program Co-Director

Degrees Offered

Ph.D. (Degree Types )



BUSH, C. ALLEN, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Chemical structure and three-dimensional conformation of complex carbohydrates of glycoproteins and polysaccharides of the cell surface using biophysical methods such as NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism and molecular modeling
FISHBEIN, JAMES C., Ph.D., Brandeis University; Mechanisms of organic reactions in aqueous solutions; generation and study of reactive intermediates, particularly those involved in nitrosamine and nitrosamide carcinogenesis; chemical toxicology
KARPEL, RICHARD L., Ph.D., Brandeis University; Nucleic acid helix-destabilizing proteins, protein-nucleic acid interactions, retroviral structural proteins
LU, WUYUAN, Ph.D., Purdue University; Protein engineering via total chemical protein synthesis
OSTRAND-ROSENBERG, SUZANNE, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Tumor immunology and immunotherapy; tumor-induced immune suppression; human and murine cancers
ROSENZWEIG, ZEEV, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Synthesis of Benign by Design Optical Nanomaterials that minimally impact environmental and biological systems while retaining desirable functionalists
RADTKE-SELEY, KATHERINE., Ph.D., Auburn University; The discovery, design and synthesis of nucleoside/nucleotide and heterocyclic
enzyme inhibitors for use as medicinal agents with chemotherapeutic emphasis in the areas of anticancer, antiviral, antibiotic and antiparasitic targets.
SUMMERS, MICHAEL F., Ph.D., Emory University, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator; NMR and biophysical studies of retroviral genome recognition, virus assembly and macro-molecular interactions

Associate Professors

CULLUM, BRIAN M., Ph.D., University of South Carolina; Development of optical sensors and optical-sensing techniques for biomedical and environmental research
KELLY, LISA A., Ph.D., Bowling Green University; Mechanistic investigations of visible-light-induced redox reactions using laser flash photolysis techniques, with particular emphasis on developing synthetic chemical assemblies that efficiently undergo chemical redox reactions with biological substrates
SMITH, PAUL J., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Bio-organic and physical organic chemistry; biomimetic catalysis, DNA structure and DNA binding by small molecules

Assistant Professors

AN, SONGON, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Cellular biochemistry of metabolic multienzyme complexes in living cells
GARCIN, ELSA., Ph.D., Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble (France); The mechanisms by which nitrogen oxide affect catalytic activity and dynamic association with regulatory proteins.
THORPE, IAN., Ph.D., University of Utah; To understand the fundamental physical principles that govern the interplay between protein structure, function and dynamics.
KANN, MARICEL., Ph.D., University of Michigan; The availability of genomic data derived from hundreds of genome projects has generated a great challenge: to understand the complexity of biological process and to decipher the mechanisms that lead to healthy or diseased organisms.
WHITE, RYAN J., Ph.D., University of Utah; Development of electrochemical, biological and chemical senors at the naoscale that probe materials and biological systems with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. Analytical research utilizing nanoscience, biomolecular engineering and electrochemistry

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), School of Medicine; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MBIC) and affiliated faculty
GERALD WILSON, Graduate Program Co-Director
MICHAEL F. SUMMERS, Graduate Program Co-Director


