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 in transcription regulation.  

Recent News

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. 

Increasing underrepresented minorities (URM) in PhD programs is unlikely to increase URM biomedical faculty. An emerging new way to bridge the gap is through interventions at scientific societies. Read how The American Society of Cell Biology’s Minorities Affairs Committee, including Duke Biochemistry’s own Mike Boyce, has taken on this challenge and found success.

Nature Communications has published two papers in a row by Yang Lab graduate students, Trieu Le and Son Le, respectively. The first discovered an activation gate that controls lipid and ion transport through TMEM16 proteins and the second uncovered the molecular mechanism of TMEM16A chloride channel desensitization....