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The Graduate Program at a Glance

The Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry offers the Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology through the Graduate School of Wake Forest University, and is recruiting highly motivated and enthusiastic students interested in training for a successful career in biomedical sciences. Students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology apply to the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Track, a recently designed integrated curriculum that was inaugurated in the 2011-2012 academic year.  Students in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program benefit from a low student to faculty ratio and a collegial atmosphere that promotes faculty-student interactions and a strong training environment.

Biotech Atrium

Atrium at Wake Forest Biotech Place, location of many of the laboratories in the Department of Biochemistry and courses taught in the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Track.

The Master of Science in Biomedical Science Program

The faculty of the Department of Biochemistry welcomes students in the Master of Science in Biomedical Science Program. The Master of Science degree is a full-time, graduate degree option that is designed to help students with a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major in the sciences, improve their academic foundation in the biomedical sciences, and augment their credentials for admission into health professional programs, Ph.D. study in the sciences, or entrance to the workforce. Students in the Master of Science Program have the option to transition to the Ph.D. program. A detailed description of the Master of Science Program can be found at the Master of Science in Biomedical Science Program web site.

Fields of Research

The research interests of the faculty are focused in four inter-related areas that address fundamentally important biological questions:

  • Signal transduction in cancer and inflammation
  • Nucleic acid metabolism in cancer and inflammation
  • Redox biology
  • Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis

The Department features research and training in four key technologies that form the core of modern Biochemistry:

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Proteomics/Metabolomics

Details of our research programs can be found in the Laboratory Page of individual faculty members

Collaborative Training and Research

Department of Biochemistry faculty members participate in multiple interdisciplinary efforts in graduate student training. For example, the following NIH Institutional Training Grants (T32 grants) have Biochemistry faculty members as part of their training faculty:

In addition to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program, Department of Biochemistry faculty members also participate in additional graduate programs, whose students may be working beside you in the laboratory:

Research in the Department of Biochemistry is highly collaborative. Faculty members and students participate in the activities of a variety of research centers whose missions include promoting research collaborations. These include:

Graduate Recruiting

Students apply to the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) Track.  The MCB Admissions Committee evaluates applications based on undergraduate research experience, grade point average, the verbal and quantitative scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in the case of applicants for whom English is not the native language, letters of reference, and a statement of personal interests. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview during the process of consideration. Major criteria for evaluation of the interview are the degree of motivation for a career in science and the quality and extent of the applicant’s undergraduate scientific training.

Degree Requirements

Students participate in the MCB common curriculum in the first year. This curriculum includes two Core Courses that cover macromolecular synthesis, structure and function; gene expression and genetics; cell structure and communication; organ systems integration, and physiology and pathology. In addition, students take a course in analytical skills and at least three electives. Students also participate in at least three individual laboratory research rotations in their first year in order to choose a faculty research advisor. Students choosing to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology enter the program at the beginning of the second year. The Ph.D. preliminary examination is completed at the end of the second year, after the student has passed all required courses. In subsequent years students primarily continue with laboratory research under the direction of their research advisor. Completion of the Ph.D. degree requires the student to generate a body of original research and an oral defense of a written research dissertation. A detailed description of the degree requirements can be found at Guidelines for Graduate Students.

Research Facilities

The Department of Biochemistry has state-of-the-art facilities for use by students and postdoctoral fellows. Students are encouraged to develop a hands-on understanding of the instrumentation used in their research. Laboratories for macromolecular X-ray crystallography and high-resolution NMR spectrometry as well as, rapid reaction kinetics, time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, phosphorimaging, dynamic light scattering, cellular imaging, and analytical ultracentrifugation have been established to meet the needs of investigators. The professionally staffed Biomolecular Resource Core Facilities are also available for protein and DNA sequence analysis, peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis, GC- and tandem mass spectrometry.

Financial Aid

All Ph.D. students in the Department of Biochemistry are fully supported financially by tuition scholarships and graduate research assistantships. Additional scholar achievement awards are offered to select outstanding applicants. Students who have advanced to candidacy are also eligible to compete for the department’s prestigious Artom and Cowgill Fellowships, which provide additional stipend and support for travel to scientific conferences.  Upper level students are invited to compete for the Cheung award, awarded by the Department to an outstanding student in Biochemistry each year. 

Medical Center
Aerial view of the Medical Center and downtown Winston-Salem


Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem

Wake Forest University has earned a reputation of distinction among institutions of higher learning and supports a community of widely acclaimed scholars in many disciplines. The University is ranked among the 50 most competitive American colleges and universities. The Bowman Gray Campus, home of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, the Reynolda Campus, and the Wake Forrest Innovation Quarter are located within a short driving distance of one another. The medical center ranks among the top 40 institutions nationally in federal research funding. Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem, a city of about 236,000 in the northern Piedmont region of North Carolina noted for its exceptional programs in the fine arts and for Old Salem, a restored village on the site of the original 18th century Moravian settlement.

Correspondence and Information

Please send e-mail to if you are interested in obtaining more information about the Biochemistry Graduate program, or write to the address below.

Department of Biochemistry
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1016
Telephone: 336-716-4689
Fax: 336-716-7671
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Last Updated: 08-09-2016
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