UAB Graduate Catalog

Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Degree Offered  Ph.D.
Director: Dr. Tim Townes
Phone: (205) 934-5294
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web site:


Anupam Agarwal, Professor (Medicine); Regulation of heme oxygenase gene expression in kidney and vascular injury

Stephen Aller, Assistant Professor (Pharmacology/Toxicology)

Christie Brouillette, Research Professor (Chemistry)

Ching-Yi Chen, Associate Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics)

Igor Chesnokov, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); DNA Replication, Cell Division, Cell Cycle Regulation

Louise T. Chow, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Human Papillomavirus, Genetics, Keratinocytes, DNA Replication, Electron Microscopy

Chiqito J. Crasto, Assistant Professor (Genetics)

Lawrence J. DeLucas, Professor (Optometry); Protein Crystal Growth

Gabriel A. Elgavish, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Paramagnetic Probes for NMR Investigation of Membrane Transport

N. Patrick Higgins, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); DNA Topology, Genetic Transposition, DNA Enzymology

Natalia Kedishvili, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Regulation of intracellular levels of bioactive retinoids and steroids in human tissues in health and disease

N. Rama Krishna, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); NMR of Biomolecules, Molecular Endocrinology of Peptide Hormones

Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Associate Professor (Microbiology); Microbial Genomics, Viral Evolution, Bioinformatics, and Biodefense

Nita A. Limdi, Assistant Professor (Neurology)

Clinton D. Lothrop, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics)

Diana Noah, Volunteer (Medicine)

James W. Noah, (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics)

Thomas Norton, Professor (Vision Sciences)

Kirill Popov, Associate Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Multienzyme complexes, Protein kinases, Protein phosphatases, Metabolic control

Matthew B. Renfrow, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics)

Gavin Rumbaugh, Assistant Professor (Neurobiology)

Thomas M. Ryan, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Gene Regulation, Stem Cells, Mouse Models, Mutagenesis, Cell therapies

David A. Schneider, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics)

Bingdong (Ben) Sha, Associate Professor (Cell Biology); Structure and Function of Molecular Chaperones

Jeffrey B. Smith, Professor (Pharmacology and Toxicology); Ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) in apoptosis; Escape apoptosis by cancer cells; down-regulation of protein kinaseC by UPS; Orphan receptor triggered by the carcinogenic metal cadmium

Tim M. Townes, Professor and Chair (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Regulation of Gene Expression During Development

Janusz Tucholski, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology)

Charles L. Turnbough Jr., Professor (Microbiology); Bacterial Gene Regulation and Structure/Function of the Bacillus anthracis Exosporium

Tino Unlap, Associate Professor (Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences); Biotechnology; Recombinant DNA, Protein Chemistry

Dmitry Vassylyev, Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Crystal structure determination including data collection; modification and improvement of the most widely used crystallographic programs (CCP4, CMS, etc.); and development of original crystallographic software; crystallization of proteins, and protein/protein and protein/nucleic acids complexes

Mark R. Walter, Associate Professor (Pharmacology); X-ray Crystallography; Molecular Recognition; Signal Transduction; Cytokine Structure and Function

Hengbin Wang, Assistant Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics); Histone modification, in particular, methylation, affects the chromatin-based processes such as transcription 

Theme Information


Biochemistry & Structural Biology is looking for students who have a strong desire to understand life at the molecular level. Our goal is to teach the skills, implant the inspiration, encourage imagination, and nurture the dedication essential for our graduates to become world-class researchers.

Our faculty and students are dedicated to excellence in both coursework and research programs, and we are honored that our team’s accomplishments and discoveries have been chronicled in (Nature, Structure, other names here) and other noted journals and publications of record.  New students join a select family of faculty and students who work and study together within the Biochemistry and Structural Biology Theme at UAB. We teach you how to think- what questions to ask and where to search for answers. We give you the skills and background necessary to launch a successful scientific career as an independent researcher.

Whether you choose to pursue advanced studies in molecular genetics, stem cell biology, or many of the diverse areas of research within the Biochemistry and Structural Biology theme, you will find the work interesting, challenging and rewarding. It piques the curiosity, sparks the imagination, enlists your resourcefulness and brings a sense of fulfillment that comes from exciting research and exhilarating discover.

Admission Requirements

The BSB theme encourages applications from students interested in receiving a degree in biomedical sciences. Individuals committed to obtaining a graduate education in biomedical sciences. Applications are strongly encouraged from individuals with previous work experience, a master's degree in related area, or a professional degree such as the M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M. or O.D. 

Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Biomedical Sciences Admissions Committee. Acceptance will be based on undergraduate performance (both the curriculum and grade point average), letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a personal statement of research interests, performance in other graduate programs or research activities and, if possible, a personal interview.

Acceptance into the BSB theme requires a bachelor's degree including undergraduate coursework in calculus, general and organic chemistry, and at least one introductory course in zoology or biology by the time of entrance. 

The general requirements for acceptance into the program are – 

• Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

• Combined verbal/quantitative score on the GRE of 1100

• A strong background in biology, chemistry, and/or mathematics. Undergraduate level courses in cell biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, and genetics are strongly encouraged.  Undergraduate mathematics through calculus and physics are also recommended. 

International students must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) earned within the last two years.  Applicants with scores of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) or higher will be considered.

Overview of the BSB Program



Laboratory Rotations

Three laboratory rotations - 3 months each

Course Work

August 15 - October 31, 2010

10 week GBS Core Course

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. every weekday

November - December 2010

6 week BSB Laboratory Methods Course

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. every weekday

(3 wks) Cloning and Expression of Recombinant Proteins, Protein Purification, Mass Spectrometry, NMR Spectroscopy, Crystallography.

(3 wks)  Recombineering to produce knockout and knockin vectors, gene targeting in murine ES cells, microinjection of ES cells into blastocysts, genotyping of knockin/knockout mice, reprogramming of skin fibroblasts into induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS).

January - May 2011

Five BSB courses - 1 month each

            January -   Molecular Enzymology

            February - Molecular Genetics

            March -     RNA Biology

            April -       Stem Cell Biology

            May -        Structural Biology 


Choose Thesis Committee - Mentor plus four faculty members

Qualifying Exam on Thesis Project - Written proposal and defense to committee

by  May 31 of Year 2


Thesis Research plus 4 Advanced Courses

Additional Information


Deadline for Entry Term(s):

Consult Program Director for information

Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office:

Domestic Applications: April 15

International Applications: Jan 15

Number of Evaluation Forms Required:


Entrance Tests

GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

For detailed information, contact:

Jason P Noah
Program Manager I
Biochemistry & Structural Biology Theme
Shelby 120 E, 1825 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-2182
Tel: 205.934.7810
Fax: 205.996.6749
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.