As the new chair of the Department, I am excited about the opportunity to build on the existing strengths of the current faculty, who have made significant contributions in recent years in epigenetics and chromatin structure, DNA metabolism and carcinogenesis, carbohydrate chemistry, structural biology and cell-cell communication and signaling. Since I arrived, we have added a new genomics and systems biology program to our department and expanded the Genomics Core in the Institution to allow high density sequencing and enhance the capacity for genome wide transcription analysis. We have also expanded our imaging core to provide unparalleled dynamic analysis of individual cells. We have begun to recruit new faculty who will enhance our expertise in genomics and systems level analysis of biological problems, particularly as related to human disease. We plan to continue to expand the department by hiring additional faculty with interest in the new areas of biochemistry and molecular biology afforded by the rapid expansion of technical capabilities and the new discoveries in basic biology.
This is an exciting time to be involved in biomedical research. The explosive growth in performance of instruments of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic analysis coupled with increased sophistication in computational methods has provided molecular biologists with an unprecedented ability to identify genetic and environmental factors that influence susceptibility to diseases and to predict the likely outcome of various treatment options. Accordingly, we have never been better positioned to convert the basic science that emerges from our labs into treatments that can affect the well being of patients. As part of the Penn State College of Medicine, the faculty in our department are well positioned to understand the needs of the clinicians and to transfer successes in our research laboratories back to the clinic. We are fortunate in having close association with clinicians in the College of Medicine and several of our faculty hold joint appointments in clinical programs, such as the Cancer Institute and the Department of Pathology. Moreover, the Center for Pharmacogenetics, the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, the Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute, the Penn State Institute of the Neurosciences, the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine each encompass investigators whose research interfaces closely with the efforts of faculty in the department.
Two years ago, the faculty of the College of Medicine inaugurated the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, a new umbrella program that encompasses most of the basic sciences at Hershey. This gives incoming graduate students the potential to explore research opportunities in a wide variety of laboratories investigating a wide diversity of biological problems. Students also have the opportunity for training in any of a number of concentrations that interrogate biological systems from different perspectives.
Please explore this web site to become acquainted with the Department. If you have questions about the department or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
James R. Broach, Chair
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology