Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Department Information: 
4007 LSB

The fields of microbiology and molecular biology are closely intertwined and are at the center of some of the most exciting current advances in the biological sciences. With the sequencing of various host and microbial genomes, and the acceleration of technologies for functional genomics and microbial community evaluation, opportunities for significant advances are open to students in our programs.

Graduate programs in Microbiology and Molecular Biology (MMBIO) emphasize a combination of coursework and laboratory experience with an emphasis on the latter.  Students are expected to produce a significant body of original research. Our students regularly collaborate on interdisciplinary projects with faculty and students outside of our department. Supporting courses in microbiology and molecular biology may include appropriate courses from various departments in the colleges of Life Sciences, and Physics and Mathematical Sciences. Completion of MMBIO degree programs in the department qualifies students for further graduate study at other universities; employment in educational, industrial, medical, and research institutions; or postdoctoral opportunities leading to careers as research or academic scientists.

The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology offers two degrees: Microbiology and Molecular Biology—MS, and Microbiology and Molecular Biology—PhD. Typically there are about thirty graduate students in the department at any time. Approximately one half are PhD students and the rest are M.S. students. Average times in the programs are about two years for an MS degree, about three years beyond a master’s for the PhD degree, and about five years for the PhD, going directly from the bachelor’s without the master’s degree.

Department Chair: Joel Griffitts
Graduate Coordinator: Steve Johnson

Resources & Opportunity: 

Electron Optics Laboratory. Researchers can accomplish all standard electron optics procedures. The laboratory has transmission and scanning electron microscopes equipped with X-ray microanalysis capabilities, plus accessory equipment for freeze-fracture, freeze-drying, and necessary support facilities, including confocal laser scan microscopy.

Research Instrumentation Core (RIC) Facility. The RIC houses specialized equipment for use by researchers at BYU. It is equipped with a flow cytometer analyzer and sorter, imaging systems for gels and blots, high-speed centrifuge, plate readers for fluorescence, luminescence, absorbance and radioactivity detection, fluorescent microscope with digital imaging capacity, nanodrop spectrophotometer, microarray scanner, and gas chromatography microbial identification system.

DNA Sequencing Center provides advanced, efficient, and economical services for DNA sequence and DNA fragment acquisition and analysis. Equipment includes illumina Hi-Seq 2500, Applied Biosystems 3730xi DNA Analyzer, Applied Biosystems 3100 Genetic Analyzer, Parallab 350, Genetix QPix2XT, and Sequencer Software.

Proteomics and Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility offers instrumentation to resolve complex proteomes and to identify and characterize the component proteins. Instrumentation assists in identifying proteins in the femtomole range, noncovalent protein interactions, and post-translational modifications, and determining differences in protein expression. The facility is equipped with an Applied Biosystem QSTAR Pulsar Hybrid QqToF Mass Spectrometer and 2D Gel technologies.

Cancer Research Center is an independent organization with members coming from the Colleges of Life Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Health and Human Performance, and Physical and Mathematical Sciences. A primary goal of the Cancer Research Center is to provide a rigorous research training program for students. Our ultimate goal is to find a cure through research and education.

Other Campus Facilities include a microscopy lab, greenhouses, gardens, arboretum, small-animal vivarium, and tissue culture rooms.

Faculty research interests currently include DNA replication, gene regulation, virology, immunology, cancer biology, pathogenesis, host-microbe interactions, molecular evolution, microbial ecology, and clinical lab science.

Financial Assistance: 

Teaching and research assistantships are offered by the department.