Kristen Clements, a graduate assistant in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University, is seen in a departmental lab. She is pictured using equipment to move liquid into a test tube. Her hands are gloved.

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine

The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology strives to marry the increasingly powerful tools of genomics and computational biology with the classic approaches of biochemistry and molecular biology to reveal fundamental processes of biology and to convert those discoveries into treatments that improve the well-being of patients.

As chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, I continue to build on the existing strengths of the current faculty, who have made significant contributions in recent years in epigenetics and chromatin structure, DNA metabolism and carcinogenesis, carbohydrate chemistry, structural biology and cell-cell communication and signaling.

Since I arrived four years ago, we have added a new genomics and systems biology program to our department and expanded the Genomics Core in the institution to allow high-density sequencing and enhance the capacity for genome-wide transcription analysis.

James Broach, PhD, is Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine. He is pictured in a tan suit jacket, maroon shirt and dark tie against a blue background.
James Broach, PhD, Chair, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

We have also expanded our imaging core to provide unparalleled dynamic analysis of individual cells. We have recruited new faculty who have enhanced our expertise in genomics and systems level analysis of biological problems, particularly as related to human disease. We plan to continue to expand the department by hiring additional faculty with interests in the new areas of biochemistry and molecular biology afforded by the rapid expansion of technical capabilities and the new discoveries in basic biology.

This is an exciting time to be involved in biomedical research. The explosive growth in performance of instruments of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic analysis, coupled with increased sophistication in computational methods, has provided molecular biologists with an unprecedented ability to identify genetic and environmental factors that influence susceptibility to diseases and to predict the likely outcome of various treatment options. Accordingly, we have never been better positioned to convert the basic science that emerges from our labs into treatments that can affect the well-being of patients. As part of Penn State College of Medicine, the faculty in our department are well positioned to understand the needs of the clinicians and to transfer successes in our research laboratories back to the clinic. We are fortunate in having close association with clinicians in the College of Medicine and with clinical programs, such as the Center for Pharmacogenetics, the Penn State Cancer Institute, the Penn State Health Heart and Vascular Institute, the Penn State Neuroscience Institute, the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Penn State Institute for Personalized Medicine. We will continue to work closely with our clinical colleagues to push the frontiers of medical science both to acquire fundamental understanding of biological processes and to develop new tools for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

James Broach, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department Chair
Penn State College of Medicine

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More about Biochemistry & Molecular Biology @ Penn State

The faculty, staff, postdocs and students of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine are pictured as a group in a College hallway in 2015.
Faculty, staff, postdocs and students of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2015

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