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 of G protein-coupled receptors.

Dr. Brian Coggins

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Brian Coggins is course director for the main undergraduate biochemistry class, which he teaches to 350-450 students per year. Outside the classroom, he designs and develops new methods and resources for biochemical education. Dr. Coggins received his undergraduate degree and PhD from Duke, where he worked with Pei Zhou to develop more efficient techniques for protein NMR data collection. 

Recent News

Discover what David is researching in the Meyer Lab and what he appreciates about the department's welcoming atmosphere. Read more

Sarah is a 2018 matriculant whose research focuses on Staphyloccoccus aureus biofilm infections. Read about her pre-Duke experience and how the department supports her current research. Read more

When PhD student, Jimin Hu, saw good and bad science communication during COVID-19, she reached out to the American Society of Cell Biology to build on what’s right and help fix what’s wrong. Read more

The bacterium Francisella tularensis is one of the most infectious agents known. Published in Cell Press, the Brennan and Schumacher labs reveal how it regulates its pathogenicity. Read more in Duke Today