Biological Chemistry

Department of Biological Chemistry

The Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School educates and trains undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and medical students in modern biochemistry.  Our research areas include structural enzymology, protein processing and folding, regulation of gene expression and biochemical signaling. Explore our graduate programs and labs, and some of the cutting-edge work being performed by our faculty.

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Welcome Yan Zhang, Ph.D.

       Yan Zhang, Ph.D.

 CRISPR-Cas is a RNA-guided, genetic interference pathway in prokaryotes that enables acquired immunity against invasive nucleic acids. Nowadays, CRISPRs also provide formidable tools for facile, programmable genome engineering in eukaryotes. Cas9 proteins are the “effector” endonucleases for CRISPR interference; and have recently begun to be also recognized as important players in other aspects of bacterial physiology (e.g. acquisition of new spacers into CRISPRs, endogenous gene regulation, and microbial pathogenesis, etc.).

My laboratory is broadly interested in CRISPR biology and mechanism. We will use Neisseria species as our model system, and E. coli and human cells as additional platforms. We employ complementary biochemical, microbiological, genetic and genomic approaches. We are also interested in working with the broader scientific community to develop and apply novel CRISPR-based tools to tackle diverse biological questions.

Welcome to CRISPR fun! We are very excited to host rotation students, postdocs and undergrads, starting March 2017. Potential trainees are welcome to join us and engage in exciting intellectual pursuits together. Please send applications to

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Welcome Kaushik Ragunathan, Ph.D., January 2017

Kaushik Ragunathan, Ph.D.

Nothing about development in multicellular organisms makes sense except in the light of epigenetics. It captures the remarkable capacity for cells with identical genomes, such as the billion or so cells in our bodies, to differentially regulate their genes and preserve cellular identity throughout the life of the organism. This process is intricately tied to how the genome is organized and packaged by proteins called histones. Molecular labels in the form of histone modifications constitute a major pathway that bookmarks gene expression states in eukaryotic cells without alterations to the underlying DNA sequence. Our goal is to understand how proteins that dynamically interact with modified chromatin domains on the millisecond time scale collaborate to establish gene expression states that last for many generations. Using yeast and mammalian cells as model systems, my laboratory takes a highly interdisciplinary perspective that synthesizes genetics, biochemistry and biophysical approaches to define how cells encode and transmit heritable patterns of gene expression.  Visit my lab website at  Email Kaushik Ragunathan at             


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2016 Biological Chemistry Graduate Students


Catherine Barnier (Western Connecticut State University)
April Kaneshiro (Grand Valley State University)
Sumin Kim (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Beth Rousseau (Wayne State University)
Christine Ziegler (University of Rochester)
Liu Liu (Shanghai Jiaotong University)
Fernando Nunez (Kalamazoo University)
Aushja Syed (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

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Masters in Biochemistry

Applications for Fall 2017

Available September 8th, 2016

Explore our website to learn more about our one-year program.

Read more >>>

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