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

World-renowned Duke Biochemist Irwin Fridovich, discoverer of superoxide dismutase and pioneering studies in the field of oxygen free radicals, passed away at his home on Saturday 2 November.  As a tribute to his sixty-year contribution to the field of biochemistry and greater Duke community, Duke flags have been lowered to half-mast. Read about Irwin’s life and his contributions to science

Huanghe Yang, PhD, and Mohamad Mikati, MD, received an award from the Duke Institute for Brain Science. They will research mutations in BK-type ion channels in those afflicted with epilepsy and dyskinesia, determining how the mutation causes neurological symptoms and how to design new precision therapeutics. Read more

The annual biochemistry retreat always happens near Halloween and to celebrate, faculty and students have a costume competition. See who wore the most creative this year

Ying Yin was given this prestigious award for her scientific discoveries and publications as well as the positive impact she's had on her lab, and departmental and institutional culture.