Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Contact: Patricia M Kane, PhD, Chair
Location: 4257 Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: 315 464-5127
Website: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program

This program awards:

  • PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • MS in Biochemistry

Faculty researchers in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seek to understand the molecular and cellular bases of human health and disease. We apply a broad range of tools ranging from those of structural biology and biophysics to cell biology and development.  Faculty with expertise in X-ray crystallography, single-molecule electron microscopy, and spectroscopy investigate protein structure, folding, and interactions at the atomic level.

Other faculty members employ modern genetics and genomic technologies to integrate the above information with in vivo studies to generate a broader understanding of cellular pathways and systems biology. This comprehensive strategy is reflected by the diverse approaches that our researchers take, from high-resolution structural and single-molecule studies to the use of animals and single-celled organisms to model disease processes and development.

Areas of focus in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology include membrane and transport protein structure and function, DNA replication and transcription, cellular responses to stress, and visual signal transduction.  These studies impact disorders from cancer to neurodegenerative diseases to pathogenic infections.

Our department boasts a robust and long-standing record of extramural funding, particularly from the National Institutes of Health.


What's the
SUNY Upstate Difference?


Heba Diab and Sheena Claire Li, PhD students in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, use the yeast model system to study basic cell functions. Yeast enzymes are similar to human enzymes, which makes yeast a popular tool among researchers.

SUNY Upstate's Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students have a time-consuming advantage—the Virtek pinning robot that transfers individual yeast mutants from one plate to another to test their responses. "It's a nice way to get a lot of data quickly, so you can spend time addressing the major question behind the experiment," said Deb, who studies oxidative stress in cells.

Biochemistry students are at the front end of translational research, conducting the basic science that can lead to treatments for diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer, said Department Chair Patricia Kane, PhD