model of molecular structure

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Chair’s Welcome

Philip Howe, Ph.D.Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Established in 1969, the department is committed to increasing our understanding of the biochemical and molecular bases of normal and abnormal cellular processes, and to educating highly qualified scientists who, through research, education, and service, will continue to provide new insights in the biological sciences. With 25 faculty members conducting research in a variety of areas, the department provides cutting-edge curricula and innovative research opportunities.

The research areas of our faculty include:

  • Gene structure, function, and regulation
  • Molecular evolution and genetics
  • Signal transduction
  • RNA structure and function
  • Lipid biochemistry and metabolism
  • Protein structure, folding, and dynamics

Multidisciplinary approaches are being applied in most of these research areas, providing graduate students with numerous opportunities to obtain a versatile training in modern molecular biology and biochemistry. In addition, the department is home to a major research program in Lipidomics & Pathobiology.

Thank you for your interest in our department and for visiting our website. We welcome your inquiries.

Philip H. Howe, Ph.D.

Department Highlights

  • Dr. Natalie Saini received a nomination from the students for her teaching in the COM HRR theme.

  • Dr. Annamarie Dalton received the Golden Apple Award for teaching the COM MMT theme.

  • Dr. Ozgur Sahin received the College of Medicine Research Excellence Award. He was recognized for his work and article, "Toxic PARP trapping upon cAMP-induced DNA damage reinstates the efficacy of endocrine therapy and CDK4/6 inhibitors in treatment-refractory ER+ breast cancer", published by Nature Communications Nov. 2, 2023.
  • Dr. Natalie Saini received Established Investigator Grant from the National Scleroderma Foundation - This is a 2 year grant ($200,000 total for both years). The grant application aims to understand the mutation burden and the causes of genome instability in patients with scleroderma. Dr. Saini's group hypothesize that genome instability in these patients contributes to carcinogenesis.
  • Dr. Besim Ogretmen received the 2023 Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award. It recognizes individuals at MUSC who have excelled in mentoring faculty in obtaining research support from private and public organizations or government agencies.
  • Dr. Wenjian Gan received the 2023 MUSC Developing Scholar Award in Basic Science, which recognizes junior faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the university's research mission and to promote the continued development of the scholars. He also received the Early Career Faculty Travel Award for the 2023 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington and the College of Medicine Research Excellence Award for his research article titled "Arginine methylation of BRD4 by PRMT2/4 governs transcription and DNA repair" published in Science Advances, Volume 8, Issue 49, 09 December 2022.
  • Dr. Lu Han, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Ostrowski's laboratory, received 5-year K99 award (2 years postdoc + 3 independent faculty) titled "Origin, diversification and function of pancreatic cancer associated fibroblasts"
  • 2022 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Mentor of the Year. Dr. Visu Palanisamy was voted by Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students, staff, and other full-time trainees as having been exceptionally helpful in mentoring for their career. Congratulations to Dr. Visu Palanisamy, and thank you for your time giving back to our scientific community.
  • Dr. David Long received Eminent Scholar Award from the College of Medicine which provides 3 years of support to establish and lead a new scientific cluster.
  • College of Medicine Research Excellence Award. Dr. Joe Delaney was recognized for his work and article titled "SWAN pathway-network identification of common aneuploidy-based oncogenic drivers," published in Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 50, Issue 7, 22 April 2022.
  • Dr. Je-Hyun Yoon's publication titled: NEAT1 is essential for metabolic changes that promote breast cancer growth and metastasis has been selected by Interim Dean, Dr. Terry Steyer to be honored by the College of Medicine.
  • 12th Annual JBECDM Scholars Day 2022 - Megan Sheridan, from Dr. Ogretmen's lab, was awarded 1st place for the PhD (5+year) presentation category in Dental Scholars Day organized by College of Dental Medicine. Presentation title: The Role of Porphyromonas gingivalis in Mediating Ceramide-dependent Mitophagy in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
  • 2021 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Mentor of the Year. Dr. David Long was voted by Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students, staff, and other full-time trainees as having been exceptionally helpful in mentoring for their career. Congratulations to Dr. David Long, and thank you for your time giving back to our scientific community.
  • Dr. Joe Delaney was awarded the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute's Discovery Award to research copy number alterations in understudied Black women's ovarian cancers. He was also awarded the Hollings Cancer Center's Pre-Clinical Concept Award to research the Combination Of Autophagy Selective Therapeutics (COAST) in serous ovarian cancer.