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Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Program Overview

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology MS Program Description

    The Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology offers a graduate program for the Master of Science degree. This ~1.5 year MS program is designed to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, biotechnology, or further advanced studies in health and life sciences. Our pool of faculty represents diverse research interests spanning biochemistry, genetics, cell, molecular, and structural biology.  

    To document our success, here are some numbers. In the eleven years since its inception, we’ve admitted 129 students (about 10-12 per year). 95% of those students graduated (122 out of the 129 who were admitted). Of these 122 graduates, 84% have continued in health science related careers. 43 students entered Ph.D. programs; 15 were admitted to medical, dental or veterinarian schools; the remainder obtained positions as Research technicians. Our graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at top-notch research institutes or medical schools, including NYU, Thomas Jefferson University, Albert Einstein, Cornell, Mt. Sinai, Rockefeller, Case Western, Stony Brook, Rutgers, Purdue, Imperial College (UK), Cold Spring Harbor, Scripps, Univ. Utah, Univ. Indiana, UC Santa Cruz. The private sector has also benefited from our graduates, who have obtained positions at Regeneron, Pfizer, Sloan Kettering, Pillar Biosciences, Nanoprobes to name just a few. One student is a regulatory lawyer for the FDA in Washington, DC.  


    Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program

    Wali Karzai, Life Sciences Building 332 (631) 632-1688

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

    Program Administrator
    Pamela Wolfskill, Life Sciences Building 450, (631) 632-8558

    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 for admission in the Fall.

    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 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 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, 4 credits.) Note that one semester of BCB 559 is required for the MS but this course, in which students earn credit for their lab research, can be repeated for additional 0-4 elective credits/semester)

    BCB 599 MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer, 3 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

    Michael Airola – Structural biology of lipid modifying enzymes

    Paul M. Bingham - Genetic control of development and gene expression in animals

    Vitaly Citovsky - Nuclear targeting and intercellular communication in plants

    Neta Dean - Glycosylation; fungal pathogenesis

    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

    Chi-Kuo Hu -Biology of dormancy during development and aging, with the African killifish as the main research organism.

    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

    Dada Pisconti ,  Muscle stem cells; muscle development, regeneration and aging; muscular dystrophy; extracellular matrix; biology of proteoglycans

    Steven Smith - Structure and function of membrane proteins

    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

    David Green- Affiliated Assistant Professor. Computational biology of protein interactions.

    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

    Scott Laughlin -. Chemical neuroscience. Design and application of optical probes for imaging neural circuitry. 

    Department of Medicine

    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

    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

    Nicolas Carpino - Positive and Negative Regulation of T cell Receptor Signaling

    Bruce Futcher - Cell cycle, cyclins, and yeast genetics

    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

    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

    Department of Neurobiology and Behavior

    Maurice Kernan - Molecular basis of mechanical senses

    Howard Sirotkin - Genetic and molecular analysis of early vertebrate development

    Lonnie Wollmuth - Molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission

    Department of Oral Biology and Pathology

    Department of Pathology

    Jiang Chen - Skin and hair follicle development, maintenance and malignancy

    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

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

    Department of Pharmacological Sciences

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

    Christopher Brownlee -(AgingCancerCardiovascularChemical BiologyLipid BiologyMitochondrial BiologyNeuropharmacologySignalingStem Cells)

    Molecular mechanisms of spindle orientation, ciologenesis, polarity, cytokinesis and axonogenesis.

    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

    Chioma Okeoma (CancerInfectious Diseases) Mechanisms of virus-host and tumor-host interactions

    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.

    Markus Seeliger - Mechanism of Protein kinases and Ubiquitin Ligases in Cancer and Aging

    Ken-Ichi Takemaru - Wnt Signaling in Development and Disease

    Dongyan Tan (CancerDNA Damage Repair) Structure and function of macromolecules in epigenetic regulation

    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

    Todd Miller - Tyrosine phosphorylation and signal transduction

    Thomas White - Molecular biology and physiology of gap junction channels

  • Contact

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) MS Program

    Wali Karzai, Life Sciences Building 332 (631) 632-1688

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

    Program Administrator
    Pamela Wolfskill, Life Sciences Building 450, (631) 632-8558

    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.