Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers a program of graduate study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The training is designed for relevance in the twenty-first century. The requirements for the MS degree in biochemistry and molecular biology are 24 semester hours of course work, 6 semester hours of research, an acceptable research thesis, and defense of the thesis in a final oral examination. The requirements for the Ph.D. degree include approximately 35 to 40 semester hours of course work, determined by the student's advisory committee, and 50 to 55 semester hours of thesis research.
Additional requirements are participation in the department's seminar program, satisfactory performance on cumulative and qualifying examinations, one year of a foreign language at the undergraduate level, presentation of an acceptable thesis, and successful defense of the thesis in a final oral examination. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are not required to obtain the MS Degree.
The Department of Biochemistry is located in the Jess L. and Miriam B. Stevens wing of the Noble Research Center, which has approximately 41,000 square feet of teaching and research space. The department is well equipped for modern biochemical and biophysical research and cooperates closely with the Departments of Chemistry and Physics. The University Library, located one building from the Nobel Research Center, has excellent holdings in chemistry, biochemistry, and related areas; the library has open stacks and is accessible 364 days a year. The card catalog has been computerized and many journals are available online. Departmental computer network links Macintoshes, PCs, and the University mainframe with the internet. A state-of-the-art facility is equipped with special instruments, including a VG Instruments Model ZAB-2SE high-resolution mass spectrometer, a high-sensitivity EPR spectrophotometer (Bruker ER 200D) and high-resolution NMR spectrometers with pulse T capabilities. Instrumentation for modern approaches in DNA and protein manipulation are available in a DNA/Protein Resource Facility housing DNA synthesis and sequencing, MADLI-TOF mass spectrometry, robotic liquid handling micro array spotting and scanning and smaller instruments.
Because many of the opportunities in biochemistry require advanced course work, a major part of the program in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is concerned with its graduate program leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. degree. This graduate program is an integral part of extensive basic research activities in the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. These research activities provide opportunities for part-time employment of undergraduate majors to improve their professional competence.
Although the B.S. in chemistry or biochemistry is preferred, students with strong backgrounds in other biological or physical science disciplines are eligible. Individuals not having at least eight semester credit hours in each of organic chemistry and calculus and four credit hours in physical chemistry must take appropriate undergraduate courses to make up deficiencies. The results of the GRE exam is required for entrance. An advanced GRE subject matter exam (biochemistry, chemistry or biology) is also recommended. A cumulative GRE score of 1000 + 4.0 is normally required. Please send GRE test results to institution code 6546 using department code 0202.
A more detailed description of the graduate study program in biochemistry is available from the department upon request. The requirements listed below complement the general graduate requirements described in the "Graduate College" section of the Catalog. After the first semester, continuous attendance and participation in the departmental seminar is expected.
The Master of Science Degree. Twenty-four credit hours of formal graduate courses are required, including BIOC 5753 (or 4113), 5824, 5853, 5930 and two advanced courses. In addition, a student must present an acceptable research thesis (six hours) and pass a final oral examination covering it and related material. Research advisers are selected at the end of the first semester.
A non-thesis Master of Science degree is also available. It does not require a research thesis, but requires a report and extensive technical training in the laboratory. The non-thesis MS is not recommended for students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. program later.
The Doctor of Philosophy Degree. The course requirements are determined with the aid of the student's graduate advisory committee. Usually they follow these guidelines: total of 30-40 credit hours of formal graduate course work which includes all the courses listed for the MS Degree, at least four of the advanced graduate courses in biochemistry (6000 level) and two offerings of Special Topics (6820). Additional course requirements, appropriate to the student's interests, are determined by the advisory committee. The advisory committee is selected at the end of the second semester. Each student will take a series of cumulative examinations beginning in January of his or her first year. A more comprehensive qualifying examination is also given, after successful completion of the cumulative examinations.
One year of a foreign language at the college level is required. The student must present, and defend in a final oral examination, an acceptable research thesis which contains a substantial original contribution to the field of biochemistry. The department offers research experience in a variety of areas of biochemistry.
Application for admission should be made through the Department of Biochemistry. Early application and a background in chemical and biological sciences are desirable.
Faculty List And Their Research Activities
Andrew J. Mort, Regents Professor; Ph.D., Michigan State, 1978.
Growth of plant cell walls; cell walls in disease and symbiosis; structural determination of glycoproteins and polysaccharides.
Chang-An Yu, Regents Professor; Ph.D., Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1969.
Coenzyme Q-binding proteins; phospholipid-protein interaction; membrane structure-function relationship.
Earl D. Mitchell Jr., Professor and Interim Head; Ph.D., Michigan State, 1966.
Jose Soulages, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina), 1989.
Structure-function relationships of insect lipoproteins.
Linda Yu, Professor; Ph.D., Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1970.
Coenzyme Q; phospholipid-protein interaction; membrane bioenergetics.
Margaret K. Essenberg, Regents Professor Emeritus; Ph.D., Brandeis, 1971.
Disease resistance in plants; molecular basis of plant recognition of bacteria; biosynthesis of defense sesquiterpenes in cotton; mechanisms of antibiotic activity of sesquiterpenes.
Margaret L. Pierce, Associate Research Professor; Ph.D., Michigan State, 1981.
Recognition of potential pathogens by plants; sensory transduction and information transfer in plants.
Michael A. Massiah, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Maryland, 1996.
NMR studies of protein structure and function.
Patricia Ayoubi, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 1997.
Microarrays; bioinformatics, functional genomies; differential gene expression analysis.
Patricia Rayas-Duarte, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Nebraska, 1988.
Ramamurthy Mahalingam, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Clemson, 1990.
Oxidative stress signal transduction in plants; functional genomies.
Richard C. Essenberg, Professor; Ph.D., Harvard, 1971.
Interactions between parasites and pathogens and their hosts.
Robert L. Matts, Professor; Ph.D., Wisconsin-Madison, 1980.
Posttranscriptional control of protein synthesis; regulatory mechanisms involving protein phosphorylation and guanine nucleotide exchange; roles of molecular chaperones in regulation, protein folding, and signal transduction.
Steven D. Hartson, Assistant Research Scientist; Ph.D., Oklahoma State, 1991.
Hsp90 chaperone machinery; proteomics.
Ulrich K. Melcher, Professor; Ph.D., Michigan State, 1970.
Role of virus-virus interaction through recombination, complementation, and synergy in plant-virus evolution, tobamoviruses; caulimoviruses.
Graduate Faculty List
The Department of History awards teaching assistantships for students who assist faculty in classes. The application form for assistantships is included in the departmental admissions packet. Annual awards are made by the department to underwrite graduate student research and travel to professional meetings.