PhD Program

We’re one of the few programs in the country that trains in structure/function—where students learn at the molecular level and from the ground up to find the cause and cure of disease. In our program, students take the lead in their research and frequently collaborate with different labs. And the research? It’s cutting-edge in a supportive environment. See how we train the next generation of biochemists.

Research Interest Areas

  • DNA Biochemistry
  • RNA Biochemistry
  • Lipids, lipoproteins, membrane transport,
    membrane structure and function
  • Protein structural biochemistry and biophysics
  • Mechanisms of signal transduction
  • Enzyme catalysis and regulation
  • Glycobiology, vaccine and antifungal

Let’s Talk About our Two Nobels in Chemistry

Considered the most prestigious award in the world, the Nobel Prize was given to two faculty in the Department of Biochemistry. In 2015, Dr. Paul Modrich received the Nobel in Chemistry for his mechanistic studies in DNA repair and in 2012, Dr. Robert Lefkowitz won the Nobel in Chemistry for his discoveries that reveal the inner workings of an important family G protein-coupled receptors.

Schumacher Lab

Lab Spotlight

The Schumacher Lab

The Schumacher Lab focuses on critical processes involving protein-nucleic acid interactions, in particular, as they relate to microbial pathogenesis. One area is a truly bizarre form of RNA editing, another is DNA segregation or partition, one more area of interest is in transcription regulation.  

Recent News

Dr. Moore speaks about building his Duke network, working in industry, and some advice for current grad students. Read More

PhD student, Nichole Orench-Rivera, takes Tool & Gadget inside the world of STEM and describes how her research contributes to advancing innovation. Read her interview.

Emily McFadden received the 2020 Graduate/Postdoctoral Travel Award to attend her first American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting. She'll also be presenting her work on lncRNA in prostate cancer. Congratulations Emily! Read what will be happening at the event. 


Chancellor A. Eugene Washington acknowledged three biochemistry faculty who are making "their mark on this golden era to the benefit of humankind everywhere."  See the video starting at 15:10