Biochemistry, Structural, and Stem Cell Biology Theme (BSSB)

Biochemistry, Structural, and Stem Cell Biology (BSSB) is one of eight interdisciplinary PhD themes within Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS).  Students select a theme upon application but have access to faculty and courses from across GBS, allowing for flexibility in both research and academics.

BSSB provides training opportunities in a multitude of contemporary areas of basic and translational research. Our goal is to prepare our students for independent research careers in academic research institutions and industry. Our students have access to a large pool of mentors from across UAB with expertise in varied research areas, specializing in:

  • Understanding the chemistry of life (biochemistry),
  • A mechanistic understanding of life at the molecular level (structural biology), and
  • The study of self-renewal, differentiation, and regeneration of cells (stem cell biology).


BSSB training incorporates hands-on experience in state-of-the-art methodologies to study a wide array of biological and pathobiological processes. Our research programs are challenging and contemporary, and teach both laboratory skills and communication techniques vital to presenting research in oral or published form. 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.  See the BSSB training plans for theme-specific curriculum requirements.

Why should you join the BSSB Theme at UAB?

Our theme directors and mentors are intimately involved in training students to achieve their potential, both in the classroom and in experimental settings. Our faculty are leaders in their respective fields but also have a passion for training the next generation of scientists. Research conducted by our students and faculty provides the groundwork for a fundamental understanding of a diverse array of biological and pathobiological processes — supporting the development of novel treatment options for human diseases and provides novel molecular tools for research and medicine.

Where will this degree take you?

Our primary goal is to train our students for a future career in science, focusing on academic and industry research. We also prepare students for careers such as teaching, science policy, and science writing. Learn where GBS graduates are now.

Welcome 2018 BSSB Incoming Students

Will Dean, Michigan State University
Elex Harris, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Ruthie Jacobs, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Sawanan Saitornuang, Mahidol University
Shia Vang, University of Wisconsin


BSSB Theme Contacts

Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Thomas Ryan
(205) 996.2175
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Theme Co-Director

Theme Co-Director

Dr. Chad Petit
(205) 975.3398
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