• Erin Park researches anti-inflammatory applications from plants
  • $147 million science building offers state-of-the-art labs
  • Students test new drug treatments from traditional medicines using high-throughput screening
  • Amy Beasley works on environmental toxicology testing

Molecular Biosciences, Ph.D.

The Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. interdisciplinary program focuses on the study of biological problems at the molecular level using chemical, computational, mathematical, physical, and statistical approaches as well as conventional biological approaches. Faculty come from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy, offering students a truly diverse education. The program helps each graduate develop in-depth research ability in a specific area within the sub-disciplines. Doctoral candidates initially engage in bench research with faculty mentors. Students later design and conduct research as independent scientists who contribute original knowledge to the discipline and complete a dissertation. Faculty are engaged in research areas such as biochemistry, biotechnology, cell biology, ecology, environmental toxicology, evolutionary biology, immunology, microbiology, molecular modeling, and structural biology. Students are required to make research presentations, author or co-author journal articles, and make a significant contribution to an external grant proposal. Research and teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis.

Grad on track to research regenerative therapies

Grad on track to research regenerative therapies

Eric Vick (2014, Ph.D., Molecular Biosciences) is pursuing his M.D. at the University of Tennessee medical school in Memphis. He will specialize in clinical pathogenesis to help develop new treatments for infectious diseases without adequate treatment regimens. Vick wants to research regenerative therapies, such as the 3D printing of organs derived from a person's own stem cells. He and Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. candidate Matthew Wright also launched a biotech company, Salomon’s House, to isolate new drugs from endangered and unusual plants around the world. The Ph.D. program helped his communication skills, especially while participating in a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship two years, Vick says. "I think going through the MOBI program has given me a great start as a scientist and will help to make me a better physician," he adds. Vick received the New Investigator Award at the American Society for Reproductive Immunology Annual Meeting and a Travel Award for the International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Meeting in 2013.

Ph.D. students enjoy numerous lab opportunities

Ph.D. students enjoy numerous lab opportunities

Procter & Gamble awarded Amy (Shaffer) Beasley a doctoral internship during two summers to assess potential environmental risks associated with chemicals in P&G products. Jacob Crigler was voted best overall presentation at the American Society for Microbiology KY-TN Branch Meeting, a first for MTSU. He is researching bacterial strain design for biofuel production with dissertation advisor Dr. Elliot Altman. “In the two years I have been in the program, I have learned a host of molecular biology and bacterial genetics lab techniques,” Crigler says. Shaffer, who finished her college degree after raising four children and running a small business, first studied with dissertation advisor Dr. Ryan Otter on an Undergraduate Research Experience grant. She planned to teach high school, but realized she was a researcher at heart. “I was able to tailor curriculum and project goals to specifically prepare for a career in industry when I graduate,” she says.

The Molecular Biosciences doctorate program aims to produce graduates who are fully prepared to pursue research careers in academia, industry, and at national labs. Most graduates either go on to do academic postdoctoral fellows, or are hired by industrial or medical biotechnology companies or the pharmaceutical industry.

Employers of MTSU alumni

Because this degree program is quite new, employer information is still being compiled.

Graduates have accepted post-doctoral fellowships at 

  • Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery

The College of Basic and Applied Sciences awards the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Molecular Biosciences through a rigorous, research-oriented course of study. The interdisciplinary program includes faculty from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy.

Admission is based on a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s qualifications. Applicants must have an earned bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited university or college in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or a closely related subject. In addition, the following are specifically recommended:

  • six semesters of a combination of general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry courses, including some laboratory coursework;
  • two semesters of general/inorganic chemistry and at least one semester of organic chemistry, which should include a laboratory component;
  • two semesters of physics;
  • one semester of calculus. 

NOTE: Students who lack any component of these minimum course requirements will be asked to remedy their deficiency or demonstrate competency in these areas.

