Our department is committed to the development of new scientists and researchers. The faculty are internationally recognized researchers who work at the cutting edge of science, maintaining externally funded laboratories that investigate an array of exciting questions. We have both a strong undergraduate major and a thriving graduate program in Biochemistry, and many of our significant discoveries are being made by undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers working closely with our faculty. We invite you to explore what we have to offer, bring us your curiosity and your talent, and join us in our search for answers.

Here are a few areas in which we are making an impact:

  • Biochemistry Education
  • Metabolism and Metabolic Engineering
  • Structural and Chemical Basis of Protein Function
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
  • Plant and Microbial Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Biochemistry Department Highlights
"Creating Reactions, Forming Bonds"

DiRusso named a Jefferson Science Fellow

Concetta DiRusso

April 23, 2014 -- Concetta DiRusso, biochemistry professor, has been selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow for 2014-15.  The fellowship, which begins in August, includes work in Washington, D.C., and abroad.

She was chosen from a large number of professors nationwide who are accomplished in the fields of science and engineering.

"I am very excited to have this opportunity and hope this experience will be of use in furthering UNL's science and technology goals," she said.

DiRusso will begin her fellowship in August. She will be working in Washington, D.C., with occasional trips abroad.

DiRusso's current research programs focus on understanding the biochemical basis of lipid disorders, including obesity that leads to diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular diseases; developing drugs to prevent obesity-related diseases; and identifying small compound activators of lipid production in algae for use in renewable bifules.

Her research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more about DiRusso here.

The Jefferson Science Fellowship establishes a new model for engaging the American academic science, technology, engineering and medical communities in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. The JSF program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership among the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Written by:  Heather Haskins | IANR News

Paul Black is the 2014 Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist

Paul Black photo 4-14-14

April 14, 2014 -- Dr. Paul Black was selected by the UNL Chapter of Sigma Xi to receive the Outstanding Scientist Award, which is based on lifetime achievements in research. He will receive this award at the Sigma Xi Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the City Campus Union on the evening of May 1, 2014.

Biochemistry Club is UNL 2014 Outstanding Student Organization

Congratulations, Biochemistry Club!

April 14, 2014 -- At the CASNR Week Banquet last night, you won for the 2014 Outstanding Student Organization: Philanthropy and Service for your work at the UNL Children's Center. In addition to a bag of chocolates (stop by my office to snack on them), you also were awarded $100 that will be placed in our RSO SOFS account. Congratulations! I'm so very proud of you and your hard work.

Best wishes,

Britta Osborne
Chief Academic Advisor, Biochemistry

Donald Weeks Receives ORCA Award


April 7, 2014 -- Donald Weeks, Ph.D., Maxcy Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the Department of Biochemistry at UNL receives the Outstanding Reseach and Creative Activity award. Weeks' scientific contributions have earned him international stature and will have a significant impact on biological sciences, agriculture and the biofuels industry well into the future. At UNL, Weeks has served as the director of the Center for Biotechnology, growing the university's molecular biology program at a time when it had been lagging in expertise. He also was founding director of the Nebraska EPSCoR program, which has attracted well over $100 million in research and infrastructure to Nebraska campuses. Weeks also served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry, providing leadership that grew the department into one of the university's most prestigious. Weeks' research recently resulted in the major breakthrough of engineering dicamba resistance in crop plants, offering farmers a powerful new weed control option.

Congratulations Dr. Weeks!

Ashley Thelen Awarded a Three-year NSF pre-doctoral fellowship

April 2, 2014 -- Ashley Thelen (Undergraduate Biochemistry major) has been awarded a three-year National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship to pursue graduate studies in biomedical research beginning in Fall 2014. The awards are highly competitive and based on the meritorious review of an original research proposal submitted by the student in addition to their academic and research accomplishment. Ashley is a Beckman Scholar and an ARD Honors student doing research co-advised by Drs. Melane Simpson and Joe Barycki. Results of her research on structural and functional characterization of an enzyme critical for embryonic development and cancer progression were published last year in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Congratulations Ashley!

Graduate Student Nicole Milkovic Receives Two Awards

March 5, 2014 -- Nicole Milkovic (Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Predoctoral Trainee) received two awards.

  • National Association of Colleges and Teachers Agriculture (NACTA) Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit Certificate
  • College Reading & Learning Association's (CRLA) International Tutor Training Program Certification Level 1

Congratulations Nicole!

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GRAD Application Deadlines:

Sept. 1 -- for Spring
               Studies begin Jan. 1

Evaluations for Fall begin Dec. 15
               Studies begin Aug. 1