Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Houston, Texas 77251
Rice University is a private research university with a long history of excellence, especially in the areas of science and engineering.
The University has generated a plan for growth over the next two decades, which is carefully designed to capitalize on the unique characteristics of the University, including its small size and considerable intellectual and financial resources. Biosciences is one of the areas targeted for enhancement in this plan, and recent building construction and faculty recruiting reflect this priority. The multidisciplinary nature of the program promotes the collaborative spirit that is essential for modern biosciences.
Rice University enrolls approximately 4,700 students; about 1,900 are studying at the graduate level. There were 65 full-time graduate students (including 32 women) in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
The Department strives to provide rigorous graduate training tailored to the scientifc background and individual needs of each student. Our program is designed to build a strong foundation in modern biochemistry and cell biology, coupled with the development of critical thought and independence, to ensure competitive preparation for a future research career. While master's degrees are occasionally awarded, the program primarily seeks students who are pursuing Ph.D. degrees.
Rice University has an exceptionally beautiful campus totaling 300 acres in a pleasant residential area of central Houston. The campus is adjacent to a large medical complex that includes Baylor College of Medicine, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and a number of private and public hospitals and medical institutions.
Program and degree requirements
The Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology is engaged in training scholars for careers focused on biochemical and biological problems of importance. The department emphasizes a program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Only rarely is a student admitted to the graduate program who does not intend to pursue the Ph.D. During the first year, the program of study involves course work, laboratory rotations, and selection of an adviser for thesis work, with initiation of independent research by the end of the first year of residence. During the second year, in addition to pursuing research projects, all students are provided experience in teaching and interacting with students. The requirements for the remaining years center around the research of the student and include participation in seminar programs, annual progress reviews with a 3-member committee, and an admission to candidacy examination in the third year. The proposal for the candidacy examination is similar in form to a grant application and is based on the students' research and defended orally. The remainder of the program is preparation and defense of the thesis. The department is well supported in terms of faculty appointments (twenty-three full-time faculty positions and three emeritus), grant support, laboratories for research and instruction, support staff, scientific equipment for research and teaching, and fellowships for graduate students.
The research activities of the department span a wide range of interests, organisms, and approaches, providing students with a broad spectrum from which to choose specific area(s) of study. The research areas include biophysical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, structural biology, genetics, developmental biology, plant biology, computational biology, and neurobiology. Originally established as the Department of Biochemistry, but recently renamed Biochemistry and Cell Biology with an accompanying change in purview, the department anticipates continued expansion in various areas, with several new faculty members over the next few years.
Facilities & Resources
The department is fully equipped for research in biophysical chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, structural biology, neurobiology, genetics, and developmental biology. Specialized equipment is available, including phosphorimaging; densitometry; visible, ultraviolet, CD, MCD, GC-MS, and infrared spectrometry; ESR and high-field NMR spectroscopy; cryo-electron microscopy and 3-D image reconstruction facilities; X-ray diffraction equipment; laser photolysis and rapid-mixing apparatus; spectrofluorometry; equipment for electrophysiology; confocal video and electron microscopes; liquid scintillation spectrometry; instruments for oligonucleotide synthesis, and amino acid analysis; an analytical ultracentrifuge; and computer graphics systems for molecular modeling. Specialized facilities for animal and plant care, for genetic experiments, and growth and harvesting of microorganisms on various scales, as well as a variety of equipment for centrifugation, chromatography, tissue culture, and electrophoresis, are available. Extensive computational facilities are provided.
Approximately 62,000 square feet of office and research facilities are being used by the department. In addition, two laboratories with approximately 5,000 square feet of space are available for instruction.
Cost of study
Costs: Tuition is included in graduate fellowships (see Financial Aid, below). Fees are $593 per year.
Financial Aid: All graduate students accepted into the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology who request support and who do not hold fellowships from other organizations are awarded a graduate fellowship at a level of $44,700 (including $24,700 for tuition) per year. Students are encouraged to apply for predoctoral fellowships from national organizations. Currently one NSF and two NIH training grants support predoctoral students.
Housing/Living Expenses: The University provides authorized housing for graduate students, and there is a wide choice of off-campus housing nearby.
How to Apply
Applications may be found on the department's Web site or may be requested by telephone or mail. All students should complete the Graduate Record Examinations. The TOEFL is required for international students. Applications should be submitted as early as possible.
THE FACULTY AND THEIR RESEARCH
Bonnie Bartel, Associate Professor; Ph.D., MIT, 1990 (e-mail: email@example.com). Genetics of auxin regulation in Arabidopsis development. Characterization of a family of IAA-amino acid conjugate hydrolases from Arabidopsis.
Kathleen M. Beckingham, Professor; Ph.D., Cambridge, 1972 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Molecular studies of calcium/calmodulin signaling and gravitoxic sensing in Drosophila melanogaster. Calcium-binding proteins and development.
George N. Bennett, Professor; Ph.D., Purdue, 1974 (e-mail: email@example.com). Acid stress response; regulatory signals for bacterial gene expression; metabolic engineering; recombinant DNA techniques. Genetic manipulation of acid formation pathways by gene inactivation in Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824.
Janet Braam, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Cornell, 1985 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Molecular biology and genetics of plant development; perception of and response to environmental stimuli; roles of Ca2+ and calmodulin in signal transduction; roles of cell wall modifying enzymes in development. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of Arabidopsis TCH4 expression by diverse stimuli: Roles of cis regions and brassinosteroids.
