Mark O'Brian.

“Collaborate. Contribute. Prepare. In our department, you will work alongside accomplished faculty dedicated to helping you master cutting-edge research techniques and develop new science,” says Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, professor and chair of biochemistry.

Our Programs

Our curriculum based on the belief that we expect our graduates to be the sum of our collective expertise and to emerge better trained than any one of us.

  • PhD Program
    As a PhD candidate, you will research in our highly collaborative environment, present your findings on multiple occasions and acquire the skills of a well-rounded, independent research scientist.
  • Master’s Degree Program
    Our course-and-research-based program include laboratory rotations to provide you opportunities to collaborate and hands-on experience in lab techniques.
  • Undergraduate Program
    Our department emphasizes the structure and function of macromolecules, mechanisms and regulation of gene expression, and metabolic processes as they relate to basic and biomedical sciences.

Collaboration and Research Opportunities

Our intradepartmental and multidisciplinary focus groups collaborate with other scientists with shared interests in specific experimental problems.

We encourage you to be active members of our focus groups. Your involvement will provide you with regular contact with faculty and other students across Buffalo’s larger scientific community.

Our Research and Expertise

Our faculty have diverse expertise and are committed to teaching and mentoring in a collaborative environment that provides you practical training in state-of-the art facilities.

The objective of all our research is to determine how a specific component or process within cells works, and how it is integrated with other cellular components.

Department News

Our Faculty and Research In The News

  • Brain Fluid from Youngsters Gives Old Mice a Memory Boost
    The Scientist consulted Gabriela Popescu, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about research published this week in Nature. The research suggests injecting cerebrospinal fluid from younger mice into older mice can rejuvenate the memory of the recipients under specific conditions. Popescu said the paper’s observations are interesting and “a good fact to know,” but she has reservations. “I think it’s wrong to sell science this way,” said Popescu, referring to studies that imply there’s a straightforward way to reverse aging, memory loss or other common sources of health-related anxiety.
  • From virology to molecular defects in Friedreich’s ataxia [ASBMB Today]
    An article in American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology reports on the work of Frances Smith, a student in the doctoral program in biochemistry at UB, who “wants to use her research to improve the quality of life of patients in the early stages of Friedreich’s ataxia,” according to the article. “Quality of life is extremely important in patients, as the most prioritized clinical benefit to therapeutics in FA are walking and balance,” Smith said. “I hope that my research of the brain environment around the neurons responsible for these functions can benefit the FA population.”
  • Another Voice: Racism cannot withstand the scrutiny of biology and genetics [The Buffalo News]
    An article in The Buffalo News about how racism and biology written Mark R. O'Brian, PhD, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School. O'Brian writes, "Presumably, race construed as having biological meaning raises fears that it can explain racial disparities in society and therefore justify racism. Although these fears are understandable, it is the misrepresentation of human biology and genetics that have been used to promote race-based social hierarchies, eugenics and genocide."

Recent Faculty Publications

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Recent Research Funding

  • Novel Combination Therapies to Combat Hypermutable Carbapenem-Resistant P. aeruginosa. Mark Sutton (Co-Principal Investigator). NIH, NIAID. $3,850,992. 5/1/2022-4/1/2027.
  • Expanding the Biological Roles of N-terminal methylation. Christine Schaner Tooley (Principal Investigator). NIGMS. $1,978,690. 1/1/2022-12/1/2026.
  • CRSC: ThermoFisher-GBC project. Norma Nowak (Principal Investigator). ThermoFisher Scientific. 1/1/2018-12/1/2026.