Students entering with a master’s degree in a science discipline may have up to 16 graduate hours of previous coursework applied after determination that the content of the courses is directly equivalent to existing courses in the Molecular Biosciences curriculum.

A student entering with a prior doctoral degree will be treated the same as a student entering with a prior master's degree (i.e., only relevant courses from the prior doctoral degree may be considered for credit toward the Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. degree).

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Other programs

Two other interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs are available in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences: Computational Science and Mathematics and Science Education (concentrations in Biological Education, Chemical Education, Interdisciplinary Science Education, and Mathematics Education).

The interdisciplinary Master of Science (M.S.) in Professional Science is offered with concentrations in Actuarial Sciences, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, Engineering Management, Geosciences, and Health Care Informatics.

The undergraduate Forensic Science interdisciplinary program leads to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Molecular Biosciences, Ph.D.

Jason R. Jessen, Program Director
(615) 898-2060
Jason.Jessen@mtsu.edu

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Molecular Biosciences is an interdisciplinary program in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences that includes faculty from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematical Sciences. It is a rigorous, research-oriented course of study that aims to help students develop an understanding of cellular function and biological mechanisms at a molecular scale.

All students in the program will be expected to complete a minimum of two consecutive semesters of full-time study in residence at MTSU. Only full-time students will be admitted.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences program is based on a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s qualifications, including

  1. an earned bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited university or college in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or a closely related subject. In addition, the following undergraduate courses are specifically recommended:
    1. six semesters of a combination of general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry courses, including some laboratory coursework;
    2. two semesters of general/inorganic chemistry and at least one semester of organic chemistry, which should include a laboratory component;
    3. two semesters of physics;
    4. one semester of calculus.

NOTE: Students who lack any component of these minimum course requirements will be asked to remedy their deficiency or demonstrate competency in these areas.

  1. an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken. Successful applicants typically have a minimum 3.50 GPA in their graduate work or a minimum 3.00 GPA when entering with a bachelor’s degree.
  2. acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  3. letters of recommendation that address the applicant’s potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences.

NOTE: International students must also meet the College of Graduate Studies requirement for proof of English language proficiency. This may be accomplished by submission of TOEFL, UMELI, or IELTS scores that meet the college’s requirements or by successful completion of level 112 of ELS coursework.

Applicants who do not meet these minimums but whose application materials indicate high potential for success may be admitted conditionally. Such students must meet the conditions of their admission in the time stated to remain in the program of study.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application deadline: The application deadline is January 31 for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships for the following Fall. Late applications may be considered, but financial support is not guaranteed.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php).
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work.
  3. submit official scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing measures of the GRE that indicate potential for success in the Molecular Biosciences program. The GRE is an important measure and is given significant consideration in the admissions review process. Successful applicants typically have scores on the Verbal and Quantitative measure at or above the 50th percentile for persons intending graduate study in science with a combined score that exceeds 297 (current scale) or 1,000 (former scale).
  4. provide letters of recommendation from at least three professors or professionals that address the applicant's potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. in the Molecular Biosciences program.
  5. submit a one- to two-page statement explaining why he/she is seeking a Ph.D. degree, listing areas of research interest, and indicating three professors in the program whose research he/she finds intriguing. Faculty research interests can be found at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/mbsphd/.

Degree Requirements

Students entering with a master's degree in a science discipline may have up to 16 graduate hours of previous coursework applied after determination that the content of the courses is directly equivalent to existing courses in the Molecular Biosciences curriculum.

Candidate must

  1. complete 65 post-baccalaureate semester hours (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. make at least two research presentations at regional, national, or international meetings as the lead author or coauthor;
  3. be lead author or make significant contribution as coauthor of two articles published, in press, or under review in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals;
  4. in collaboration with an MTSU faculty member serving as principal investigator, make a significant contribution to the development of at least one external grant proposal;
  5. complete a dissertation and successfully defend it in the final oral examination.

