PhD in Biological and Chemical Sciences (BCS)
The PhD program in Biological and Chemical Sciences is research-based and works on an apprenticeship model, where students work closely with a faculty supervisor. Student research falls within one or more of three areas of identified research strength: environment and health, biotic interactions, structure and reactivity. The research component of the program is complemented by coursework, which is designed to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to biological and chemical research.
The program prepares students for 21st century careers in research and teaching, or other career opportunities in industry or government.
Environment and Health
The environment and health area encompasses research directed at issues affecting the environment that may ultimately impact global health on a broader scale. Fundamental and applied research from various perspectives in both biology and chemistry are required to address the increasing concerns surrounding environmental and human health. Research in this area may focus more specifically on the environment itself, related health issues, or aspects of their complex relationship.
Research in this area focuses on the biotic interactions that occur at all levels of biological organization and how such interactions influence biochemical and cellular processes, and the fitness and survival of individuals, populations, and entire ecosystems. Research in this area may focus on theoretical and/or experimental skills needed for asking basic and applied questions in areas ranging from biophysics, chemical biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and microbiology, to physiology, toxicology, and ecology and evolution.
Structure and Reactivity
Chemical and biological reactivity of molecules and supramolecular assemblies is tightly interrelated to their structure. Many areas in chemical and biological sciences, ranging from organic and organometallic chemistry to polymer and materials science, biochemistry and structural biology can be interconnected by studying the structure and function of molecules. The objective of research in this area is to understand how the structures of chemical and biological molecules influence function. Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical and/or experimental methods used for structure determination and explore the ways in which structure influences chemical and biochemical reactivity and/or biological processes.