Studying Microbiology in Canada
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
|Simon Fraser University
The Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry offers a flexible graduate program leading to the degrees of Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Research areas in this dynamic, young department are diverse, and include bacterial pathogenicity, antibody-mediated immunology, peptide libraries and phage display, microbial protein structure and function, biomembranes/lipids, bioinformatics, yeast cholesterol genetics, cellular and molecular embryogenesis, developmental genetics, DNA nanotechnology, nucleic acid biochemistry, ribozymes, enzymology and enzyme engineering, genomics and proteomics, signal transduction, and x-ray crystallography. This diversity facilitates interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations. This department formed in the year 2000 from a previous SFU Institute, the IMBB. This Institute is noted for producing a significant number of prominent researchers who have gone on to become, for example, a coordinator of NCBI's Genbank or play leadership roles in international pharmaceutical companies and other institutions. Note that many members of this department are playing a lead role in the development of a new SFU Infectious Diseases program.
The Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry occupies more than half of the 70,000 sq. ft. South Science Building (SSB) opened in 1993. There are many shared equipment rooms and common facilities including a large number of constant temperature rooms; darkrooms, gel documentation and X-ray developing facilities; Level 2 biohazard containment and tissue culture facilities; radiation containment rooms; centrifuges; autoclaving and dishwashing facilities; marine holding tanks; journal reading and computer room. The SSB is closely connected to buildings occupied by other departments having sophisticated equipment and facilities. The spatial arrangement of SFU enhances interdepartmental interactions.
The Department has phosphorimagers and a microscopy suite including a confocal laser scanning microscope, epifluorescence/DIC microscope, and image analysis software. A 600 mHz NMR spectrometer and recently installed crystallization and macromolecular X-ray diffraction facilities are housed in the building. A Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter Facility is being created in an adjacent new building planned to open in September 2006. SFU operates an Animal Care Center that will soon be moved to expanded new facilities in the new building.
Departmental computer facilities include several Windows and Mac OSX workstations for running desktop applications as well a 22 processor AMD Opteron cluster for computing in a Linux environment. The Department also has a 28-seat fully-equipped computer instructional laboratory. The University offers facilities on a 192 processor Beouwulf cluster, an 8-way SMP SGI Origin as well as a 32 processor DEC Alpha cluster. Simon Fraser University is also a WestGrid Partner. Westgrid is a collaborative project that provides high performance computing, networking, and collaboration tools to seven institutions in western Canada. Simon Fraser University hosts WestGrid's 100 Terabyte storage array, while other partner sites host a 1008 processor IBM eServer cluster (University of British Columbia), a 256-way SGI Origin 3900 (University of Alberta) and a 144 processor Alpha cluster (University of Calgary).
List of Faculty
Baillie, D.L. - Genomic analysis of C. elegans and humans; recombination; chromosome behaviour.
Beh, C.T. - Cholesterol molecular genetics and genomics.
Brandhorst, B.P. - Cell and molecular biology of embryogenesis.
Brinkman, F.S.L. - Bacterial genomics and bioinformatics.
Chen, J.N. - Bioinformatics; genomics; transcriptional regulation; neuroscience
Cornell, R.B. - Enzyme regulation; Amphitropic proteins: regulation by membrane physical properties and lipid second messengers.
Craig, L. - The structure and assembly of the Type IV pili and related virulence factor
Davidson, W.S. - Genome evolution; gene mapping in salmonids; human genetics.
Harden, N. - Regulation of Drosophila morphogenesis by GTPase signalling cascades.
Hawkins, N. - Developmental genetics.
Honda, B.M. - Genes in Drosophila heterochromatin.
Leroux, M.R. - Cytoskeleton-associated processes in health and disease
Paetzel, M. - Crystallographic analysis of protein targeting and translocation.
Pio, F. - Physical biochemistry, x-ray crystallography.
Quarmby, L.M. - Cell Biology
Scott, J.K. - Antigen/antibody interactions; antibody structure; peptide libraries; phage display.
Sen, D. - Catalytic DNA, ribozymes, and nucleic acid nanostructures.
Sinclair, D. - Molecular Biology
Thewalt, J. - NMR studies of membrane structure and dynamics.
Unrau, P.J. - RNA-catalyzed chemical reactions; early metabolism; self-replicating systems.
Verheyen, E.M. - Drosophila developmental genetics; cross regulation of signal transduction pathways.
Young, E.C. - Ligand-induced conformational changes in ion channels
Financial Support Available
Students accepted into the graduate program must receive adequate financial assistance. The current minimum level of financial support for Masters students in the MBB graduate program is $5500* per semester (equivalent to $16,500* per year). The current minimum level of financial support for PhD students in the MBB graduate program is $6333* per semester (equivalent to $19,000* per year).
Financial support can be achieved through scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships. Normally full financial support is provided through a combination of mechanisms, generally requiring that the Senior Supervisor agree to provide a research assistantship for at least one semester, if required.
MBB students are also eligible for a large number of awards which are listed on the faculty website.
Admissions and Enquiries
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Simon Fraser University
Room SSB 8166, 8888 University Dr.
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6