Curriculum: Molecular Biosciences

 Candidate must complete 65 hours in the following course of study:

Core Courses (24 hours)

  • MOBI 7010 - Lab Rotation in Molecular Biosciences

    1 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to the MOBI doctoral program. Explores three molecular bioscience research environments for five weeks each.

  • MOBI 7100 - Experimental Design in Molecular Biosciences

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to the MOBI doctoral program. Explores ethics, experimental design, and statistical considerations relevant to molecular biosciences.

(Repeat for 12 hours total)

Electives (9 hours)

Each student, in consultation with his/her advisor and committee, will select at least 9 hours of elective coursework from at least two of the rubrics represented below. Other courses not listed below may be substituted with approval of the student's advisor and committee.

  • BIOL 6220 - Herpetology  3 credit hours  

    BIOL 6220 - Herpetology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3400/3401. Corequisite: BIOL 6221. Morphology, natural history, and identification of amphibians and reptiles. Local representatives emphasized. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6270 - Cell Metabolism and Human Disease

    3 credit hours

    (Same as BIOL 7270). Prerequisites: BIOL 4110/4111; CHEM 3010/3011 and CHEM 3530/3531. Metabolic pathways of mammalian cells and the diseases that result from genetic defects that disrupt their normal function.

  • BIOL 6290 - Advanced Scanning Electron Microscopy

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Application of scanning electron microscopy to study materials with emphasis on theory of scanning electron microscopy and preparation of biological specimens for microscopy. Seven hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6360 - Energy Dispersive X-Ray Theory and Analysis

    1 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 4290 or BIOL 6290. Theory of X-ray analysis and elemental analysis of materials using an energy dispersive X-ray system with scanning electron microscopy. One three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6390 - Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231, 3250/3251; CHEM 2030/2031 or 3010/3011. Corequisite: BIOL 6391. Molecular biology of the cell with emphasis on current experimental techniques. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6410 - Advanced Transmitting Electron Microscopy

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Ultrastructure of the cell using basic and specialized techniques. Seven hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6430 - Clinical and Pathogenic Microbiology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 2230/2231. Comprehensive coverage of the most recent discoveries and techniques used for the identification of pathogenic organisms and their relationships to disease processes. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6440 - Advanced Virology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231; CHEM 1110/1111 and 1120/1121. Emphasizes the main virus families and their biochemical composition. Experimental approaches and techniques will be developed in order to identify and manipulate viruses. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6450 - Advancements in Molecular Genetics

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231 and 3250/3251; CHEM 1110/1111 and 1120/1121. Recent advancements in microbial genetics and gene manipulation with emphasis on applications of molecular genetics, including gene regulation and recombinant DNA technology. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6590 - Environmental Toxicology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/1111, 1120/1121; CHEM 1110/1111, 1120/1121, and 3010/3011. Ecological effects of chemicals in the environment and techniques currently utilized to assess these effects. Current environmental assessment techniques, including biomonitoring, will be covered in the laboratory. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6720 - Advanced Animal Development

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 3250/3251; BIOL 4210/4211 or BIOL 6390/BIOL 6391 recommended. Corequisite: BIOL 6721. Processes and underlying molecular mechanisms by which a single fertilized egg develops into an adult organism. Focuses on vertebrate development, including insights gained from other model organisms. Three hours lecture and two hours lab.

  • BIOL 6730 - Advanced Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231; CHEM 1110/1111, 1120/1121, and 2030/2031 or 3010/3011 or consent of instructor. Survey of the physiology and biochemistry of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6750 - Advanced Plant Biotechnology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/1111, 1120/1121, 3250/3251. Processes and reasoning behind the human manipulation of plant species for agricultural and technological purposes. Topics include traditional breeding techniques, tissue culture, plant cell transformation, and general plant molecular biology techniques as well as current debate over genetically modified organisms. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6770 - Issues in Biotechnology

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 4550/4551, BIOL 5550/5551, or 4750/BIOL 6750. Explores current and emerging issues in biotechnology. Students will be asked to solve problems drawn from biotechnology industry. Seminars, field trips, and case study work.

