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Graduate: Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Program Overview

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology MS Program Description

    The graduate program leading to the MS degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology is intended to provide a sound scientific foundation for those planning to pursue a career in research, teaching, entry into a career in biotechnology, or further graduate studies in the life sciences. In addition, for students interested in attending medical, dental, veterinary or other health-related schools, the MS degree program can complement and enhance their background in the biochemical sciences including biochemical, biomedical, and molecular biology research. Core concepts and skills are taught through a series of required core courses, with the remaining coursework consisting of advanced electives and special topics courses selected in consultation with the student's advisory committee. The curriculum is comprised of 24 credit hours earned in biochemistry, cellular biology and molecular genetics courses that are complemented by hands on laboratory research and exposure to advanced methods in biochemistry and cell biology. The remaining credits may be selected from elective courses, special seminar courses, and courses in experimental design, data analysis and laboratory techniques. Both research-based and literature-based thesis options are available and can be completed by fulltime students in three semesters. The program includes faculty from the Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Physiology and Biophysics, and the Pharmacological Sciences, as well as from Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    For more detailed information, visit the BCB MS Web site at:

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program

    Aaron Neiman, Life Sciences Building 332 (631) 632-1543

    BCB MS Graduate Program Director
    Neta Dean, Life Sciences Building 310, (631) 632-9309

    Program Administrator
    Pamela Wolfskill, Life Sciences Building 450, (631) 632-8585

    Degree awarded
    Master of Science (MS) in Biochemistry and Cell Biology


    The Graduate School ( requires on-line application submission ( including letters of recommendation. At the Graduate School website you will find an Admissions link to the on-line Application form.

  • Admissions

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program Admissions

    Application Deadline: April 15

    Applications are considered from September until April 15 every year.

    Applicants do not need to send their official transcripts until they are offered admission into the program.  

    In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are suggested requirements:

    • BS or BA degree in a life science related field, with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00. Pre-requisites include mathematics through one year of calculus, chemistry (including organic chemistry and laboratory), general physics, and one year of biology (including laboratory). It is highly recommended that students will have taken two semesters of biochemistry, and one semester each of genetics, cell biology, physical chemistry, and English composition. Students accepted into the program without a pre-requisite may be asked to take the appropriate upper level undergraduate course prior to undertaking specific graduate level courses.
    • Personal Statement: What would you consider your special qualifications to be? What do you propose to do with your advanced degree professionally? Discuss briefly your experience in biochemistry and cell biology outside the classroom.
    • Three letters of recommendation from people who can evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate work and independent research.
    • International Students: A proficiency in the English language is required. If your native or primary language is not English, you must take an English proficiency test. To be considered for admission, an applicant must present an acceptable score on the TOEFL or IELTS test. IELTS: Overall score of 6.5 with no subsection below 6. TOEFL: Paper-based test: 550; computer based test: 213; or Internet-based test: 90. Under special circumstances, lower scores may be considered.

  • Degree Requirements

    Degree Requirements for Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program

    Research-based thesis option (30 credits)
    The research-based thesis option requires 30 credits comprised of 24 credits in core courses, at least 2 credits of MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in addition to the Research Practicum course included in the core curriculum, and 6 elective credits. Thesis research can be conducted in the laboratory of Biochemistry and Cell Biology faculty, in the research laboratories of faculty from other Departments at Stony Brook, and at Brookhaven National Laboratory, or through research internships under the guidance of approved mentors at local biotechnology firms. This option requires completion of a written, research-based project.

    Literature-based thesis option (30 credits)
    The literature-based thesis option requires 30 credits comprised of 24 credits in core courses, including 4 credits of MS Research practicum, 2 credits of MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and 6 elective credits. This option requires completion of a written, literature-based project.

     Core Course Requirements (24 credits)

    • MCB 503 Molecular Genetics (Fall, 3 credits)
    • MCB 520 Graduate Biochemistry I (Fall, 3 credits)
    • MCB 656 Cell Biology (Spring, 4 credits)
    • BCB 551 Introduction to Research in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Integrity in Science (Fall, 2 credits)
    • BCB 552 Advanced Laboratory Methods in Biochemistry and Cell
      Biology (Fall, 3 credits)
    • BCB 559 MS Research Practicum in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer, 0-4 credits)
    • BCB 599 MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer, 3 – 6 credits)
    • MCB 601 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Fall, 1 credit)
    • MCB 602 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Spring, 1 credit)
  • Facilities


    The Biological Sciences Division and Health Sciences Center are well equipped for work in biochemistry and cellular biology. Individual faculty laboratories and central services provide a full array of state-of-the-art equipment. These include facilities that perform flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, DNA synthesis and analyses, transgenic mice, microscopy and imaging. The Health Sciences Library contains a comprehensive collection of biomedical journals and books and is complemented by the Melville Library on the main campus.

