Jeffrey Henderson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and molecular microbiology was recently named co-director of the new Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BBSB) Graduate Program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Henderson did his infectious diseases fellowship here, at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Henderson will co-direct with Daved H. Fremont, PhD., professor of pathology and immunology, biochemistry and molecular biophysics and molecular microbiology
Washington University’s vibrant interdisciplinary graduate research environment makes it an ideal place for training in both fundamental and applied biological sciences. Students in the program start with a common curriculum and have the flexibility to tailor their path according to their own scientific needs and interests. The Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology (BBSB) Program brings together scientists who aim to understand biological systems ranging from single molecules to whole organisms at the level of chemical transformations and molecular interactions. Students address diverse biological questions that include host-pathogen interactions, cancer-related signaling processes, and the nature of protein dynamics. BBSB faculty on both campuses share ties with DBBS programs such as Microbiology, Immunology, and Plant and Microbial Biosciences.
The new BBSB program encompasses three related research areas:
Biochemistry uses the concepts and approaches of chemistry to understand the molecular basis of biological processes. Biochemical studies include enzymology, metabolism, DNA replication, cell signaling, and drug discovery. Insights from these studies may shed light on fundamental biological processes as well as mechanisms of disease, new drug treatments, and new diagnostics.
Biophysics brings together elements of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to describe and understand biological processes. It is a fusion of scientific cultures: The systems and processes of biochemistry and computational & molecular biology are joined with the principles and quantitative laws of physical chemistry. The goal is to develop a quantitative and predictive understanding of biology at a detailed molecular level.
Structural Biology seeks a mechanistic understanding of macromolecular function through molecular structure and dynamics. X-ray diffraction, cryo-electron microscopy and NMR are among the tools used by structural biologists, whose insights address important questions throughout biology and medicine at Washington University.