BMB Research

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General areas of research represented within the option include signal transduction, cell cycle, DNA and RNA structure and metabolism, control of gene transcription during development, electron transport proteins and bioenergetics, biological catalysis, macromolecular structure, membrane proteins, and biotechnology and biomolecular engineering.

More specific examples of biological phenomena currently under study include the transduction of signals received by cell surface receptors into an appropriate response, as in chemotaxis or transmission of signals across synapses in the nervous system; the replication of DNA; the biochemical networks that control initiation and termination of cell division; the controlled transcription of DNA sequences in the genome into RNA and the processing of this RNA into mRNA and the subsequent translation into protein; the molecular mechanisms controlling the differentiation of precursor cells into specialized cells such as neurons, lymphocytes and muscle cells; the mechanisms by which synaptic transmission in the brain is regulated during thinking and the formation of memories; the processes, driven by fundamental principles of chemical bonding and molecular energetics, by which a given linear sequence of amino acids folds into a specific three dimensional structure in the appropriate cellular environment; how electrons move within a cell to accomplish the many redox reactions necessary for life; how light is harvested by photopigments and is perceived in vision; the function of integral membrane proteins in energy and signal transduction processes; and the mechanisms by which enzymes both efficiently and specifically catalyze biochemical interconversions.

This fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of biological processes provides a powerful base for the development of applications in medicine, including biotechnology and rational drug design, and in the chemical industry, where nucleic acids, proteins, and their analogs are now being used in development of chemical systems for novel applications, and where mutagenesis and selection systems are used to produce novel materials.

Learn more about faculty research areas on the BMB Faculty and Research page.