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 application of chemical principles and techniques to 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 broader cellular and in vivo 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 the CBGP include: developing new ways to analyze, diagnose, and treat cancer and infectious diseases; inventing new technologies for studying brain circuitry; identifying new biological strategies for renewable synthesis of fuels, medicines, and materials; advancing technologies for genome editing, protein engineering, chemoproteomics, and molecular imaging.

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:

  • 10 week rotations selected from over 45 labs in 3 departments
  • Three poster sessions a year.
  • Three required classes that easily fit into their home department requirements:
    • MCB 293D– Rigor and Reproducibility in Research (RRR) –The purpose of this course is to ensure that research trainees receive training in Rigor and Reproducibility in Research. Students also gain an understanding of federal, state, and UC Berkeley policies and resources available to further support their research endeavors.
    • Chemical Biology Chem 271 -This course covers structure and function of biomolecules, design and synthesis of chemical tools to interrogate biological systems, and other 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. Rigor and reproducibility in the responsible conduct of research are presented in a second 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

Participating Departments

Department of Chemistry
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
CBGP students receive their PhD from one of these two participating departments in addition to the specialized training in chemical biology.  In addition to these core departments, CBGP extends to a broader range of faculty in affiliated departments (BioE, NST, PMB, Public Health, Physics, and MSE).


Our Chemical Biology Graduate Program is made possible through external support.  If you are interested in any of our following goals, please consider supporting us!

  • Research at the interface of Chemical Biology
  • Training new researchers in the language and culture of Biology and Chemistry
  • Furthering Biomedical Advancements
  • Encouraging underrepresented minorities to pursue upper level science degrees

What our Sponsors can expect:

We are happy to acknowledge your support on our website, brochures, and at events.

Please come and learn more about us!  We would love to have you at our next event.

For more information, call 510-666-3655 or e-mail chembio@berkeley.edu

Many thanks to our current and past supporters!

National Institutes of Health NRSA Training Grant Funds
Merck & Co.
California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences
The Department of Chemistry, UC Berkeley
The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.

Chiron Corporation, And Agilent

Contact Us

Phone: 510-666-3655

E-mail: chembio at berkeley dot edu