ANIL, JAISWAL, Ph.D.,Lucknow University, India; Oxidative Stress: Nrf2:INrf2 (Keap1) signaling in cell survival and death
BASHIRELAHI, NASIR (School of Dentistry), Ph.D., University of Louisville; Steroid hormone action
BLACK, LINDSAY W., Ph.D., Stanford University; Bacteriophage morphogenesis and DNA packaging
BLOCH, ROBERT, Ph.D., Harvard University; Cell and molecular biology, muscle physiology, Biacore and surface plasmon resonance
CIVIN, CURT, M.D., National Cancer Institute; Hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation, microRNA regulation of adult and embryonic human hematopoietic development
DasSARMA, SHILADITYA, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Structure-function and biotechnology of extremophilic enzymes
ECKERT, RICHARD, Ph.D., University of Illinois; Molecular biology of skin differentiation and cancer, MAP kinase signaling and transcriptional control of gene expression
FADEN, ALAN I., MD, neurotrauma, cell death, neuroinflammation & neurodegeneration
GARTENHAUS, RONALD, M.D., Post-transcriptional control of gene expression in cancer
KAPER, JAMES B., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Bacterial virulence factors
KAETZEL, DAVID, Ph.D., Washington College, Chestertown; The NM23 family of metastasis suppressor genes
DONNENBERG, MICHAEL, M.D., Columbia University; Interactions between pathogenic Escherichia coli and host cells; combined molecular biology, cell biology and biochemical approaches are used to gain insight into the processes by which pathogenic E. coli cause disease
LAKOWICZ, JOSEPH R., Ph.D., University of Illinois; Biophysical applications of fluorescence spectroscopy
LINDBERG, IRIS, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Peptide hormone-synthesizing enzymes in obesity and diabetes; chaperone proteins and neurodegeneration
LU-CHANG, A-LIEN, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Enzymology of DNA mismatch repair
MCKENNA, MARY C.,  Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Metabolism in normal brain and developmental disorders using 13C-NMR spectroscopy to determine metabolism via specific pathways in astrocytes and neurons and trafficking between brain cells
MEDVED, LEONID, Ph.D., Institute of Biochemistry, Kiev, Ukraine; Fibrin(ogen) structure and interactions, fibrin-dependent inflammation
MONTEIRO, MERVYN J., Ph.D., University of London, England; Biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases
NEUWALD, ANDREW F., Ph.D., University of Iowa; Computational analysis of protein sequence and structure
PASSANITI, TONY, Ph.D., University of Virginia; Breast cancer angiogenesis and transcriptional regulation
RAUFMAN, JEAN-PIERRE, M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Muscarinic receptors and ligands in colon cancer
ROGERS, TERRY B., Ph.D., University of California, Davis; Signaling mechanisms in the heart and brain
SCHNEIDER, MARTIN F., Ph.D., Duke University; Intra-cellular calcium movements during muscle activation
VARMA, SHAMBHU D., Ph.D., University of Rajasthan, India; Intermediary metabolism, diabetes, oxygen free radicals, nutrition and blindness, microRNA, ocular diseases.
WEBER, DAVID, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Structural and mechanistic studies of enzymes, NMR
WELLING, PAUL A., M.D. University of Kansas, Kansas City; Molecular mechanisms of salt balance, blood pressure control, and hypertension
ZHAO RICHARD Y., Ph.D., Oregon State University; Host-pathogen interactions; cell cycle G2/M regulation; HIV/AIDS; molecular diagnostics

Associate Professors

CARRIER, FRANCE, Ph.D., University of Montreal, Canada; Genotoxic stress response in mammalian cells
DROHAT, ALEX, PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore; DNA repair and modification, enzymology, structural biology
HORNYAK, THOMAS J., M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan; Melanocyte stem cells and cancer epigenetics
KONTROGIANNI-KONSTANTOPOULOS, AIKATERINI, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine; Cytoskeletal regulators in cell assembly, motility and adhesion
MEREDITH, ANDREA L., Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School; Potassium channel biophysics and physiology, Ionic basis for rhythmic excitability in neurons and myocytes
RASSOOL, FEYRUZ V., Ph.D., University of London, United Kingdom; DNA damage and repair in cancer and leukemia, cancer cell targeting for therapy
SUNDBERG, ERIC J., Ph.D., Northwestern University; Molecular recognition in infectious disease
THOMPSON, RICHARD B., Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana; Fiber-optic biosensors and fluorescence spectroscopy
WILSON, GERALD M., Ph.D., Queen's University, Canada; RNA-binding proteins, RNA structure, mRNA turnover, oncogenes, cytokines, regulation of gene expression
ZHOU, QUN, MD., Ph.D., West Virginia University; microRNAs, breast cancer stem cells and chemoprevention

Assistant Professors

QI, JIANFEI, Ph.D., University of Toronto; Signal transduction and transcriptional regulation in prostate cancer.
PEDRA, JOAO, Ph.D., Purdue University; Microbial pathogenesis and immunity.
ZALZMAN, MICHAL, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University; Novel mechanisms controlling cellular lifespan, differentiation potential and immortality of cancer cells and stem cells
ZHAO, ZHIYONG, Ph.D., University of Manchester; Developmental biology and birth defect research.

Program Description

This is an inter-campus program, combining two departments: the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMBC and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Medicine at UMB. The two departments together offer a single course of study leading to the doctoral in Biochemistry. Students entering this joint program have the benefit of the extensive facilities and resources of the departments on both campuses, and they have the chance to interact with a large pool of scientists with a wide spectrum of research interests.

The doctoral program is administered by a graduate committee consisting of eight faculty members. Committee members for the 2014-present term are M.F. Summers (chair), G.M. Wilson (co-chair), A. Drohat, J. Fishbein, E. Garcin, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulis, and D. Weber.

Program Specialties

The following is a list of some of the research specialties available within both of the participating departments.

