Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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PhD Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology doctorate degree program at IU School of Medicine typically takes five years to complete. The program includes two years of course work and three years of conducting original research full-time, culminating in a PhD thesis. This program prepares graduates for careers in academic research and teaching or in the business and industry side of bioscience.

Students enroll in the Indiana University School of Medicine Biomedical Gateway (IBMG) Program and share a common first-year curriculum with other PhD students. At the end of the first year, students select a mentor and elective courses related to their chosen course of scientific study. Step-by-step application instructions are available on the Indiana Biomedical Gateway Program application page.

Program Requirements

  • A minimum of 90 credit hours consisting of required and elective courses
  • A scholarly thesis based on approved original research with oversight from a faculty mentor. Potential research topics include structural biology, signal transduction, drug development, regulation of gene expression, cancer biology and metabolic disorders.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA and a B- or better in all PhD coursework

Biochemistry PhD students must take at least two (of the available six) two-credit Biochemistry core courses [link to PAGE] (G805, G807, G817, G848, G852, G825), which are offered among spring electives for the Indiana Biomedical Gateway Program (IBGP) or in the fall. These may be taken in year one or later years.

Fall

G715 Biomed I – Biomedical Science I – Biochemical Basis of Biological Processes*: 3 credits

G716 Biomed II – Biomedical Science II – Molecular Biology and Genetics*: 3 credits

G717 Biomed III – Biomedical Science III – Cellular Basis of Systems Biology*: 3 credits

G718 Research in Biomedical Science (first rotation): 2 credits

Biochemistry Core Electives

  • G805 Diabetes and Obesity: 2 credits
  • G825 Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology: 2 credits

Spring

G655 Research Communication Seminar: 1 credit

G718 Research in Biomedical Science Rotations 2 and 3: 4 credits

Indiana Biomedical Gateway Program open enrollment electives: 6 credits

Biochemistry Core Electives

  • G817 Molecular basis of cell structure and function: 2 credits
  • G852 Concepts of cancer biology: 2 credits
  • G807 Structural and chemical biology: 2 credits
  • G848 Bioinformatics applications to proteomics and genomics: 2 credits

Biochemistry Course Descriptions

Fall

IBMG open-enrollment electives:

G505 Responsible conduct of Research: 1 credit

G855 Experimental Design and Research Biostatistics: 1 credit

Spring

B803 Advanced Biochemistry: 1 credit

Seminar B890: 8 credits

The PhD candidate pursues research in his/ her field of focus for thesis. The program emphasizes the candidate’s ability to pursue research with relative independence and responsibility.

MD/PhD students are not required to take G715-717 but are expected to perform lab rotations (G718) during summer breaks from medical school classes. MD/PhD students must also take B848 and at least one more of the two-credit Biochemistry core courses (G805, 807, 817, 852, 825) along with other courses required of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology PhD students (G505, G655, G855, B803 and B890) plus two credits from other department offerings.

In the spring of Year Two, PhD students prepare and defend a proposal for a topic of original research. Students are questioned on topics outside of their thesis work during their thesis proposal oral defense in B803. Passing of this defense with a grade of B/3.0 or better is required for advancement to doctoral candidacy.

After a laboratory for thesis research is chosen, an advisory committee consisting of at least three faculty from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and one external faculty member is formed with the approval of the thesis advisor and departmental chairperson. Upon advancement to candidacy, a thesis research committee is similarly formed but may consist of different faculty.

Students are enrolled for credit in B890 in years two through five and present a seminar each year as well as attend all student and faculty seminars. Student seminars are generally a Journal Club format, where current, published work in the field of biochemistry is presented. Students who have advanced to candidacy may present their own lab work upon approval of course director and thesis advisor.

PhD students with eligibility to work in the U.S. receive a competitive annual stipend without a Teaching Assistant requirement ($27,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year) as well as tuition scholarships and health and dental insurance. Find additional financial aid information from the IUPUI Office of Student Financial Services.