Click on each research group to see a list of BMB faculty in that group.
The highly interdisciplinary research in the Chemistry Department’s biological chemistry area involves both experimental and computational projects. Studies focus on protein structure, nucleic acids, peptides and biomodel systems, and bioinorganic topics. Several faculty work in the bioanalytic area to develop methods with which to probe biological activity and detect biological molecules. In biophysical chemistry, research explores the connections between physical chemistry and the chemical function of biological molecules, including protein folding, nucleic acid structure, biological electron transfer, and macromolecular dynamics.
Cell & Molecular Biology includes a broad range of research opportunities in areas of contemporary molecular biology and cell biology, including developmental biology, cell signaling, gene regulation, apoptosis, systems biology, immunology, cancer biology, metabolism and physiology, genetics and genomics, and microbiology. A variety of approaches are utilized, including genetics, biochemistry, microscopy, and bioinformatics. Scientific questions are explored using a number of model systems covering the evolutionary spectrum, notably humans, mice, rats, sea urchins, zebrafish, frogs, fruit flies, sea anemones, plants, and microorganisms.
The computational and theoretical chemistry group, supported by Boston University’s world class computational resources, is widely considered to form one of the “top 30” theoretical chemistry programs in the United States. There are five associated faculty whose research areas span quantum dynamics, photo-ionization and electron-molecule scattering theory, classical statistical mechanics of dynamical processes in liquids and protein structure and dynamics. Resources and affiliations include the Boston University Center for Computational Science, the Scientific Visualization Group, and the Greater Boston Area, the Atlantic Center for Atomistic Modeling.
Ecology, Behavior & Evolution (EBE) includes exciting and innovative courses and cutting-edge research opportunities in behavioral ecology and sociobiology, molecular ecology and evolution, community ecology, biochemical ecology, population biology, tropical ecology, ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology. Integrative and cross-disciplinary research is strongly encouraged and a broad organismal perspective is emphasized. Faculty research investigates a broad array of organisms, including microbes, protists, fungi, plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals living in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems in both temperate and tropical regions.
Inorganic chemistry is concerned with the properties and behavior of inorganic compounds. This field covers all chemical compounds except the myriad organic compounds (carbon-based compounds, usually containing C-H bonds), which are the subjects of organic chemistry. The distinction between the two disciplines is far from absolute, and there is much overlap, most importantly in the sub-discipline of organometallic chemistry. Inorganic chemistry research in the Department spans the continuum from small molecule systems to metalloproteins, from the investigation of the reactivity properties of synthetic complexes to the use of metal-based reagents for probing protein-DNA interactions.
Boston University has a world-class program in marine biology that is active in training students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The Marine Biology research group includes professors who are leaders in their subdisciplines, including evolutionary and conservation genetics of marine organisms, sensory biology, ichthyology, evolution and development of marine organisms, marine microbial ecology, marine community ecology, and marine conservation science.
The Biology Department’s Neurobiology group addresses fundamental questions about brain and behavior, from the scale of neurons to whole organisms. Our research spans diverse interests ranging from cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability; to network-level analyses of sensory and sensorimotor systems; to the neural circuits underlying natural behaviors like reproduction and vocal learning. Our research efforts also contribute to a better understanding of neural pathologies Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury.
Physical chemical research in the Chemistry Department ranges from the development of analytical methods for environmental contaminants and biomaterials to measurement of the ultrafast reactions of excited molecules in the gas and fluid phases, with a strong emphasis on spectroscopic methods. A specialty subfield is the highly interdisciplinary materials science area which explores the properties of matter as function of composition, structure, and processing. The aims of materials science are to improve existing materials or to introduce new materials with novel properties for applications in chemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering. Another subarea is photonics, which deals with the interaction of light and matter and is highly interdisciplinary. Much of the work in the Chemistry Department occurs at the interfaces of spectroscopy, surface science, fast time-resolved laser phototransient chemistry, and investigations of biomolecule probes. Some Chemistry faculty maintain laboratories in Boston University’s Photonics Research Center, one goal of which is the commercial development of photonics-enabled technologies.
Synthetic organic chemistry is a vital component of Boston University’s commitment to research and teaching in the life sciences. The Department of Chemistry is now at the forefront of new methodologies in the synthesis of complex natural product molecules, macromolecules, stereochemistry, asymmetric synthesis, and catalysis. The scientific creativity, exceptional productivity, and training excellence of our research groups are demonstrated by uninterrupted, large-scale grant support, numerous patents, and highly successful graduate students who have achieved leadership positions in academia, industry, and federal research agencies.