Biochemistry

In the Biochemistry Department, we are a vigorous group of scientists and trainees dedicated to the expansion and transmission of knowledge about the biological world. Our particular focus is the characterization of macromolecules and biological processes at the molecular level. Research groups in the department address the structure of biological macromolecules, the mechanisms by which they function, and the possible applications to research technology and to medicine.

Latest News

University of Utah Biochemist Is 1 of 4 Researchers Globally to Receive JDRF Grants to Develop ‘Smart’ Glucose-Responsive Insulin
Research
Feb 25, 2016

University of Utah Biochemist Is 1 of 4 Researchers Globally to Receive JDRF Grants to Develop ‘Smart’ Glucose-Responsive Insulin

diabetes, type 1 diabetes

University of Utah biochemist Danny Chou, Ph.D., is one of four researchers worldwide to receive a grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi US Services Inc. to develop glucose-responsive insulin to help millions of people with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) maintain proper blood glucose levels. ... Read More

Biochemistry
A Molecular Noose Caught in the Act
Research
Dec 03, 2015

A Molecular Noose Caught in the Act

One of the most fundamental challenges that a cell faces is how to bring membranes that are far apart, close together. New research in Science shows how cellular machinery, called ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport), accomplishes this essential task. ... Read More

Biochemistry

Faculty Spotlight

Most people are familiar with double-stranded DNA, the helical molecule that stores our genetic information. Brenda Bass has spent her entire career studying a related (but more interesting!) helix, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). When Brenda first began her studies of dsRNA, most people believed that only viruses made dsRNA. It is now clear that animal cells, including human cells, encode and synthesize dsRNA. In fact, Brenda and her laboratory have recently determined the long dsRNAs that are expressed in our genomes---there are thousands. Her laboratory performs experiments aimed at understanding the functions of cellular dsRNA, and importantly, how our cells distinguish these molecules from viral dsRNA. When cells detect viral dsRNA they trigger an immune response to fight the infection, and it is important that cells don't trigger an immune response to their own dsRNA. Her laboratory uses biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and bioinformatics, to make progress on these questions.
 Brenda is well known for her contributions in defining dsRNA-mediated pathways, including the discovery of ADAR RNA editing enzymes, and models and experiments that established Dicer's role in RNA silencing. Her contributions in these areas have been acknowledged by her election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During her career she has received research support from the Pew Scholars Program, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and in 2011 she received the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award. Brenda obtained her B.A. in chemistry from Colorado College, and her Ph.D. in chemistry studying "ribozymes" with Tom Cech at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with the late Hal Weintraub, prior to joining the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine. 
Bass Website

Most people are familiar with double-stranded DNA, the helical molecule that stores our genetic information. Brenda Bass has spent her entire career studying a related (but more interesting!) helix, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). When Brenda first began her studies of dsRNA, most people believed that only viruses made dsRNA. It is now clear that animal cells, including human cells, encode and synthesize dsRNA. In fact, Brenda and her laboratory have recently determined the long dsRNAs that are expressed in our genomes---there are thousands. Her laboratory performs experiments aimed at understanding the functions of cellular dsRNA, and importantly, how our cells distinguish these molecules from viral dsRNA. When cells detect viral dsRNA they trigger an immune response to fight the infection, and it is important that cells don't trigger an immune response to their own dsRNA. Her laboratory uses biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and bioinformatics, to make progress on these questions.

 Brenda is well known for her contributions in defining dsRNA-mediated pathways, including the discovery of ADAR RNA editing enzymes, and models and experiments that established Dicer's role in RNA silencing. Her contributions in these areas have been acknowledged by her election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During her career she has received research support from the Pew Scholars Program, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and in 2011 she received the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award. Brenda obtained her B.A. in chemistry from Colorado College, and her Ph.D. in chemistry studying "ribozymes" with Tom Cech at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with the late Hal Weintraub, prior to joining the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine. 

Bass Website

Help Progress, Give Today

You can help the Department of Biochemistry continue to progress with even a small contribution.

Give Today!

Upcoming Events

View Calendar