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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

Walking upright


What is the reason for the evolutionary shift in the size of the female pelvis?


A paper from the BLACK LAB, CENP-C reshapes and stablizes CENP-A nucleosomes at the centromere, has been published in the May 8, 2015 issue of Science. Penn News Release

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mark your calendar
The Departmental/BMB Graduate Group Retreat is November 12-13, 2015 at Skytop Lodge in the Poconos.

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Two new faculty members have recently joined the Department:
KENJI MURAKAMI was appointed Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and STEVE HARVEY (Georgia Tech) is in residence as Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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BOHDANA DISCHER was promoted to Research Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, effective July 1, 2015
CECILIA TOMMOS was promoted to Research Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, effective July 1, 2015
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KRISTEN LYNCH and her lab were recently highlighted in Penn News Today. The Lynch lab’s paper focusing on how splicing is controlled and regulated in T cells was recently published in PNAS.

2015 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania