The Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP) is a community of dedicated scholars and talented scientists focused on advancing fundamental understanding of how biomolecules work. Dramatic advances at the genomic level have uncovered the functional importance for many genes in health and disease, but there remains a large gap between current awareness of functional importance and in depth understanding of how gene products work at a molecular, mechanistic level. The focus of research in BCMP lies in the elucidation of molecular mechanisms in biology and disease, emphasizing molecular, structural, and chemical approaches to understanding form and function in biology. The molecular scale investigated in the Department spans from low molecular weight bioactive compounds to proteins, viruses, and other macromolecular assemblies. The research contributions that emerge from investigation and visualization of biological function at the molecular level not only advance understanding of normal molecular physiology and aberrant function in disease, they also directly impact the development of molecularly targeted therapeutics at the dawn of the precision medicine era.
Ours is a community without walls, closely connected to the Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics, a University-wide virtual center for structural biologists and single molecule biophysicists from Harvard and its affiliated hospitals. We anchor the graduate training Program in Biophysics, are one of the founding Departments responsible for creating the graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and home for the Harvard University Program in Therapeutics. Our joint seminar series with the Department of Cell Biology draws renowned scientific leaders to the Harvard Medical School campus weekly, with Hastings, Veatch, Krayer, and Sterling named lectureships as annual highlights. Graduate trainees and fellows share their research discoveries with one another at works-in-progress seminars each Friday, and relax and build camaraderie at happy hour, sponsored by a different lab every week. Our annual retreat in the mountains or on the cape draws us together to connect, build community, and share in lively scientific discussions focused on unpublished advances. Together, our faculty, staff, and trainees comprise an unmatched environment for scientific discovery.