  • BIOL 6780 - Principles of Systematics

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 3250/3251 and 3500. Theory and practice of biological systematics. Concepts of characters and taxa, methods of phylogenetic inference, and applications of systematic data addressed. Five hours lecture, discussion, and laboratory exercises.

  • CHEM 6100 - Intermediate Organic Chemistry

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 3020/3021 or 2030/2031 or equivalent. Concepts and modern theories of organic chemistry: stereochemistry of reactions, mechanistic interpretation of organic reactions, and multistep synthesis. Offered every fall.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6110 - Topics in Organic Chemistry

    3 to 6 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6100. A selection of modern topics. Offered every other spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6230 - Intermediate Analytical Chemistry

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 2230/2231 or equivalent. Selected instrumental methods of analysis including but not limited to gas and liquid chromatography methods; ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectroscopic methods; and flame emission and atomic absorption spectrometry. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6300 - Intermediate Physical Chemistry

    3 credit hours

    Key concepts from classical thermodynamics, quantum theory, and chemically relevant spectroscopies. Statistical thermodynamics introduced. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6500 - Biochemistry I  3 credit hours  

    CHEM 6500 - Biochemistry I

    3 credit hours

    Chemical properties of biological molecules such as proteins, lipids, nucleotides, and carbohydrates. Chemical basis of enzyme catalysis. Structure of biological membranes. Offered every fall.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6510 - Biochemistry II  3 credit hours  

    CHEM 6510 - Biochemistry II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6500. The structure of lipids, amino acids, nucleotides, and nucleic acids and their metabolism at a molecular level. Emphasis on understanding the chemical basis of biological phenomena. Three hours lecture per week. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6520 - Topics in Biochemistry  3 to 6 credit hours  

    CHEM 6520 - Topics in Biochemistry

    3 to 6 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6500 or CHEM 6510 or consent of instructor. Selected topics of particular interest in biochemistry. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6530 - Biochemical Techniques

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite/corequisite: CHEM 6500 or CHEM 6510 or consent of instructor. Laboratory in biochemical techniques with emphasis on protein purification, enzyme kinetics, carbohydrate and lipid analysis, and manipulation of DNA. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6610 - Environmental Chemistry

    3 credit hours

    Fundamental chemical principles applied to the fate and behavior of contaminants in soil-water environments. Explores important toxins and explains their movement and occurrence in ecosystems based on chemical and physical parameters. Topics will include pesticides, dioxin, mercury, and bioaccumulation.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6720 - Topics in Physical Chemistry

    3 to 6 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6300 or permission of department. Advanced theories of, latest literature in, and unsolved problems of a particular research area in physical chemistry selected by the professor. Offered every other fall.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 7110 - Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6110. Applications and advanced concepts in physical organic chemistry, including those used in teaching organic chemistry. Topics include classical and modern approaches in physical organic chemistry including MO theory, conformational analysis, stereochemistry, reaction mechanisms, structure and solvent effects, pericyclic reactions, and theories of acidity/basicity. Offered every other spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 7510 - Advanced Biochemistry

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6500 or consent of instructor. Advanced subjects in biochemistry including current techniques in structure/activity relationships of biomolecules, regulation and control of metabolic pathways, bioenergetics, enzymology, control of transcription and translation, regulation of gene expression, and biochemistry of inherited disease. Offered every other fall.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 7710 - Topics in Applied Chemistry

    3 to 6 credit hours

    Some important and current practical applications. Offered every other spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • MOBI 7010 - Lab Rotation in Molecular Biosciences

    1 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to the MOBI doctoral program. Explores three molecular bioscience research environments for five weeks each.

