Course Catalog



Mark A. Krasnow, PhD

Department web site:

Faculty of Biochemistry:

Department Offices:

Beckman Center, B400
Mail Code: 5307
Phone: (650) 723-6161

Courses offered by the Biochemistry Department are listed under the subject code BIOC on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Biochemistry is a department within the School of Medicine, with offices and labs located in the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine at the Stanford Medical Center. Courses offered by the department may be taken by undergraduates as well as graduate and medical students.

Advanced courses offered in more specialized areas emphasize the most recent developments in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology. These courses include the physical and chemical principles of biochemistry, enzyme reaction mechanisms, membrane trafficking and biochemistry, molecular motors and the cytoskeleton, mechanisms and regulation of nucleic acid replication and recombination, the biochemistry of bacterial and animal viruses, the molecular basis of morphogenesis, the molecular and cell biology of yeast, and the structure and function of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic chromosomes.

Opportunities exist for directed reading and research in biochemistry and molecular biology, utilizing the most advanced research facilities, including those for light and electron microscopy, chromatography and electrophoresis, protein and nucleic acid purification, rapid kinetic analysis, synthesis and analysis, single molecule analyses using laser light traps, microarray generation and analysis and computer graphic workstation facilities for protein and nucleic acid structural analysis. Ongoing research utilizes a variety of organisms, from bacteria to animal cells.



The department does not offer undergraduate degrees.

The Department of Biochemistry offers a PhD program which begins in the Autumn Quarter of each year. The program of study is designed to prepare students for productive careers in biochemistry; its emphasis is training in research, and each student works closely with members of the faculty. In addition to the requirement for a PhD dissertation based on original research, students are required to complete six advanced courses in biochemistry and related areas among the 135 total units required for the PhD. Selection of these courses is tailored to fit the background and interests of each student. A second requirement involves the submission of two research proposals, which are presented by the student to a small committee of departmental faculty members who are also responsible for monitoring the progress of student curricular and research programs, and a journal club presentation. All PhD students are expected to participate actively in the department’s seminar program, and students are encouraged to attend and to present papers at regional and national meetings in cellular biochemistry and molecular biology. Teaching experience is an integral part of the PhD curriculum and is required for the degree.

The Department of Biochemistry offers an MS degree only to students already enrolled in the PhD program. Students should contact the Graduate Studies advisor for more details.

Those applying for graduate study should have at least a baccalaureate degree and should have completed work in cell and developmental biology, basic biochemistry and molecular biology, and genetics. Also required are: at least one year of university physics; differential and integral calculus; and organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. The department is especially interested in those applicants who have research experience in biology or chemistry. Students must submit an application, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, by December for admission in the following Autumn Quarter.

Applications should be submitted at Applicants are notified by March 31 of decisions on their applications. Stanford University requires scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (verbal, quantitative, and analytical), and applicants are encouraged to submit scores from the GRE Subject Test in biochemistry, biology, or chemistry. Applicants should take the October GRE exam.

All applicants are urged to compete for non-Stanford fellowships or scholarships, and U.S. citizens should complete an application for a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Traineeship. Students are provided with financial support to cover normal living expenses; Stanford tuition costs are paid.

Applicants for admission to the department are considered without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, or marital status.

Postdoctoral research training is available to graduates who hold a PhD or an MD degree. Qualified individuals may write to individual faculty members for further information.

At present, the primary research interests of the department are the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids, the biochemistry and control of development processes, molecular motors and the cytoskeleton, the trafficking of proteins between membrane-bound organelles, the control and regulation of gene expression, bioinformatics/protein structure design, and the application of microarrays to problems in human health and disease.


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