Raymon M. Glantz, Professor; Ph.D., Syracuse, 1967 (e-mail: email@example.com). Transduction in arthropod photoreceptors; receptors for neurotransmitters; computational properties and dynamics of neuronal networks. Directional selectivity in a nonspiking interneuron of the crayfish optic lobe: Evaluation of a linear model.
Richard H. Gomer, Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Ph.D., Caltech, 1983 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Studies of development, cell type choice, density sensing factors, and cell number counting, using molecular biology, cell biology, and protein biochemistry techniques. A cell number-counting factor regulates the cytoskeleton and cell motility in Dictyostelium.
Michael C. Gustin, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 1981 (e-mail: email@example.com). Molecular and genetic analysis of growth control mechanisms in cells; osmosensing MAP kinase cascades; cell-cycle control mechanisms; transcriptional regulation; osmotic and oxidative stress sensing; signaling pathways in fungi; stress responses in fruit flies. Regulation of cell cycle progression by Swe1p and Hog1p following hypertonic stress.
Jordan Konisky, Professor; Ph.D., Wisconsin, 1968 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Evolution, biochemistry, and molecular biology of extremophiles; mechanism of gene expression in methanogens and archaea. Analysis of thermal stabilizing interactions in mesophilic and thermophilic adenylate kinases from the genus Methanococcus.
Mary Ellen Lane, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Columbia, 1994 (e-mail: email@example.com). Genetic regulation of neural development in zebrafish embryos. Isolation and characterization of posteriorly restricted genes in the zebrafish gastrula.
Kevin R. MacKenzie, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 1996 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Structure, function, and stability of membrane proteins. A transmembrane helix dimer: Structure and implications.
Seiichi P. T. Matsuda, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Harvard, 1994 (e-mail: email@example.com). Recombinant biosynthetic approaches to natural products chemistry. Molecular biological approaches to mammalian and plant sterol biosynthesis and terpene cyclization and oxidation; directed evolution to investigate steric control of enzymatic oxidosqualene cyclization. Production of meiosis activating sterols from metabolically engineered yeast.
Kathleen Shive Matthews, Stewart Memorial Professor and Dean of Natural Sciences; Ph.D., Berkeley, 1970 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Structure and function of genetic regulatory proteins. Fine-tuning function: Correlation of hinge domain interactions with functional distinctions between Lacl and PurR.
James A. McNew, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 1994 (e-mail: email@example.com). Molecular mechanisms of membrane fusion. Compartmental specificity of cellular membrane fusion encoded in SNARE proteins.
Edward P. Nikonowicz, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Purdue, 1990 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). NMR spectroscopy of RNA and RNA-protein interactions; correlation of structure, function, and dynamics; structural studies of base-modified RNAs. NMR structure and dynamics of the RNA binding site for the histone mRNA stem-loop binding protein.
John Steven Olson, Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology; Ph.D., Cornell, 1972 (e-mail: email@example.com). Biophysical chemistry; kinetics of ligand binding to heme proteins; oxygen transport by erythrocytes; design of heme-protein-based blood substitute. Myoglobin as a model system for designing heme protein based blood substitutes.
Graham Palmer, Professor; Ph.D., Sheffield, 1962 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Mechanisms of oxidative enzymes; EPR spectroscopy as applied to biochemical systems; electron transport; cytochrome oxidase. The cyanide stimulated dissociation of chloride from the catalytic center of cytochrome c oxidase.
Ronald J. Parry, Professor; Ph.D., Brandeis, 1968 (e-mail: email@example.com). Studies of the biosynthesis of antibiotics, antitumor agents, and toxins in bacteria using molecular biology, protein biochemistry, and organic synthesis. Molecular characterization and analysis of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the azoxy antibiotic valanimycin.
Frederick B. Rudolph, Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Chair; Ph.D., Iowa State, 1971 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Control of metabolism in intact cells and at the molecular level; nucleotide metabolism; enzyme kinetics and mechanisms; new techniques in protein isolation; effect of dietary nucleotides on immune function and tumor growth. Expression of the Klebsiella pneumoniae CG21 acetoin reductase gene in Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824.
Yousif Shamoo, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 1988 (e-mail: email@example.com). Structural biology of RNA processing; X-ray crystallography and biochemistry of proteins and protein-RNA complexes; emphasis on RNA-binding proteins in human disease pathogenesis. Crystal structure of the two RNA binding domains for hnRNP A1 at 1.75 A resolution.
Michael Stern, Associate Professor; Ph.D., California, San Francisco, 1985 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Molecular and genetic control of ion channel activity and synaptic transmission in the Drosophila nervous system. Control of Drosophila perineural growth by two interacting neurotransmitter-mediated signaling pathways.
Charles R. Stewart, Professor; Ph.D., Stanford, 1967 (e-mail: email@example.com). Bacteriophage molecular genetics; mechanisms of host takeover during viral infection; mechanisms for regulation of sequential gene action. Genes and regulatory sites of the "host-takeover module" in the terminal redundancy of Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage SPO1.
Yizhi Jane Tao, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Purdue, 1999 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Assembly and replication of DNA and RNA viruses; mitotic chromosome condensation; three-dimensional cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction; X-ray crystallography. RNA synthesis in a cage-structural studies on reovirus polymerase É¢3.
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