Welcome from the Acting Chair
Welcome to the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry!
Researchers in our highly interactive department utilize cutting-edge approaches to understand the molecular basis of disease, including work focused on cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Our work is funded by a wide variety of agencies, including research awards from the National Institutes of Health, placing us as one of the top fifteen NIH-funded biochemistry departments at public medical schools.
Our outstanding faculty and their exceptional teams of research scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers are key to our success. The collaborative nature of the department and the wide array of scientific approaches, from structural biology and biophysical methods to cell biological and organismal studies, also contribute to the exciting research environment.
The department also has a long history of outstanding educational programs. Our PhD program combines excellent coursework designed to give students a solid foundation in biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology with high quality mentored research experiences which train our students to be successful scientists and independent thinkers prepared to go on to a variety of careers. Students from our programs have gone on to positions in a range of scientific areas, including academic research and teaching positions, industry positions, government positions and careers in science policy.
The department also teaches a large number of undergraduate students both in the classroom and in independent research. We are proud of our people, our research, and our work in education! Please browse these pages to learn more, and feel free contact us with any questions.
Professor and Acting Chair
About Our Department | History
The year 1960 marked the beginning of the Medical Center of the University of Kentucky and its basic science departments of the College of Medicine, including the department of biochemistry. That year, the department began teaching the first freshman class of medical students.
The faculty consisted of George W. Schwert (PhD, Minnesota), a World War II Navy veteran who came from Duke University and joined the department as chairman; Richard S. Schwert (PhD, Iowa State) a World War II Air Force veteran who was recruited from the City of Hope Hospital in California; and Robert L. Lester (PhD, California Institute of Technology), who was recruited from the University of Wisconsin. The faculty reflected the then current research interests of enzymology, protein synthesis, and bioenergetics.
The faculty size increased to six for a number of years and then gradually rose to its current size as the graduate program expanded, additional teaching duties were added, and its research mission became prominent. Michael Wells was the department’s first PhD student and subsequently became a founding member and later head of the biochemistry department at the University of Arizona Medical School. Subsequent chairmen were Robert L. Lester, Thomas C. Vanaman (PhD, Duke), Louis B. Hersh (PhD, Brandeis) Dr. Douglas Andres (PhD, Purdue). In 1989, the department changed its name to its current one to reflect the changing spectrum of faculty research interests.
Biomedical Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB)
741 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40508
The Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) is located at the corner of Virginia Avenue and South Limestone, across from Kentucky Clinic. It is home to laboratories for the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and College of Arts and Sciences.