Academic and Social Events

Beyond Research

Your time at Duke is more than courses and lab work. Throughout the year, you can attend academic events that elevate your Biochemistry PhD experience and social events that help you de-stress and invigorate your love for science.

Biochemistry Hosted Events

Friday Seminars

Friday Seminars occur weekly and present national and international speakers outside of Duke to enrich the PhD in Biochemistry curriculum. Post-seminar, there is a standing invitation for a “student-only” lunch discussion with the speaker.

Biochemistry Department Research Forums

These monthly forums highlight recent research accomplishments and ongoing activities of faculty and their lab groups, followed by an informal Q&A that continues through a departmental lunch. 

Annual Nozaki Distinguished Lecture Series

As part of the Biochemistry Graduate Student Committee that organizes the annual Nozaki Lecture Series, you will select and invite world-renowned speakers to the department. The Nozaki Lecture Series is supported by the Dr. and Mrs. Yasuhiko Nozaki Lectures Fund as part of the Triangle Community Foundation. 

Prior year speakers have included:

2023 William Kaelin, Jr., Howard Hughes Medical School
2021 Michael F. Summers, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
2019 Eliane Ostrander, NHGRI/NIH
2018 Joachim Frank, Columbia University
2016 Randy Scheckman, UC Berkeley, Nobel Laureate
2014 Tom Steitz, Yale University, HHMI Investigator
2014 Hiroshi Nikaido, UC Berkeley
2012 Roberto Kolter, Harvard University
2011 Wim Hol, University of Washington
2010 Carol Gross, UCSF
2009 Phil Sharp, MIT, Nobel Laureate
2008 Jay Keasling, UC Berkeley

Annual Hsieh Lecture Series

In its inaugural year, this annual lecture was established in honor of Dr. Tao-Shih Hsieh by a generous donation from Dr. and Mrs. Y. T. Chen through the Chenzyme Foundation. 

Prior year speakers have included:

2023  Stephen Kowalczykowski, UC Davis
2019  Kiyoshi Nagai, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
2017 James C. Wang, Harvard University

Weekly Seminars in and Around our Department

Biochemistry PhD students can also take advantage of seminars and events offered by other departments in the basic sciences.

Seminar Series

Tuesday Seminar series
Thursday Seminar series
Chemistry Seminar series

Basic Science Day

Once a year, The School of Medicine celebrates the basic sciences with a faculty lecturer from each department plus a poster session that includes presentations by graduate students and post-docs.

University Program in Genetics and Genomics Distinguished Lecture Series

Students in Genetics and Genomics run this lecture series that has hosted 6 Nobel Laureates, 5 recipients of the Lasker Award, and numerous National Academy of Sciences members.

Duke CHoMI Supergroup Seminar

During these seminars, presentations are given by members of the Duke Center for Host-Microbe Interactions (CHoMI) on their shared interest in understanding microbial-host interactions.

Social Events

Our graduate students become members of the Duke Community by taking part in university-wide and departmental social events. 

Duke Basketball Campout: Duke Basketball Season Ticket Campout is the premier graduate and professional program of the year. For one weekend, in early fall, around 2500 students representing nearly every University program and department, gather on campus with the hopes of winning the chance to purchase season basketball tickets. The rules are simple: make it through the weekend without missing two attendance checks and your name is entered into a lottery where you are eligible to buy one of the 725 graduate and professional season tickets. It’s a great weekend to bond with biochemistry students or make friends outside the program.

Happy Hour: The third Friday of each month, the department sponsors Happy Hour with beer, wine, soda and snacks. 

Annual Department Retreat: Faculty, students, post-docs, and techs enjoy a weekend full of poster sessions, research presentations, karaoke, and fun. 

Holiday Party: In early December, we host an annual pot-luck for the whole department and their families. It’s a chance for everyone to socialize with food, dancing, fun and door prizes!

Biochemistry Department Night at the Durham Bulls: In late spring, the department hosts Family Night at the Durham Bulls. We serve dinner and beverages on the party deck where you can watch baseball with a post-game fireworks display.