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Views down the helix axis of A-DNA (top), B-DNA (middle) and Z-DNA (bottom)


Views along the helix axis of A-DNA (left), B-DNA (middle) and Z-DNA (right)

The interface of the biological and chemical sciences presents a dynamic opportunity for the growth in the discipline of chemistry. The overall goal of the Center for Biochemistry and Biophysics CBB, a unit of the Department of Chemistry at SUNYA, is to attract more researchers, to strengthen existing programs and to develop research programs on biological, bioorganic, biomaterial or bionanotechnological problems. These initiatives are consistent with the long-term strategic plans of both the Chemistry Department and the University.

There are three milestones that define the core of these initiatives:

  1. To recruit competitive, high quality, biochemistry or biophysics oriented graduate and postdoctoralstudents.

  2. To obtain joint funding to strengthen the resources for research and teaching.

  3. To offer a biochemistry courses and laboratory for undergraduate education, in adition to strengthening the graduate courses in biochemical sciences.

Currently, the research areas covered include dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids, kinetic mechanism of protein function, structural characterization, protein-nucleic acid, protein-protein and protein-drug interaction, signal transduction pathway and drug design. Various state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation are being used in these research efforts, including rapid kinetic measurements, laser photolysis, modeling, EPR and NMR spectroscopy, and the use of biosensors. These research areas not only cover a wide range of biochemistry and biophysics research, but also provide an excellent foundation for members to collaborate and to obtain joint funding for research projects and training grants.

This Center will actively try to set up joint research efforts with common interests with other centers such as the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics and the CAT.. The Center is alreday working with the University's Institute of Biomolecular Steredynamics in convening continuing Conversations in biological structure, dynamics, interactions and expression.

Graduate and Undergraduate Education
Clearly, there is an urgency for us to implement biochemical instruction in our regular curriculum. This urgency reflects a growing trend to dissolve the traditional boundaries of chemistry while exploring research at the interface of chemistry with, for instance, biology and neuroscience. The instructional programs go hand-in-hand with the research programs. Furthermore, the biochemistry curriculum will play an important part in satisfying ACS curricular requirement and expanding undergraduate enrollments while simultaneously enhancing the viability of our Ph.D. program.

One of the major goals for this center is to provide the training and education in biochemistry at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. We want to prepare our students to be competitive in the rapidly expanding biotech job market. This market will increasingly require chemistry graduates to have the skills and experience in not only chemistry but also in biological sciences and biotechnology. We believe that the training opportunity we provide may also help us, in return, enroll the highest quality graduate and undergraduate students.

The Center plans through its outreach program to educate students at local high schools about biochemistry and biophysics.

Student "Workforce Training" Programs
The students who are highly trained in biological chemistry and biotechnology in the Center can become the workforce for the local and state biotech industries. The biotech industry is high-tech, high-paying, high-profit sector that is a centerpiece of the future development of the New York state economy. This sector has a demand of highly trained workforce, and our programs in the Center aim at training the students not only in science but also in career skills to meet this demand. The specific aims are as follows.

  1. Seminars on career preparations. The Center will give seminars to students on career goals and diversity. The goal is to better inform and prepare the students in choosing the career goals.

  2. Seminars on career skills. The Center will also give seminars on scientific writing and presentation. In particular, curriculum in these seminars includes writing resume, writing grant proposals and research papers, making public presentations and interviews.

  3. Exploring real life experience. The Center will promote students to work in other environments, in accordance with their research programs, to train them for real life experience. These may include other research facilities and local companies.

Takes you to faculty at CBB

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Prof. Li Niu, CBB, Department of Chemistry, The University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY USA 12222
phone: 518-442-4447; fax: 518-452-3462; email:
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