Dec 03, 2020  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Return to: Keck School of Medicine of USC  

1975 Zonal Avenue, KAM 400
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9151
(323) 442-1145
FAX: (323) 442-2494


Departmental Chair: Peggy J. Farnham, PhD


Faculty with Primary Appointments in BMM

Peggy J. Farnham, Professor and The William M. Keck Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Amy S. Lee, Professor and The Judy and Larry Freeman Chair in Basic Science Research

Joseph G. Hacia, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Medical Education

Judd Rice, Associate Professor and Director of the BMM Master of Science Program

Professors: Peter V. Danenberg; Vijay Kalra; Frank S. Markland, Jr.; Robert Maxson; Pragna Patel; Michael Stallcup

Associate Professors: Woojin An; Sita Reddy

Research Assistant Professors: Jobin Varkey; Daniel Weisenberger


Faculty with Secondary Appointments in BMM

Hooman Allayee (Professor of Preventive Medicine); Ruchi Bajpai (Assistant Professor of Dentistry); Zea Borok (Professor of Medicine); Paula Cannon (Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology); Lily Chao (Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics);  Jianfu Chen (Assistant Professor of Dentistry); David Cobrinik (Associate Professor of Opthamology); Lucio Comai (Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology); Yves De Clerck (Professor of Pediatrics); Robert Farley (Professor of Physiology and Biophysics); Baruch Frenkel (Professor of Orthopaedics); Mark Frey (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics); Young-Kwon Hong (Associate Professor of Surgery); Chih-Lin Hsieh (Professor of Urology); Ralf Langen (Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience); Troy McEachron (Assistant Professor of Research Translational Genomics); Ite Offringa (Associate Professor of Surgery); Michael Lieber (Professor of Pathology); Ching-Ling Lien (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics); Carol Lin (Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Education); Wange Lu (Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine); Crystal Marconett (Research Assistant Professor of Surgery); Amy Merrill (Assistant Professor of Dentistry); Marcel Nimni (Professor of Pediatrics); Brent Polk (Professor of Pediatrics); Bodour Salhia (Assistant Professor of Translational Genomics); Ansgar Siemer (Assistant Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience); ( Stephen Swenson (Research Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery); Tobias Ulmer (Associate Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience); Jian Xu (Assistant Professor of Dentistry)

The USC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine prides itself on maintaining a broad-based approach to various aspects of biochemical and molecular biological research. Altogether, the department numbers 43 primary and joint-appointment faculty members, with major research programs in the molecular basis of control and regulation of gene expression, cancer biology and epigenomics, molecular mechanisms of signal processing and transduction, developmental and stem cell biology, detailed analyses of macromolecular structure and function, the biochemistry and molecular biology of the brain, and genetic medicine including gene therapy.

Members of the department are also members of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the USC Institute for Genetic Medicine (IGM), the USC Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (ZNI), the Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

The offices and laboratories of the primary faculty members are located on the Health Sciences Campus.

Graduate Programs

Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine Master of Science: Most applicants to the Master of Science graduate program in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine have a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate major in one of the natural sciences. Undergraduate course work should have included biochemistry, physics, mathematics and courses in the biological sciences. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the natural sciences (including mathematics) is normally required. Applicants must pass satisfactorily the general portions of the Graduate Record Examinations. In addition, the department requires at least three letters of recommendation from faculty members who can evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate work and independent research. See for more details about the program. Students can apply to the MS program in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at


PhD Programs: Faculty members of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine participate in the USC Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS). Students interested in pursuing a PhD degree in the fields related to biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and genetics should apply to PIBBS. Applications for the PhD Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences should be submitted online through the PIBBS Website (

Students admitted to PIBBS PhD programs are awarded fellowships that pay for tuition and provide a stipend. No fellowships are available for master's degree students.


Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (MS)