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biochemistry and biophysics
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The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics can be traced back to the founding of the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Medicine in 1765, the oldest in the United States. The Department’s endowed chairs include John Morgan (co-founder of the college) and the illustrious Founding Father, Benjamin Rush – who were both members of the first collegiate faculty in chemistry, anatomy, surgery and medicine pursuing and teaching on "the theory and practice of physick". 

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Today the Department’s pursuits still provide instruction to medical students and are integrated within a single medical school and hospital complex with its unusually collegiate medical fraternity. Faculty research aims to contribute first-principles chemical and physical understanding of biology at levels that can be translated to practical benefits in medicine and clinic. The Eldridge Reeves Johnson Research Foundation within the Department offers advanced physical instrumentation and techniques – plus instruction – for faculty, students, and postdocs. We are well known for bringing innovative approaches, theory and practice, quantum to cellular, to the challenge of understanding molecular mechanism and functions so that they can be brought under control to promote human health and wellbeing.

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The Department is also home to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB) Graduate Group, which expresses the extraordinary collegial nature of this Department, Medical School, and University. This Graduate Group within Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) at Penn opens the door to graduate research choices in biochemistry and biophysics for rotations and completion of research dissertations beyond the department. Members of the Graduate Group are drawn from Departments throughout the Medical School and Hospital, the adjoining Children’s Hospital, as well as the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Answer to Trivia Question

Bodily fluids


The Ebola virus lives in:

  1. air
  2. bodily fluids
  3. water
  4. all of the above


JOSH WAND has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society
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A Man of Many P(arts)Penn News article on the varied career and interests of LES DUTTON
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BEN GARCIA has received a Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
gray lineJIM SHORTER and colleagues published a paper in Molecular Cell on the importance of the N-terminal domain of Hsp104 in dissolving prions and misfolded conformers that cause disease.
Read the Penn News Release.
gray lineJIM SHORTER received a grant from the ALS Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association for research aimed at finding potential therapies for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Read more

2015 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania