Academic Programs

Faculty in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology are responsible for major areas of the education of graduate students in the Jefferson College of Life Sciences and of medical students in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

The department hosts the PhD Program in Biochemistry, Structural and Molecular Biology. The program is directed by Edward Winter, PhD, and the department’s faculty play an active role in it. Department faculty also participate in the following PhD programs: Cell & Developmental BiologyGenetics, Genomics & Cancer BiologyImmunology & Microbial Pathogenesis; and Neuroscience.

The department is the Admistrative home of the T32 Training Program in Cellular, Biochemical & Molecular Sciences. More information can be found on the CBMS T32 Webpage. 

An understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology is an important foundation for students in several natural sciences and health sciences. Accordingly, department faculty direct the following:

  • Biochemistry Thread. Molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, metabolism, and nutrition. This thread spans all 4 years of medical school, but the majority is taught in the first 2 years. Faculty from this department teach about 85% of this thread.  
    Thread co-directors: Peter Ronner, PhD, and Charles Scott, PhD.

Case-Based Learning. Some faculty facilitate self-directed learning of groups of 10 students who examine the week's clinical case (4 h/week).

(Course descriptions can be found in the JCLS Catalog.)

  • Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (GC 550). This is a joint course for all students entering a Jefferson College of Life Sciences graduate program.  Course director: James Jaynes, PhD.
  • Genetic Information Transfer (BI 525). This course is focused on the most up-to-date knowledge of the central dogma of molecular biology and is required for all first-year JCLS PhD students. Course director: Ya-Ming Hou, PhD.
  • Cell Signaling (GC 665). This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of signal transduction mechanisms. Course co-director: Philip Wedegaertner, PhD.
  • Advanced Topics in Metabolism (BI 535). This course introduces advanced topics in metabolism with emphasis on the biochemical basis of metabolic disorders and the link between cancer and metabolism. Course co-director: Gino Cingolani, PhD.
  • Advanced Topics in Genome Regulation, Maintenance and Repair (BI 613). This course explores the role of the genome and of DNA replication & repair in human disease. Course co-directors: Marco Trizzino, PhD.; Richard Pomerantz, PhD.
  • Macromolecular Structure (PR 613). This course deals with the forces that guide the folding of macromolecules, and with modern experimental methods to probe macromolecular structure, function, and reactivity. Course director: Lin Guo, PhD.

Faculty Honors

Department faculty take their teaching obligations seriously; since 2012, they have received the following honors: Jefferson College of Life Sciences Alumni Association Honorary Lifetime Membership Award; Jefferson College of Life Sciences Fredric Rieders Faculty Prize in Graduate Education; Jefferson College of Life Sciences Yun Yen and Sophie Yen Faculty Award for Distinguished Training in Translational Research; Jefferson College of Pharmacy AACP Teacher of the Year Award; Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Career Educator Award; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Dean's Award for Excellence in Education; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Faculty Team Achievement Award; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Freshman Class Faculty Award; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Recipient of Portrait Painting; Sidney Kimmel Medical College Thomas J. Nasca, M.D. Award for Distinguished Teaching and Dedication to Student Medical Education.

Trainee Awards

Since 2011, trainees in department labs have received the following awards: American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Postdoc Travel Award, American Society for Cell Biology Postdoc Travel Award, Jefferson Postdoctoral Research Symposium Presentation Award, Jefferson College of Life Sciences Fredric Rieders Family Renaissance Foundation Graduate Student Recognition Award, Jefferson Sigma Xi Poster Award, Sigma Xi Grants-in-aid of Research, American Society for Cell Biology Graduate Student Travel Award, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Graduate Student Travel Award, NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual Fellowship (F31) Award, NCI Predoctoral to postdoctoral transition award (F99/K00).

Teaching Opportunities

If you are at Jefferson and have an interest in obtaining teaching experience or assuming teaching responsibility, regardless of whether you are a graduate student, post-doc, instructor, research associate, or faculty member, please send an e-mail to There are often opportunities with tutoring and reviewing, and occasionally also with teaching post-baccalaureate students, masters students, graduate students, or medical students. The course director with whom you work will mentor and coach you.