  • Faculty


    Department of Anesthesiology

    Martin Kaczocha

    Role of fatty acid binding proteins in pain, inflammation, and related pathophysiologies: Endocannabinoid pharmacology and development of novel therapeutics.


    Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

    Paul M. Bingham

    Genetic control of development and gene expression in animals

    Saikat Chowdhury                                                                              

    Structural biology of macromolecule machines; cytoskeletal dynamics            and regulation; Cryo Electron Microscopy

    Vitaly Citovsky

    Nuclear targeting and intercellular communication in plants


    Neta Dean

    Glycosylation; fungal pathogenesis


    J. Peter Gergen

    Gene expression and development in Drosophila

    Steven Glynn

    Structure and mechanism of protein-unfolding machines in mitochondria


    Bernadette C. Holdener

    Genetic regulation of early mammalian development

    Nancy Hollingsworth

    Meiotic synapsis, recombination, and segregation in yeast

    Wali Karzai

    Structure and function of RNA-binding proteins and biochemical studies of the SmpB•tmRNA quality control system


    Erwin London

    Membrane protein structure/translocation/folding

    Ed Luk

    Chromosome biology and genome regulation

    Benjamin Martin

    Stem cell maintenance and differentiation, Developmental mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis

    David Q. Matus

    Evolutionary, cell and developmental biological approaches to studying nematode uterine-vulval attachment and morphogenesis

    Aaron Neiman

    Vesicle trafficking and membrane/cytoskeletal interactions

    Sanford Simon

    Extracellular degradation by neutrophil proteases

    Steven Smith

    Structure and function of membrane proteins

    Rolf Sternglanz

    Chromatin structure and function; gene expression; HATs

    Gerald H. Thomsen

    Growth factors /signal transduction in early vertebrate development


    Department of Chemistry

    Elizabeth Boon

    Nitric oxide regulation of quorum sensing and biofilm formation in bacteria

    Isaac Carrico





    Liang Gao

    The research in our group centers around the concept of chemical biology. In paticular, we introduce unnatural monomers into the biopolymers of life (proteins, oligosaccharides, oligonucleotides) for the purpose of tracking or perturbing biological processes.



    Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, 3D live fluorescence imaging and quantitative analysis of 3D image data sets

    Carlos Simmerling

    Development of tools for efficient and simulation of chemical systems and using them to study the structure and dynamics of molecules involved in biological processes.

    Peter Tonge

    Spectroscopic insights into enzyme mechanisms and structure



    Department of Medicine


    Berhane Ghebrehiwet

    Biochemistry; function of the complement system

    Yusuf Hannun

    Bioactive lipids in cancer pathogenesis and therapeutics

    Richard Lin

    Kinase signaling and cell proliferation

    Cungui Mao

    Bioactive sphingolipids in cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and autophagy

    Lina M. Obeid

    Bioactive lipids in Inflammation, Aging and Cancer

    William Van Nostrand

    Vascular functions of Alzheimer's disease amyloid beta-protein

    Vincent Yang

    Biology and pathobiology of intestinal epithelial stem cells and colorectal cancer.


    Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

    Jorge Benach

    Pathogenesis of spirochetal infections and their host responses

    Nicolas Carpino

    Positive and Negative Regulation of T cell Receptor Signaling

    Bruce Futcher

    Cell cycle, cyclins, and yeast genetics

    Michael Hayman

    Viral/cellular oncogenes; differentiation of erythroid cells

    Patrick Hearing

    Adenovirus regulation of cellular proliferation and gene expression; adenovirus vectors for human gene therapy

    James Konopka

    Signal transduction, morphogenesis and genetics of pathogenic fungi

    Laurie Krug

    My lab's research interests lie in understanding the molecular determinants of virus-host interactions during chronic gammaherpesvirus infections using a mouse model pathogen.

    Janet Leatherwood

    Cell cycle control and DNA replication in fission yeast

    Erich R. Mackow

    Viral Pathogenesis, Regulation of Innate Immunity, Hantavirus, Dengue Virus and Rotavirus Regulation of Cell Signaling Responses, miRNAs and Endothelial cell functions.

