The chemical biology Ph.D. path at UW-Madison provides a highly collaborative environment where students are inspired and challenged to develop into outstanding independent scientists through interdisciplinary research. This environment enables our graduates to emerge as world-class scholars, ready to lead in a variety of career paths.
Many exciting problems lie at interfaces between traditionally defined disciplines, and the interface between chemistry and biology is particularly rich in opportunities. Research groups affiliated with this Path bring together concepts and strategies from chemistry and biology to tackle important questions. Our program has helped to define this vibrant field, and UW-Madison is renowned for its strength at the chemistry-biology interface.
Chemical biology research at UW-Madison is exceptionally broad in scope. Members of our community develop new experimental and spectroscopic techniques to characterize biomolecules and biological phenomena, design, synthesize and evaluate new compounds and materials with novel biological activities, and engineer biomolecules with new functions.
Because chemical biology research is inherently collaborative, many groups conduct joint projects with others in the department or across the large UW-Madison campus or in other locations around the globe. Our teams enjoy working together and take pride in combining disparate ideas and methods to generate unique insights. Indeed, learning how to be an effective collaborator is a key component of training in our chemical biology Ph.D. program.
UW-Madison offers an unparalleled environment for Chemistry graduate students to develop excellence in chemical biology because of the vast community of outstanding biological researchers on our large and picturesque campus. Chemistry students can access the knowledge, seminars and specialized facilities in departments such as bacteriology, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, biomolecular chemistry, chemical and biological engineering, medical microbiology and immunology, and pharmacy. This deep reservoir of expertise, and the inherently open and interactive atmosphere of the Midwest, enable each student to push research in any productive direction that can be envisioned.
Active Chemical Biology Research Areas
- Spectroscopic study of biomolecular structure
- Mechanisms of in vitro and in vivo protein folding by time-resolved spectroscopy
- Development of new chemical and instrumental approaches to biological mass spectrometry
- In vivo fluorescence and single molecule dynamics
- Computational approaches to biomolecular structure and function
- Cell-cell signaling in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
- Synthesis and application of small- and large-molecule tools to study intercellular communication
- Elucidation of protein-, nucleic acid-, carbohydrate-, and small molecule-protein interactions, by application of diverse biophysical and chemical tools
- Fundamental mechanisms of RNA synthesis and processing
- Chemical glycobiology
- Assembly of biomolecules at surfaces
- New polymeric materials for gene or drug delivery or antimicrobial applications
- Integration of biological molecules with novel materials for nanoscale chemical sensing and bio-electronic integration
- Natural product biosynthesis and metabolic pathway engineering
- Enzyme mechanisms
- Directed evolution of new protein functions
- Design and characterization of protein-inspired molecules with novel structures and functions
- Harnessing biomolecular scaffolds for new functions
- Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses
Chemical Biology Path Chair
Prof. Lloyd Smith
Graduate Program Coordinator
Graduate Program Director