The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is proud to offer programs that lead to M.S., Ph.D. and dual M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Our robust, comprehensive programs prepare students for successful careers as independent investigators and teachers in academia, government and biotechnology.

At the core of each degree program is an independent research project, conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Student research projects can be developed in a broad range of areas related to biochemistry and cell and molecular biology, including:

  • Lipid signaling and metabolism
  • Lipidomics
  • Genomics
  • Inflammation and asthma
  • Cardiovascular
  • Neuroscience
  • Cancer
  • Structural biology

View our courses

Our Programs

For students in VCU’s Premedical Graduate Sciences Certificate Program (CERT) interested in pursuing a master’s degree in biochemistry, please contact Dr. Kordula:

Information for Applicants

How to Apply

Ph.D. Program

Apply through the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal

M.S. Program

Apply through VCU Graduate Admissions

Information for international applicants is available here

Life in Richmond

Urban life with a small-town feel

We encourage our students and researchers to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and Richmond is a wonderful place to engage in that well-rounded lifestyle. As the capital of Virginia since 1779, Richmond attracts students, faculty and staff from around the globe. The city’s location affords easy day trips to destinations like Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge Mountains, among others.

As a mid-sized city with a metropolitan population of 1.3 million, Richmond provides stimulating activities while maintaining its intimate feel and unique vibe. Vibrant neighborhoods offer distinct, diverse experiences, with no shortage of art galleries, museums, music venues, restaurants, breweries and parks. For the outdoor enthusiast, you can’t beat the offerings in the city’s riverfront parks and urban wilderness areas such as white-water rafting, hiking, mountain biking and festivals.

Learn more about our community

M.S. Students

  • Coleman Adams
    Advisor: Tomasz Kordula, Ph.D.
  • Christopher Blake
    Advisor: Daniel Miller, Ph.D.
  • Loc Bui
    Advisor: Rene Olivares-Navarette, D.D.S., Ph.D.
  • Crist Cuffee
    Advisor: Qinglian Liu, Ph.D.
  • Alexus Harris
    Advisor: Janina Lewis, Ph.D.
  • Tianhai He
    Advisor: Xianjun Fang, Ph.D.
  • Sunaina Malhotra
    Advisor: Paul Dent, Ph.D.
  • Megan Thompson
    Advisor: Swati Deb, Ph.D.


Ph.D. Students

  • Elsamani Abdelfadiel
    Advisor: Umesh Desai, Ph.D.
  • Katherine Boyd
    Advisor: Can Senkal, Ph.D.
  • Gene Clark
    Advisor: Ross Mikkelsen, Ph.D.
  • James Hampton
    Advisor: Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D.
  • Briana James
    Advisor: Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D.
  • Janay Little
    Advisor: Michael Donnenberg, M.D.
  • Usha Mahawar
    Advisor: Brian Wattenberg, Ph.D.
  • Karli Mockenhaupt
    Advisor: Tomasz Kordula, Ph.D.
  • Rahaman Navaz Gangji
    Advisor: Umesh Desai, Ph.D.
  • David Sweeney
    Advisor: John Hackett, Ph.D.
  • Johana Lambert
    Advisor: L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.
  • Maryam Jamil
    Advisor: L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.
  • Anna Kovilakath
    Advisor: L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.
  • Yolander Valentine
    Advisor: L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.
  • Alexandra Straus
    Advisor: Can Senkal, Ph.D.