The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State began in 1967 through a merging of biochemists, primarily from the Chemistry Department, with biophysicists from the then Department of General Science. The department came to prominence in the mid-1970s, primarily on the strength of biophysical discoveries on the structure of chromatin, carried out in the laboratories of Ken van Holde and the late Irvin Isenberg. Since 1978, with the arrival at OSU of Christopher Mathews as chairman and continuing with the current Department Head Andy Karplus, the department maintains leadership both in molecular biophysics and in the most central areas of biochemistry. A brief history of the leadership of the department through its first fifty years is provided here. Because biochemistry and biophysics lie at the heart of all life sciences, we work closely with biologists throughout the OSU community.
Our mission in Biochemistry & Biophysics is: to be a diverse, inclusive community that serves students, our professions and the public through innovative education, individualized advising, holistic mentoring and cutting-edge molecular life science research that creates knowledge and solves real-life problems. And accomplishing this mission entails being a diverse and inclusive community that:
- provides excellent, pedagogically effective classroom/laboratory training for students at Oregon State University and around the world
- provides caring, individualized advising for our majors that helps prepare them for success in their chosen careers and in life
- develops innovative educational resources
- performs significant original research into the myriad of molecular mechanisms underlying life and disease, creates marketable technologies that practically benefit society, and provides transformative hands-on training for undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows
- provides service and leadership to our professional communities and through effective outreach helps educate the public about our discipline and the value of science.
With about 300 majors enrolled, we offer the only undergraduate program in Oregon leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry & Biophysics and also offer a degree program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Our majors are among the top students at Oregon State University, and are highly successful in their applications to medical and dental schools, graduate school, pharmacy and other professional schools. We also offer a complete graduate curriculum with about 30 students enrolled in Ph.D and Master's degree programs. Our faculty's active research programs provide research training for both undergraduates and graduate students.
If there is one word that best characterizes the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State University today, that word is interdependence. In both our teaching and research, we put ourselves at the service of biologists all over campus, in Agriculture, Chemistry, Forestry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Nutrition, Engineering and other applied sciences. At the same time we draw strength from students and colleagues from other departments, colleges, and centers. Four of our fifteen tenured and tenure-track faculty hold primary appointments in the Linus Pauling Institute, which studies micronutrients and antioxidants in relation to human health. The faculty is also highly integrated with the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing and the Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program on campus. In addition, nine faculty from all over campus hold affiliate appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and they enrich our programs. Within the department, we provide strength in many arenas of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, including structural biology, enzymology, metabolic regulation, signal transduction, protein chemistry, development, gene expression, epigenetics, cell cycle control, and cell movement and adhesion.
"2014 BB Faculty Retreat with then College of Science Dean Sastry Pantula"