The BMB doctoral program is designed to provide a comprehensive knowledge base along with the research and training experience necessary for the development of independent investigators in various areas of biochemistry and molecular biology. There are approximately 45 students in the BMB doctoral program, with 4-8 students graduating each year with a PhD degree. BMB provides training for both research-based and education-oriented careers, with the average time to the degree of being five and a half years. BMB's primary goal is training future scientists and educators to apply critical reasoning skills to solve problems in modern experimental biology and the classroom.
In the BMB doctoral program, students will learn how to perform novel and fundamental research in biochemistry and molecular biology in a laboratory under the mentorship of an advisor, which is a major requirement of this PhD doctoral program. The student is expected to be trained, during the PhD training, to think critically, communicate effectively and independently perform research. This training is crucial for the success of students in their future professional workplaces, including academia and industry. Graduates from our doctoral program are highly successful in acquiring post-doctoral employment, with several excelling in jobs in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Some go directly into faculty positions at area colleges, but most do post-doctoral work at highly-regarded institutions around the country.
Major research areas in the BMB doctoral program includes: Molecular biology of cancers, cellular signaling, endocytosis and trafficking, cellular communications/gap- and tight-junctions, tumor glycobiology, microbial metabolomics, biomarkers for detection and prognosis of cancer, cancer therapies, cancer stem cells, tumor microenvironment and cancer metastasis.
Molecular Biology of Cancers: This research focused to investigate the tumor-associated genes; cancer diagnostics, cancer vaccines; monoclonal antibodies, genetic engineering of antibodies.
- Different cancers including pancreas, prostate, breast, lung, liver, colon, pediatric and hematological malignancies.
- Molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis
- Altered glycans as biomarkers and therapeutic targets of aggressive cancers
- Regulation of gene expression in leukemia and normal hematopoiesis
- Development of diagnostics and therapeutics against cancer and allied diseases
- Combinatorial (Genomic, Proteomic, Exosomal, and Metabolic) diagnostic and prognostic marker(s) for cancer and associated pathologies
- Epigenomics – Influence of DNA methylation and histone modification on gene expression and the association with cancer development.
- Role of tumor microenvironment (TME) in the progression of pancreatic cancer
- MicroRNA expression and function different cancers
- Mechanism of golgi alteration in advanced prostate cancer: focus on aberrant glycosylation
- Functional implication of cancer stem cells (CSC) in progression of pancreatic and ovarian cancers
- Role of oxidative tumor microenvironment in regulating the reciprocal tumor-stroma interactions
- Molecular mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer; and renal pathobiology
- Metabolomics alterations in cancer progression and metastasis
Cellular Signaling, Endocytosis and Trafficking: This research is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms, and pathways that control the movement of receptors, proteins and lipids from point to point within the cell.
- Membrane trafficking
- Vesicular transport
- Receptor localization and its functions
- Oncogenic signaling alteration in different cancers
- Role of free radical signaling in prostate cancer
Cellular Communications/Gap- and Tight-Junctions: This topic of research is focused on analyzing the role and mechanism of tight junctions in different cancers.
- The role of Tight-Junctions in colorectal cancer progression and metastasis
- Role of Connexins in prostate cancer
- Multi-disciplinary approach to identify the key intrinsic regulatory mechanisms that are responsible for Cx43 and Cx45 function
Microbial Metabolomics: This research is focused on understanding the functional implications of microbiomes.
- Determination of the organization of biofilm microbial communities
- Role of microbiome in cancer progression
- Microbiota and intestinal diseases