At the Interface of Chemistry and Biology

Started in 2001, the Chemical Biology Graduate Program (CBGP) offers graduate Ph.D. students with formal in depth training at the interface of chemistry and biology.  Chemical Biology, often described as the use of chemical techniques on biological questions, is a field of growth inspired both by the growth of the biotechnology industry and the steadily increasing number of young scientists who seek to apply chemical reasoning, synthetic techniques, and quantitative analysis to the study of biomolecules and the cellular contexts in which they reside.  The goal of the program is to produce scientists able to attack questions at the molecular level armed with the language and technique of both disciplines.

Examples of current student research in this program includes: developing new ways to analyze, diagnose, and treat pathogens; finding new strategies for the creation and storage of alternate fuels and biofuels, and exploring biological processes to synthesize new materials and nanomaterials.

Students in the CBGP receive their PhD from their home department and meet all home department requirements in addition to the specialized training in chemical biology.

CBGP students enjoy:

  • Three 9-week rotations selected from over 40 labs in 4 departments
  • Three poster sessions a year
  • Two required classes that easily fit into their home department requirements:
    • Chemical Biology Chem 271 – This course covers structure, synthesis, and function of biomolecules; enzyme reaction mechanisms; and contemporary topics in chemical biology in three 5-week modules.
    • MCB 293C – Responsible Conduct of Research -This course addresses issues of ethical practice of science, cases of scientific fraud, issues of intellectual and experimental contribution and credit, and authorship on publications.  Case studies of historical significance are presented and discussed in one 5 week module.
  • Chemical Biology advising to supplement advising from their home department
  • CBGP Supergroup to network and discover research happening within the Cal campus
  • Annual retreat with chemical biologists from UCB, UCD, UCSC, and UCSF
  • Annual Career Day to network with diverse professionals who started with a chemical biology background