2000-01 Bulletin Entry for:
Graduate Program in Bioorganic Chemistry
The interdepartmental graduate program in bioorganic chemistry, leading to the degree of doctor of philosophy, is designed to give students a broad background in organic chemistry and in biochemistry, and to provide an appreciation for, and expertise in, the multiple disciplines that are currently being applied to problems at the interface of organic chemistry and biology. The program combines research opportunities in organic synthesis, organic reaction mechanisms, enzyme structure and function, molecular recognition, and structure determination of peptides and nucleic acids by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. Thesis research will be carried out with two advisors, in accordance with the multidisciplinary aspects of bioorganic chemistry.
How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program
The general requirements for admission to the Graduate School are listed in an earlier section of this Bulletin. Applicants are normally expected to have strong backgrounds in physical or biological science, with undergraduate concentrations in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or pharmacology. Applications should include, in addition to three letters of reference, a personal statement giving reasons for choosing the field of bioorganic chemistry and indicating areas of special interest. Applicants are expected to take the Graduate Record Exam and are encouraged to visit Brandeis for an interview.
Faculty Advisory Committee
Lizbeth Hedstrom, Chair
(Biochemistry and Chemistry)
(Biochemistry and Chemistry)
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Program of Study
Each doctoral candidate must successfully complete seven courses. All participants in the program will take BCHM 101a, 101b, CHEM 134b, and either 130a or 131a. Students must also take at least one course dealing with spectroscopy or crystallographic methods; choices include CHEM 132b, 229b, and 235b. An additional course will be chosen from the offerings of the chemistry and biochemistry departments. Students are also required to take CONT 300b (Ethical Practice in Health-Related Sciences). First-year students undertake six, six-week laboratory rotations in different laboratories in the program. In the course of their graduate career, students will present three seminars in the organic chemistry and biochemistry programs and one seminar in the bioorganic program. Thesis research is performed under the direction of two faculty members in different fields of expertise so that students will gain expertise in more than one discipline.
Graduate students generally receive financial support (tuition and stipend) throughout their participation in the graduate program.
Students participate as teaching assistants for two terms.
Students are required to show proficiency in the use of a commonly used software package (e.g., QUANTA, MM2) and operating system (e.g., UNIX, VMS).
The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is three years.
At the end of the first year, students will develop and defend an original proposition for a research problem in his or her area of interest. In addition, students must demonstrate general knowledge of bioorganic chemistry by passing a comprehensive examination. Students are expected to have completed this requirement by the end of the third year. This general knowledge outside the student's own field of specialization must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of a committee of three faculty members appointed by the Student Advisory Committee.
Dissertation and Thesis Defense
Each doctoral candidate will submit a dissertation describing his or her research and will defend it in a Final Oral Examination.
Courses of Instruction
(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students
BIOC 200a,b Bioorganic Seminar
Usually offered every year.
BIOC 303d Lab Rotations
Prerequisite: BCHM 101a and b. May be taken concurrently with BCHM 101a and b.
Ms. Hedstrom and Staff
CONT 300b Ethical Practice in Health-Related Sciences
Required of all first-year graduate students in health-related science programs. Not for credit.
Scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of addressing ethical issues and values associated with scientific research. This course, taught by University faculty from several graduate disciplines, will cover major ethical issues germane to the broader scientific enterprise, including areas or applications from a number of fields of study. Lectures and relevant case studies will be complemented by two public lectures during the course. Usually offered every year.
Advanced Biochemistry I
Advanced Biochemistry II
Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules
Chemistry of Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions
Advanced Organic Chemistry: Structure
Advanced Organic Chemistry: Topics in Structure and Reactivity
Advanced Organic Chemistry: Spectroscopy
Advanced Organic Chemistry: Synthesis
The Chemistry of Organic Natural Products
Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry: Introduction to X-ray Structure Determination
Advanced NMR Spectroscopy