    Nancy Reich

    Cytokine and Innate Immune Responses

    Brian Sheridan

    Mucosal Immunology, T cell memory, Vaccine design, Host-pathogen interactions

    David Thanassi

    Secretion of virulence factors by bacterial pathogens; pilus biogenesis by uropathogenic Escherichia coli

    Adrianus. W.M. van der Velden

    Infectious Diseases Immunology; Host Interactions with Bacterial Pathogens; Bacterial Immune Subversion

    Eckard Wimmer

    RNA virus genetics, replication, pathogenicity, cellular receptors




    Department of Neurobiology and Behavior

    Simon Halegoua

    Molecular control of the neuronal phenotype

    Maurice Kernan

    Molecular basis of mechanical senses

    Joel Levine

    Cell-surface molecules of the developing nervous system

    David McKinnon

    Molecular physiology of sympathetic neurons and cardiac muscle

    Howard Sirotkin

    Genetic and molecular analysis of early vertebrate development

    Lonnie Wollmuth

    Molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission


    Department of Oral Biology and Pathology

    Soosan Ghazizadeh

    Epithelial stem cell biology; Skin bioengineering and gene therapy.


    Department of Pathology

    Jiang Chen

    Skin and hair follicle development, maintenance and malignancy

    Howard B. Fleit

    Leukocyte Fc receptors; macrophage differentiation

    Martha Furie

    Host inflammatory response to bacterial infections.

    Jingfang Ju

    Post-transcriptional control of non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins in cancer

    Richard R. Kew

    Leukocyte chemotaxis/inflammation

    Yupo Ma

    Stem cell reprogramming and therapy, genome engineering, blood and marrow transplantation

    Ute Moll

    Tumor suppressor genes; mechanism of p53 inactivation

    Kenneth Shroyer

    Cancer biomarkers as diagnostic adjuncts in cervical pathology and cytopathology; cervical cancer and HPV

    Eric Spitzer

    Molecular biology of Cryptococcus neoformans


    Department of Pharmacological Sciences

    Adan Aguirre

    Stem cell biology in the central nervous system and neurobiology in health and disease

    Daniel Bogenhagen

    Mitochondrial DNA; DNA repair

    Holly Colognato

    Extracellular matrix in the brain; roles during development and during neurodegeneration.

    Michael A. Frohman

    Lipid signaling pathways in immune responses, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

    Miguel Garcia-Diaz

    Genetic Toxicology/Mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression


    Craig C. Malbon

    Heterotrimetric G-proteins in development and cancer

    Joav Prives

    Cytoskeletal membrane interactions in muscle cells

    Jessica C. Seeliger

    We are applying biochemical, microbiological and biophysical methods to fundamental questions in bacterial membrane biogenesis as they relate to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, and to bacterial pathogenesis in general: How is lipid biosynthesis accomplished at the cytosol-membrane interface? What are the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial membrane assembly? How can we subvert lipid biosynthesis and membrane assembly pathways for antimicrobial therapy?

    Markus Seeliger

    Mechanism of Protein kinases and Ubiquitin Ligases in Cancer and Aging

    Orlando Schärer

    Chemical Biology of DNA damage and repair.

    Ken-Ichi Takemaru

    Wnt Signaling in Development and Disease

    Styliani-Anna Tsirka

    Neuronal-microglial interactions in the central nervous system



    Department of Physiology and Biophysics

    Mark Bowen

    Single molecule spectroscopy; Coordination of post-synaptic glutamate receptor signaling by the MAGUK family of scaffolds

    W. Todd Miller

    Tyrosine phosphorylation and signal transduction

    Suzanne Scarlata

    Cell signaling through heterotrimeric G proteins

    Ilan Spector

    Neuronal differentiation and microfilaments

    Hsien-yu Wang

    Our research group focuses on Wnt signaling in 1) regulation of cell signaling and 2) differentiation of embryonic stem cells.

    Thomas White

    Molecular biology and physiology of gap junction channels

  • Contact

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program

    Aaron Neiman, Life Sciences Building 332 (631) 632-1543

    BCB MS Graduate Program Director
    Neta Dean, Life Sciences Building 310, (631) 632-9309

    Program Administrator
    Pamela Wolfskill, Life Sciences Building 450, (631) 632-8585

    Degree awarded
    Master of Science (MS) in Biochemistry and Cell Biology


    The Graduate School ( requires on-line application submission ( including letters of recommendation. At the Graduate School website you will find an Admissions link to the on-line Application form.