Nature of the discipline
The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology integrates the molecular life sciences from the most basic biology-chemistry interface to molecular genetics and bioinformatics. The disciplines of the molecular biosciences involve the use of sophisticated analytical, biochemical, and genetic technologies to examine the activities of living systems, focusing on the structures and roles of macromolecules in complex biological systems.
Faculty members in biochemistry function as research project managers and principal investigators of their own individual programs whose success require them to be innovative and interactive with other scientists. The faculty member designs the individual research programs, and there is little to no administrative direction applied to their choices of research activities.
Each faculty member is expected to direct an active research program or be involved in other scholastic activities involving the training of doctoral and masters-level graduate students as well as undergraduate students studying in biochemistry and molecular biology. In addition, each tenure-tract faculty member provide effective formal classroom teaching, provides service to the department's research and academic functions and maintains research/teaching funding to sustain their laboratory programs.
The department has multiple missions that involve balancing teaching in biochemistry and molecular biology with the needs of high-achieving undergraduate majors in biochemistry, a growing Ph.D. program in biochemistry, and of highly competitive research programs. The department has administrative responsibility for the support and resource management for the interdepartmental graduate faculty of Biotechnology and Cell & Molecular Biology.
Biochemistry has taken the forefront in defining broadly based opportunities in biotechnology processes and applications that indicate the path for the biologically based future of the twenty-first century. This future will influence all phases of our lives from the quality of food and fiber to the preservation of natural resources and the medical biosciences. The molecular tools, which are being developed today, will lead to technologies to manage infectious diseases, cure metabolic and cellular dysfunction, and define the physical quality of life.
This department must provide a broad set of technical and conceptual capabilities that result in a cutting-edge perspective to discern the molecular events that underlie normal and aberrant life science functions in medicine, nutrition, agriculture and environmental adaptation. In addition, the department must be involved in the promoting life-long education and technology transfer necessary to disperse this information.