The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is home to more than thirty well-funded research groups, offering opportunities for research that is fundamental in advancing basic science and at the same time provides knowledge that is being translated to help tackle human diseases. The graduate programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology therefore provide advanced research-based education with the goal of preparing students for a career in academic, industrial or professional positions in British Columbia and beyond.
The Department offers MSc and PhD degree programs, with the option to transfer into the PhD track during the second year. Enrollment in the two programs combined has been steadlily increasing over the last 5 years from about 65 to 90 grads. The requirements for formal course credits are usually completed within the first two academic terms. Course topics include laboratory techniques, nucleic acids, membrane structure and function, cellular regulation, protein chemistry and molecular biology. Additional options include bioinformatics, genome analysis, cell growth and differentiation, bacterial pathogenesis and immuno-genetics. The balance of the program is research intensive and assessed by examination of a dissertation. All students are expected to give a research seminar in each year of their program. It is anticipated that each student will contribute to the successful completion of peer-reviewed publications and will present their work at national and international meetings.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a rich history and on-going record of exceptional academic and research excellence. The Department was home to Nobel Laureate, Michael Smith and his legacy is sustained through involvement of a number of our professors with the Michael Smith Laboratories and the closely-associated Centre for High Throughput Biology. The majority of our research laboratories are located in the Life Sciences Institute, the largest multidisciplinary research hub at UBC. Key features of our research and graduate programs are that they are set up to enable top-notch work, with the very best facilities and with opportunities for collaboration with researchers from a range of disciplines. Research groups in the Life Sciences Institute include those with a focus on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, bacterial and viral diseases, chemical biology, blood research, molecular epigenetics and others. We encourage you to visit the Department website to check out the specific research interests and achievements of the professors in the Department. A number of our professors have developed and maintain major and cutting-edge equipment that underpins research using macromolecular crystallography, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, high-throughput imaging and a range of spectroscopic techniques for macromolecular analysis.
The Department provides tuition benefits to more than half of all students and scholarships to assist with travel to meetings. The Department makes every effort to enable students to gain teaching experience through teaching assistantships, mostly to support teaching in undergraduate laboratory and lecture courses and for which further stipend support is achieved. Overall, the average support package for graduate students exceeds $27,000 per annum.
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Applicants who are interested in nanomaterials synthesis, characterization and application, and nanoscience instrumentation may consider the NanoMat program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities.
Successful applicants to this program will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
66 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 are in non-salaried situations; for 6 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 58 graduates:
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
|2019||Dr. Hashemi discovered five novel small molecules with the ability to reawaken the latent HIV-1 reservoirs without causing toxicity. As an HIV cure could be achieved through elimination of the viral latent reservoirs of infected cells, her research may provide a novel means to abolish the HIV-persistent infection in a patient's body.|
|2019||Dr. Cheung studied the genome targeting mechanism of the Ty1 jumping gene element using budding yeast as a model organism. She discovered the cellular components that Ty1 hijacks. Due to the conservation between Ty1 and retroviruses such as HIV, her work will ultimately help with better design of anti-viral drugs or viral vectors for gene therapy.|
|2019||Yeast is a single-celled organism that has been used to model human biology and disease. Dr. Hamza tested the extent to which human genes can replace the similar yeast genes and operate in a yeast cell. These humanized yeast cells were used as a platform to study mutations found in cancer and model the activity of a cancer specific drug target.|
|2019||Osteoporosis is a disease marked by excessive bone loss and affects one out of three women and one out of five over the age of 50. Dr. Law studied a novel and less side effect prone type of enzyme inhibition which targets bone degradation. This has the potential to be developed into a novel type of anti resorptive drug.|
|2019||Dr. Nanji studied autophagy, a method in which our bodies deal with the destruction of cells. By comparing the autophagy systems of fission yeast and mammals she was able to develop a model of autophagy initiation in fission yeast and humans. This work further unravelled the complicated interactions associated with autophagy.|
|2019||Dr. Novakowski developed new tools for delivering proteins and nucleic acids to platelets, which are small cells required to stop the flow of blood during injury. This may ultimately lead to platelets with an improved ability to stop bleeding, and potentially extend the range of diseases that can be treated using platelets.|
|2019||Dr. Hur identified how the fibrinolytic system regulates coagulation factor XIII. He then investigated the significance of this regulation during thrombolytic therapy for deep vein thrombosis. His work aims to improve treatment for thrombosis patients.|
|2018||Dr. Kulkarni studied nanoparticles to enable gene therapies for the treatment of liver diseases. Through his research, he overturned the existing paradigm of the structure of these nanoparticles; proposed a novel structure; and re-engineered the nanoparticles for diagnostics and gene therapy applications.|
|2018||Dr. Whitfield studied the machinery that drives the formation of clathrin-coated vesicles, the 'transport vans' of the cell. He identified several new components of this machinery, helping us to understand a fundamental cellular trafficking process implicated in a range of neurological and inflammatory diseases.|
|2018||Dr. Wong King Yuen muscled in on the calcium channels, which play a crucial role in skeletal and cardiac muscle contraction. Her research characterized a novel interaction between an adaptor protein and the voltage-gated calcium channel. This work furthers our understanding of how an electrical action potential is converted into muscle contraction.|
Possible areas of research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology include: control of gene expression in eukaryotes and bacteria; structure and function of genes; systems biology; blood proteins; the mechanism of the action of insulin; membrane and membrane protein structure and function; protein trafficking; cell-surface receptors, signal transduction, and cell-growth control; neural and retinal photoreceptor membranes; lipid-based targeted delivery systems; macromolecular crystallography and X-ray diffraction techniques for the characterization of enzymes and protein complexes; metalloprotein structure and function; mechanisms of enzyme activity; mechanism of hemoprotein electron transfer; structural analysis of proteins by nuclear magnetic resonance; mechanisms of multi-drug resistance; and cancer.
I was interested in working with my supervisor, Dr Natalie Strynadka, who is a world leading expert in structurally characterizing proteins involved in pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance. Another factor in my decision to study here is that UBC has an excellent reputation for research in the...