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Description of Programs


Faculty and graduate student research focuses on biochemical processes at the subcellular and macro-molecular levels and encompasses a variety of fields and methodologies. Areas of study include macromolecular structure and function as elucidated by nuclear magnetic resonance; X-ray crystallographic and spectroscopic techniques; enzyme reaction mechanisms; genomics; computational methods in molecular biology; computational biochemistry/biophysics; computer-aided drug design; signal transduction; neurochemistry; ion channel structure and function; the role of RNA in molecular evolution; the structure and function of virulence factors; and biotechnology.

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Cell and Molecular Biology

The faculty and students in this program share common interests in understanding the molecular mechanisms which drive both fundamental cellular processes and the developmental processes of morphogenesis, cell differentiation and gene regulation. The strength of the program is the diversity of the biological systems under study, which stimulates extensive exchange and collaboration between the various groups. Faculty expertise spans the disciplines of cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, neuroscience, immunology, and genetics.

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Ecology and Evolution

This program blends knowledge and methodology from diverse biological disciplines to better understand ecological and evolutionary processes operating at multiple scales -- from molecules to individuals to societies to communities. Current research programs include experimental evolution, evolution of development, evolutionary genetics, behavioral ecology, community ecology and evolutionary bioinformatics in systems ranging from bacteria to ants, from protists to grasses. Faculty conduct studies in natural habitats including the Colorado plateau, and coastal salt marshes, and in artificial systems such as petri dishes and theoretical models.

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Chemical Biology

The Chemical Biology Interdisciplinary Program at the University of Houston is a joint graduate training program between the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biology & Biochemistry. Students admitted into this program are able to craft a hybrid curriculum and will carry out interdisciplinary research. Students in the program will also benefit from a regular seminar series, student events, and an annual retreat.

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