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Biochemistry

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Decoding the Building Blocks

The average person has about 36 billion cells and organisms in their body.

Contained within a tiny fraction of this organic material are the DNA, the blueprints and instructions needed to keep the body regulated, from cell division and organ health, to immune system upkeep and respiration.

Our bodies are walking, talking, functioning reminders that relative size has no bearing on importance or relevance, and that some of the most powerful forces in the universe exist at the smallest level.

All life on Earth depends on biochemical reactions and processes such as these, whether it’s the building of complex proteins in your cells or the conversion of energy by photosynthesis in plants. Life is a cycle and network of biochemical activity.

The Northeastern biochemistry program incorporates the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics to provide a holistic understanding of the mechanisms of life at every scale.

Coursework and Requirements
A sampling of the types of courses you could take here.
Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 4707

Integrates molecular biology and biochemistry in the cellular context. Focuses on the organization and function of eukaryotic cells, including the regulation of nuclear structure and gene expression, signal transduction, protein synthesis and growth, cellular energetics, the cytoskeleton and cell motility, cell division, and cell death. Emphasizes the scientific methodologies and approaches that underlie discovery in cell biology.

Genetics and Molecular Biology
BIOL 2301

Focuses on mechanisms of inheritance, gene-genome structure and function, and developmental genetics and evolution. Examples are drawn from the broad spectrum of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Topics and analytical approaches include transmission genetics, molecular biology and gene regulation, DNA molecular methods, quantitative and population genetics, bioinformatics, genomics, and proteomics.

Introduction to Protein Chemistry
CHEM 4620

Introduces protein chemistry in the context of molecular medicine. Discusses analytical methods used to elucidate the origin, structure, function, and purification of proteins. Surveys the synthesis and chemical properties of structurally and functionally diverse proteins, including globular, membrane, and fibrous proteins. Discusses the role of intra- and intermolecular interactions in determining protein conformation, protein folding, and in their enzymatic activity.

Under the Scope

Starting around sophomore year, Northeastern’s unique co-operative education program allows biochemistry students to explore different pathways and potential careers both locally and around the globe. Hear what previous biochemistry students had to say about their experience with the program:

Brian Cortese, Biochemistry’19

“There’s a lot more to it than just learning the bench and the skills, it’s about how to think, it’s about meeting new people, and it’s really all about the mentorship that will help you reach your potential long term.”

Zoe Bishop, Biochemistry Major

“My first co-op PI was on the admissions board for Harvard Medical School– talk about friends in high places! He’s helped me make important decisions, and I’m very thankful for that level of mentorship.”

Kalil Menezes, Biochemistry Major

Co-op took me to Belgium where I spent weekdays in the neuroscience lab and weekends making unforgettable memories with friends.

