The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics was founded in 1977 as the first molecular biology department in the country and since then has expanded to include many areas of biology. Besides the undergraduate program, the department offers graduate degrees at the masters and PH.D. levels. All faculty are active in research and teaching and place great emphasis on student participation in class and in research activities. The students gain a solid foundation in biology through lecture and laboratory courses and practical experience by taking part in research projects. The department's aim is to prepare students for a promising future in research,and as a result, a large percentage of graduates pursue graduate studies in the country and abroad.
In the first two undergraduate years, core courses (mathematics, physics, chemistry, introductory biology) provide a strong scientific background. In the third and fourth years, students combine required courses in biochemistry, microbiology, cell biology, genetics and laboratory techniques with electives in specialized topics, such as developmental biology, plant genetics, human genetics and immunology. Double major programs with the mathematics, physics, chemistry and chemical engineering departments are available.
The Graduate Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. It aims to provide updated background knowledge, experience in literature review and skill for designing and performing experiments in this rapidly expanding field.
The department is one of the leading centers of research in molecular biology and human molecular genetics in the country and has long-established studies in genetic diagnosis for common disorders. Currently, research is conducted on the identification of novel human genes and the genetic and molecular mechanisms responsible for cancer, epilepsy, hemophilia, neurodegenerative disorders, peripheral neuropathies and thalassemia Other ongoing major research topics include translation mechanisms in bacteria, signal transduction, roles of growth factors in the development of rat retina, identification of novel genes responsible for rust resistance in wheat, innate immune signaling and apoptosis.
An average of 40 graduate students are enrolled in the department, 5-10 students are admitted every year into the program. 11 Ph.D. and 14 M.S. degrees have been awarded in the last five years.