In the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (UMBC), research areas include structure-function studies of nucleic acid helix-destabilizing proteins, model systems for enzyme mechanisms, development of synthetic methods for synthesis of natural products and nucleosides, reactions of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon epoxides, infrared and Raman spectroscopy of phospholipid membrane systems, structures of complex carbohydrates, molecular modeling, NMR of metallobiomolecules, gene regulation, DNA binding by small molecules, drug interactions with metalloproteins, mechanisms of drug resistance, photochemistry of nucleic acids, bioanalytical and biomedical applications of mass spectrometry, and relationship studies between molecular geometry and reactivity in biological systems.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (School of Medicine, UMB) offers a wide range of research interests, with particular strengths in molecular biology, protein structure and function, membrane biochemistry and physical biochemistry. These areas include molecular genetics of bacterial transformation genes, phage molecular biology, DNA packaging and morphogenesis, enzymology of DNA mismatch repair, fidelity of transcription, gene expression in muscle development, molecular biology of drug resistance, protein targeting and translocation in eukaryotic cells, molecular energy transduction within enzymes, hemoglobin structure function and blood-substitute design, structure of membrane and contractile proteins, membrane signal transduction mechanisms and proteins, receptor-mediated signaling in heart and brain cells, ion pores and enzymatic catalysis, biochemistry of reproduction in ovarian cells, intra- cellular calcium movements during muscle activation, molecular mechanism of muscle contraction, molecular physiology of allosteric systems and biophysical applications of fuorescence spectroscopy.

Program Admission Requirements

Students wishing to enter the Ph.D. program in biochemistry will be required to meet the basic minimum standards for admission to the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School, and to receive the approval of the UMB-UMBC graduate committee. Such approval normally will be based upon undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination scores and, wherever possible, personal interviews. Previous success in graduate education will be taken into consideration. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not to the graduate program. Each entering student will be expected to satisfy minimum requirements in the fields of organic chemistry and either physical chemistry or introductory biology. If the undergraduate record of the student does not demonstrate to the satisfaction of the UMB-UMBC graduate committee that all these requirements have been met, the student will be given a choice of taking a placement examination in the deficient area(s) or taking the appropriate course(s) from among the following (or their equivalent): CHEM 351, 352, Organic Chemistry [3,3]; CHEM 301, 302, Physical Chemistry [4,3]; BIOL 100, Concepts of Biology [4]; BIOL 303, Cell Biology [3]. Students with deficiencies in all these areas will not ordinarily be considered for admission.

Facilities and Special Resources

UMBC students are offered hands-on access to an extensive array of tools for modern chemical and biochemical research. The department's specialized research instrumentation includes calorimetry, chromatography, stopped-flow and temperature-jump kinetics, transient laser spectroscopy (including nanosecond laser flash photolysis, pico-second and femto-second pump-probe, and pico-second fluorescence systems), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (including one 200-, one 400-, one cryoprobe-equipped 500-, two 600- and one 800-MHz instruments), X-band CW electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometry, circular dichroism, X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, atomic absorption- and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry apparatus, as well as extensive molecular modeling and computational chemistry facilities.

In addition to TOF/FT, a laser desorbtion mass spectrometer, and both 500- and 600- MHz NMRs, the department houses one of the few 12 T FTICR mass spectrometers located in academic institutions worldwide. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute suite houses a second 600- and an 800-MHz NMR instrument, both of which are used for high-dimensional studies of HIV proteins, metallobiomolecules and macromolecular interactions. Access to principal journals is available in the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (School of Medicine, UMB) is an extensive research facility located in the Biomedical Research Facility. Equipment within the department includes analytical and preparative ultra-centrifuges; spectro-polarimetry facilities; automated amino acid analyzers; protein-sequencing and peptide-synthesizing equipment; photon-counting spectrofuorometry instrumentation; milli- and nanosecond spectrofuorometer; phase-modulation lifetime fuorometer; fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM); rapid-quench and stopped-flow kinetic instrumentation; multiple high-performance liquid chromatography facilities; full facilities for analytical electron and confocal microscopy; controlled environment rooms and extensive radioactive counting and imaging, cell culture and other centralized facilities. The Center for Fluorescence Spectroscopy is located nearby on the UMB campus, while the NMR Facility including its 950 MHz instrument is located in the Health Sciences Facility. The students also have access to the Molecular Graphics Facility located in the Biomedical Research Facility.

Outplacement Success
Graduates of the program continue their training with post-doctoral appointments or obtain employment at such competitive and prestigious institutions or corporations as Scripps Institute (CA), Howard Hughes Medical Institutes, NIH, Cornell University and E.I. Lilly, as well as at many local and national biotechnology firms.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available on a competitive basis to students accepted into the program. Qualified first-year students usually are offered teaching or research assistantships on a competitive basis. Research assistantships are often available for students actively engaged in thesis research. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for nationally awarded graduate fellowships, such as those offered by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Course Listing

See Chemistry (CHEM)  program and Biological Sciences (BIOL)  program for additional courses.



    UMB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine (MBIC)

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