  • MOBI 7200 - Biomolecular Modeling and Simulation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Differential equations and linear algebra. Introduces the modeling of biomolecular structure and dynamics. Covers three broad topics: (a) biomolecular structure; (b) molecular force field origin, composition, and evaluation techniques; and (c) simulation techniques-computational sampling by geometric optimization, Monte Carlo methods, and molecular dynamics.

  • MOBI 7654 - Professional Seminar: Topic

    1 to 3 credit hours

    (Same as COMS 7654/MSE 7654.) Focuses on a specific topic in a given semester. Topics include themes for advancing graduate students professional knowledge such as grant proposal preparation process, making successful presentations, and publishing research in the field. May be repeated with different topic.

  • MOBI 7700 - Advanced Concepts in Molecular Biosciences

    3 or 4 credit hours

    Covers advanced topics and  protocols specific to different subdisciplines in molecular biosciences not covered in core or elective courses offered through the program. Students work under the direct supervision of the instructor; coursework will involve lecture and/or laboratory components. Repeatable for 6 to 8 credit hours.

  • PHYS 7010 - Principles of Molecular Biophysics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or 2120 or permission of department. Reviews the structure of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and the forces and interactions maintaining their structures in solution; thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding; polymer chain statistics and helix-coil transitions in biopolymers; biopolymer dynamics; structural methods in biology; X-ray crystallography, NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy, electron and probe microscopy, single-molecule methods.

  • STAT 6604 - Problems in Statistics-Experimental Design

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Mathematical maturity, preparation in the area and (normally) nine semester hours of graduate study. Problems course dealing with theory, methods, and applications.

  • STAT 7020 - Introduction to Biostatistics

    3 credit hours

    Introductory probability/statistics course or permission of instructor. Contemporary and medical research methodology for biostatistics. Descriptive and inferential statistics including parametric and nonparametric hypothesis testing methods, sample size, statistical significance and power, survival curve analysis, relative risk, odds ratios, chi square modeling, and analysis of variance. Data will be analyzed using statistical software. Applied biostatistics research project required (7000) level.

Directed Research (16 hours)

  • MOBI 7500 - Directed Research in Molecular Biosciences

    1 to 99 credit hours

    For Ph.D. students prior to advancement to candidacy. Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, protocol design, collection and analysis of data and preparation of results for publication. S/U grading.

Dissertation (16 hours)

  • MOBI 7640 - Dissertation Research in Molecular Biosciences

    1 to 99 credit hours

    For Ph.D. candidates. Ongoing investigation of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, protocol design, collection and analysis of data and preparation of results for publication and as Ph.D. dissertation. Students must complete a total of at least 12 hours to earn degree. S/U grading.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan with the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the semester in which candidate intends to graduate.

Assistantships 

Research and teaching assistantships, with stipends beginning at $18,000, are available on a competitive basis to full-time students in the MBS program. In addition to the stipend, the university also pays all tuition and most fees for assistantship holders. Non-Tennessee residents who are awarded a graduate assistantship are not required to pay out-of-state fees. To learn more about the types of graduate assistantships and to download an application, visit the Graduate Studies Assistantship page. 

The College of Graduate Studies also awards a limited number of scholarships. For additional information and applications, visit the Graduate Studies Finance page.

In addition to assistantships and scholarships, MTSU's Office of Financial Aid assists graduate students seeking other forms of financial support while in school.

Student Forms

Click on the faculty member's name for individual research summaries:

Dr. Elliot Altman, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: microbial physiology and metabolism, molecular genetics
Research interests: natural products, metabolic engineering, peptide therapeutics

Dr. Frank C. Bailey, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: environmental toxicology
Research interests: aquatic toxicology, wildlife toxicology, toxicology of metals

Dr. Sarah E. Bergemann, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: evolutionary ecology of fungi
Research interests: phylogeography, population genetics of plant pathogens and mycorrhizal fungi

Dr. Kevin Bicker, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: bioorganic chemistry; combinatorial library design and synthesis; assay development; drug development
Research interests: high-throughput screening methods; peptoid based therapeutics

