Biochemistry, Structural, and Molecular Cell Biology

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Biochemistry, Structural, and Molecular Cell Biology (BSMB) offer a broad continuum of approaches to understand the fundamental basis for how protein and RNA molecules function and how their activities are regulated. The resulting insights help illuminate mechanisms that underlie the myriad molecular pathways and networks that sustain fundamental cellular and organismal processes. As such, research in this area at Caltech overlaps with work in Bioengineering, Developmental Biology and Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, and Systems Biology.  Nearly two dozen Caltech laboratories have major programs in BSMB, including laboratories in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering and the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The breadth and depth in BSMB at Caltech ensure cutting-edge, multidisciplinary training for students who are interested in this area.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

(Aravin, Bjorkman, Campbell, Deshaies, Dunphy, Kennedy, Shan, Varshavsky)

Laboratories in this research area are broadly interested in molecular mechanisms underlying DNA replication, DNA repair, gene expression, regulation of cell division, protein trafficking, protein degradation, cell-cell interaction, and synapse formation. The approaches used include structural, biochemical, and single-molecule approaches to understand the function and regulation of individual protein and RNA molecules, molecular pathways and circuits.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

(Aravin, Baltimore, Campbell, Chan, Deshaies, Dunphy, Elowitz, Fejes Toth, Goentoro, Guttman, Jensen, Kennedy, Lois, Newman, Shan, Varshavsky)

Molecular and Cellular Biology laboratories are investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms of fundamental cellular and organismal processes including the replication, expression, and repair of the genome, transduction of signals from the cell surface to the nucleus in response to diffusible signals or cell-cell interaction, protein trafficking and organellar biogenesis, and protein homeostasis. These laboratories use biochemistry, genetics, structural biology, genomics, high-resolution microscopy, proteomics, and computational approaches, among others, to gain insights into a broad range of fundamental questions.

Structural Biology

(Bjorkman, Clemons, HoelzJensen, Mayo, Rees, Shan)

Laboratories with a major emphasis in this area are interested in the structural basis of fundamental biological processes. The approaches used are broad and include X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, high-resolution optical methods, and computational analysis.