Brian

Faculty Labs

Biochemistry
The Research Alliance in Science and Engineering (RAISE)
Vaso Lykourinou
Through integrative education and collaboration between undergraduate chemistry students and faculty mentors, RAISE continues the teaching curriculum beyond the classroom and into the real world.
Biochemistry
Detrich Lab
One central strategy of the Detrich Lab's work is the comparative approach to adaptational evolutionary biology – they use phylogenetically controlled contrasts to evaluate molecular causation in natural experiments, such as the evolution of proteins to function efficiently at cold temperatur..
Biochemistry
Laboratory for Advanced and Multifunctional Polymeric Biomaterials
The overall focus of the research in the Bencherif LAMP Biomaterials Laboratory is the fundamental understanding and development of polymeric materials for biomedical applications with a specific emphasis on tissue engineering, drug delivery, and cancer immunotherapy.
Biochemistry
Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics Group
Max Bi
This reearch group is interested in understanding collective and emergent behavior in out-of-equilibrium and disordered systems. The research employs methods in theoretical and computation condensed matter physics and applies to a wide range of biological and non-biological systems.
Biochemistry
The Engen Lab
John Engen
The Engen Lab uses hydrogen exchange and mass spectrometry (HX MS) as our core technology to probe protein conformation, conformational changes, dynamics, protein folding and the effects of binding.
Biochemistry
The Beuning Lab
Penny Beuning
The Beuning laboratory at Northeastern is focused on understanding the structure-function-dynamics relationships of proteins and enzymes, with a particular focus on proteins involved in DNA metabolism and DNA damage tolerance.
Biochemistry
Wanunu Lab
Meni Wanunu
Professor Wanunu’s research involves studying biosystems at the nanoscale (macromolecular and sub-molecular levels).
Biochemistry
Spring Lab
Bryan Spring
Professor Spring’s group bridges biophysics, biomedical optics and cancer biology to selectively target micrometastases left behind by standard therapies that limit our ability to cure many cancers.
Biochemistry
Cell & tissue Engineering Lab (CEL)
The Asthagiri lab investigates how cancer cells acquire the ability to invade their surroundings, a key early step in the lethal progression to metastasis. They seek to identify robust therapeutic strategies to target cancer cells whose heterogeneity and plasticity make them a "moving target."
Biochemistry
Molecular Bioelectrostatics & Drug Delivery Laboratory
The Bajpayee lab works on drug delivery to connective and charged tissues such as cartilage, meniscus, intervertebral disc and mucosal membranes.
Biochemistry
The Zhang Group
Ke Zhang
The Zhang group develops macromolecular systems to provide answers to important questions in biology and medicine.  
Biochemistry
Auguste Lab
The Auguste lab engineers solutions to address current challenges in medicine. They design, synthesize, and evaluate new biomaterials that change the way we deliver drugs and cells.
Biochemistry
Goluch Group
The primary focus of this research is the development of detection strategies that are tailored for the micro and nanoscale, with emphasis on biological systems.
Biochemistry
Advanced Biomaterials for Neuroengineering Laboratory
The focus of the Advanced Biomaterials for Neuroengineering Laboratory (ABNEL) is developing novel and transformative devices, biomaterials, and biophysical-based therapies for neuropathies in the Central, Peripheral, and Enteric nervous systems.
Biochemistry
The Ebong Lab
The Ebong Lab studies the means by which endothelial cell mechanotransduction occurs in order to prevent or promote atherosclerosis
Biochemistry
The O'Doherty Group
This research group has been working in two related areas of organic synthesis: carbohydrate synthesis and natural product synthesis.  The unifying theme that connects the research in these two areas is the method of synthesis (asymmetric catalysis) and target selection (anti-cancer, anti-viral..
Biochemistry
Lee-Parsons Research Laboratory Website
Carolyn Lee-Parsons
This research group is applying metabolic engineering principles and methodologies to improve the production of important compounds, i.e. critical plant-derived pharmaceuticals or biofuels, from plant cell & tissue cultures and microalgae cultures.
Biochemistry
NeuroLab
NeuroLab focuse on a new invertebrate model for central nervous system regeneration and the development of advanced devices for microscopy and imaging.
Biochemistry
The Amiji Group
The  research effort in the Laboratory of Biomaterials and Advanced Nano-Delivery Systems (BANDS) is focused on the development of biocompatible materials from natural and synthetic polymers, target-specific drug and gene delivery systems for cancer, CNS, inflammatory, and infectious diseases,..
Biochemistry
Sage Lab
J Timothy Sage
Professor Sage’s research is motivated by a fascination with the physical basis for the function of proteins. He develops and applies novel spectroscopic approaches to understand the structure, dynamics, and function of biological macromolecules.
Biochemistry
Whitford Research Group
Paul Whitford
Professor Whitford’s research probes the energetic properties of biomolecular dynamics through a combination of theoretical modeling and high-performance computing (HPC). His investigations of biomolecular order-disorder transitions and energy transduction processes span from protein and ribo..
Biochemistry
Slavov Laboratory
The Slavov Lab studies Ribosome-mediated translational regulation, and single-cell proteomics by mass-spectrometry
Biochemistry
SunnyLand
SunnyLand applies protein chemistry, analysis and engineering to biology and medicine. 
Biochemistry
The Larese-Casanova Research Group
Our current projects are studying the biogeochemical cycling of selenium, the fate of metallic particles in aquatic environments, and ways to improve drinking water treatment using synthesized carbonaceous materials.
Biochemistry
Vollmer Lab
This research group studies the evolution and ecology of marine organisms using cutting-edge, next-generation sequencing, which had revolutionized molecular genetics by providing unprecedented access to the genetic variation in any organism’s genome or transcriptome.
Biochemistry
Laboratory for Neglected Disease Drug Discovery
Michael Pollastri
This research program focuses on those areas of research that will impact on treatment of human disease and on areas that will expedite the drug discovery process.
Biochemistry
Laboratory for Neuromodulation and Neuromuscular Repair
This research focuses on the intersectionality between biomaterials, electronics, nerves, and the heart.
Biochemistry
Advanced Drug Delivery Research Lab
The ADDRES Lab studies interactions between materials and biological systems, with a current focus on the intestinal environment, via development of theoretical and tissue-engineered cell culture models. 
Biochemistry
The Biomedical Optics Research Group
This group studies biomedical optics and non-invasive imaging, rare cell detection and tracking in the body, ultrafast time-domain diffuse optical imaging, image reconstruction and biomedical signal processing.
Biochemistry
Thakur Lab
The Thakur Lab's research has a multi-dimensional aspect with a focus on treating a plethora of diseases and disorders. They target receptors like cannabinoid, nicotinic, and other protein complexes with the intent of designing pharmacotherapy for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, anorexia ne..
Biochemistry
The Biomaterials Design Group
Leila Deravi
The Biomaterials Design Group at Northeastern University works at the interface of bio-analytical chemistry, materials science, and design. We investigate fundamental mechanisms behind systems in biology and use our understanding to better inform the design new classes of protein-based biomater..
Biochemistry
Shefelbine Lab
The Shefelbine Lab studies multiscale mechanics and musculoskeletal mechanobiology.
Biochemistry
Lotterhos Lab
The Lotterhos Lab at Northeastern Marine Science Center seeks to understand how climate has shaped marine biodiversity and how a now rapidly changing climate will affect biodiversity in the future.

News

November 4, 2019

Iron: The Swiss Army Knife for Bacteria

August 21, 2019

They Want to Reveal the Chemistry of Every Enzyme Ever

Professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern are using a combination of computational predictions and experimental testing to explore the connection between the chemical make-up of an enzyme and…
Richard Wamai, an associate professor of cultures, societies, and global studies at Northeastern, helped to build a research and treatment center in Kenya to combat visceral leishmaniasis, the second-most deadly parasitic disease after malaria. Photos by Natalia Jidovanu for Northeastern University
August 12, 2019

A Disease You May Not Have Heard of Kills 20,000 People Every Year. He’s Working to Combat It.

Visceral leishmaniasis causes 20,000 deaths every year, yet many people have never even heard of it. Hopefully, the opening of a new research and treatment center at Chemolingot Hospital will…
The Mexican axolotl salamander can regenerate many body parts, including its limbs and the spinal cord. Photo by Artem Lysenko from Pexels
August 8, 2019

Eye of Newt and Leg of Axolotl: Northeastern University Hosted an International Conference on Salamander Research

Northeastern is proud to have hosted the 2019 Salamander Models in Cross-Disciplinary Biological Research Conference.

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