Dr. Lynn Boyd, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: developmental and cellular biology
Research interests: role of ubiquitin in early embryogenesis

Dr. Andrew Brower, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: molecular systematics
Research interests: biogeography and evolution of butterflies

Dr. D. Andrew Burden, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: biochemistry
Research interests: mechanisms of DNA topoisomerases and topoisomerase-targeting drugs 

Dr. Charles C. Chusuei, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: colloid and surface science, electron spectroscopy
Research interests: functionalization of carbon nanomaterials, materials remediation in aqueous environments

Dr. Keying Ding, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: bioinorganic chemistry, catalysis, polymer science, green chemistry
Research interests: small molecule activations using earth-abundant metal catalysts; homogeneous biomass conversion; design, synthesis and characterization of polymeric biomaterials.

Dr. Norma Dunlap, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry
Research interests: design and synthesis of bioactive compounds, isolation, identification and synthesis of bioactive natural products

Dr. Anthony L. Farone, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: microbial pathogenesis
Research interests: host-parasite interactions 

Dr. Mary B. Farone, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: microbiology
Research interests: intracellular microorganisms, pathogenesis 

Dr. Robert Fischer, Dean, College of Basic and Applied Sciences

Area of specialization: evolutionary biology, population ecology, stress biology
Research interests: life-history theory, parental investment theory, energy allocation theory and invasive species ecology 

Dr. Scott T. Handy, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: organic chemistry
Research interests: organic synthesis, synthesis of bioactive compounds, cross-coupling chemistry

Dr. Christopher R. Herlihy, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: evolution, ecology, population genetics
Research interests: mating system evolution, maintenance of polymorphism 

Dr. Jason R. Jessen, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: molecular, cell, and developmental biology
Research interests: regulation of cell migration during embryonic morphogenesis and cancer

Dr. Paul C. Kline, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: enzyme mechanisms and kinetics, protein structure-function
Research interests: synthesis of biologically active molecules

Dr. Jeff Leblond, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: biochemistry, microbiology
Research interests: lipid biochemistry of algae 

Dr. Preson MacDougall, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: 
Research interests: 

Dr. Erin McClelland, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: microbial pathogenesis, virulence
Research interests: host-pathogen interactions

Dr. Ashley Morris, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: phylogeography, population genetics, and molecular systematics
Research interests: biogeography of species with geographic disjunctions, conservation genetics

Dr. David E. Nelson, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: molecular and cellular biology
Research interests: cell signaling dynamics, neurodegeneration and cancer 

Dr. Anthony L. Newsome, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: eparasitology, bacteriology
Research interests: pathogenic protozoa and amoeba as a hosts for bacterial replication, naturally occurring and human-made antimicrobial compounds

Dr. Ryan Otter, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: environmental toxicology
Research interests: nanotoxicology, coal ash toxicology

Dr. J. Brian Robertson, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: chronobiology, molecular genetics
Research interests: bioluminescence, microbial timekeeping, and biotechnology

Dr. Mohamed (Moh) Salem, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: animal genomics
Research interests: fish/aquaculture functional genomics and transcriptomics, genomic selection, molecular genetics, genetic markers, muscle development/degeneration

Dr. Rebecca L. Seipelt, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: gene regulation, biochemistry
Research interests: gene expression (especially mRNA splicing) and function (especially enzyme biochemistry)

Dr. Jeff Walck, Department of Biology

Area of specialization: plant ecology
Research interests: seed ecology, cedar glade ecology 

Dr. Chengshan Wang, Department of Chemistry

Area of specialization: bioanalytical and Biophysical Chemistry
Research interests: drug development for Parkinson's disease, FTIR application in biophysical chemistry, and sensor development for pollutants

Contact and Student Information

Jason Jessen
Jason.Jessen@mtsu.edu
615-898-2060

Jason Jessen
Jason.Jessen@mtsu.edu
615-898-2060

Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. Program
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 60
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132


College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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