WPI’s PhD degree program in Biochemistry will give you the interdisciplinary knowledge, rigorous research experience, and hands-on practice to thrive in today’s fast-paced and continually evolving Biochemistry research environment.

You will make your own discoveries as you work alongside expert faculty researchers who are conducting groundbreaking research with potential to change the way we live in areas such as health, nanotechnology, biomedical sensors, and clean energy.

You’ll have access to state-of-the-art facilities like our Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, an exceptional, interdisciplinary research environment that enables the kind of advances that have a profound impact on society, human health, and our environment.

Measuring instruments for biochemistry

Curriculum

Our flexible and diverse curriculum encourages students to tailor a program of research and study to their individual career goals. You will complement your immersive research activities with selected courses that enable you to delve into advanced topics of interest in Biochemistry as well as Biology, Biotechnology, Engineering, and more.

You will also have many opportunities to sharpen your professional skills and knowledge: hone your teaching abilities in seminars at WPI’s Morgan Teaching and Learning Center; advance your knowledge in bioprocessing in our newly established Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center; or expand your corporate knowledge through courses in our School of Business.

Research

BCB-01_0.jpg

At WPI, students’ work makes an immediate impact on some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
At WPI, students’ work makes an immediate impact on some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

BCB-02_0.jpg

Students work one-on-one with faculty members to develop a targeted curriculum—so they can combine their interests in science, engineering, and even entrepreneurship.
Students work one-on-one with faculty members to develop a targeted curriculum—so they can combine their interests in science, engineering, and even entrepreneurship.

BCB-03_0.jpg

Whether your interests are in biotech or pharmaceutical fields, or in areas such as energy or rare resources, the opportunities at WPI prepare you for your next steps.
Whether your interests are in biotech or pharmaceutical fields, or in areas such as energy or rare resources, the opportunities at WPI prepare you for your next steps.

BCB-04_0.jpg

Research at WPI is invigorating, exciting, and innovative.
Research at WPI is invigorating, exciting, and innovative.

BCB-05_0.jpg

WPI’s high-tech lab bays are organized by research focus, not departments, and invite multidisciplinary collaboration.
WPI’s high-tech lab bays are organized by research focus, not departments, and invite multidisciplinary collaboration.

BCB-06_0.jpg

The flexible degree program at WPI means your BCB degree offers a comprehensive plan tailored to your professional and personal goals.
The flexible degree program at WPI means your BCB degree offers a comprehensive plan tailored to your professional and personal goals.

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Shawn C Burdette

Shawn Burdette

Associate Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry research in the Burdette group occurs at the interface of synthesis, metal ion homeostasis & signaling, cell biology and photochemistry. The group is developing molecular tools that will facilitate efforts to map cellular metal ion signaling pathways, and understand the pathologies of neurodegenerative diseases. Of particular interest is the development of photocaged complexes that are capable of releasing zinc in a light-dependent manner in biological systems. These tools are designed and synthesized to optimize the temporal and spatial control of zinc release.

[...]
Robert E. Dempski

Robert E. Dempski

Associate Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Our research focus is to combine biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of two classes of membrane proteins. In the first instance, we are investigating the mechanism of a zinc transporter, hZIP4. This protein has been implicated in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. Despite the central role of this protein in cellular homeostasis, the mechanism of cation transport is not well understood. Secondly, we have been investigating the molecular determinants that help to define the functionality of opsin proteins.

[...]
Ron Grimm

Ronald Grimm

Assistant Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

What makes a particular material efficient at converting sunlight to electrical or chemical energy? Conversely, what makes a material a poor energy converter? The Grimmgroup is motivated by quantifying and controlling the bulk and surface properties of solar energy conversion materials. As a research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, we seek an atom- and bond-level understanding of material properties.

[...]
George A. Kaminski

George A. Kaminski

Associate Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

I am a computational physical chemist. My research is in the areas of force field building and applications. Special attention is given to creating polarizable force fields for organic and biophysical systems, including proteins and protein-ligand complexes. I teach classes in physical, computational and general chemistry. Simulations of proteins is very important in biomedical research because proteins play crucial role in a large number of biological phenomena, both benign and harmful.

[...]
Anita Elaine Mattson

Anita Elaine Mattson

Associate Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Research in the Mattson Group is a combination of catalyst design, methodology development, and complex molecule synthesis. Our catalyst design program is focused on the synthesis and study of new families of non-covalent catalysts, including boronate ureas and silanediols, that are able to promote new reactivity patterns. The catalyst design and associated reaction development programs are currently geared toward the synthesis of enantioenriched nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles that frequently appear in naturally occurring bioactive compounds.

[...]
Carissa Perez Olsen

Carissa Perez Olsen

Assistant Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Membranes are composed of hundreds of distinct kinds of phospholipids, and the types of lipids that are found within a membrane bilayer impact its biophysical properties including its fluidity, permeability and susceptibility to damage. Our primary interest is in understanding the mechanisms that control the phospholipid composition and that preserve the membrane over time. We use stable isotope tracing strategies and mass spectrometry to quantify phospholipid abundance and dynamics in the model organism, C. elegans.

[...]
Suzanne Frances Scarlata

Suzanne Frances Scarlata

Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

We are interested in learning how small molecules in the blood stream can cause cells to react in specific ways, such as growing, dividing or migrating. While there are many agents that can stimulate or inhibit cell behavior, we are most interested in the ability of certain hormones and neurotransmitters to activate a family of proteins called "G Proteins". G proteins can simulate an enzyme called phospholipase Cbeta (PLCbeta). Activation of PLCbeta raises the level of calcium in the cell, which changes the activity of many other proteins.

[...]