Dear Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students and Friends,

Welcome to the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry! In the past few years, the Department has experienced so many new and exciting changes that we almost feel like a new department! We have moved from our original location in the Medical Sciences Center to a state-of-the-art research facility located on Henry Mall. Three exceptional junior faculty members have joined our Department over the last few years, and their innovative research programs have enhanced the already rich scientific environment of our community. We have also revamped our website to make it more accessible to current faculty, students, and staff, as well as alumni and friends. All of these changes have helped foster growth and opportunity, and I am proud and excited to share them with you.

Our new home. A major change was our move to the new Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Complex on Henry Mall. The complex, which houses the Departments of Biomolecular Chemistry and Biochemistry, consists of three buildings, two research facilities and a teaching and administrative building, all connected by skywalks. The Department of Biomolecular Chemistry laboratories reside in the Biochemical Sciences Building, which features modern laboratory and office space. The department administrative office and teaching laboratory are located in the renovated 1912 and 1937 Biochemistry Building. Within both buildings are many conference rooms, auditoriums, and teaching spaces, which allow for interaction and collaboration amongst faculty, students, and staff from across campus. A tremendous feature of our new research is its openness—large glass windows in the atrium, in labs and in the beautiful lunchrooms help keep us connected to the rest of the busy campus, and the open flow of the labs help keep us connected throughout our work days to our fellow colleagues. Our new research home is so welcoming and inspirational—we encourage you to visit for a tour!!

Our new faculty. We have welcomed three talented new faculty members. Dr. Melissa Harrison, Assistant Professor, joined our department in 2011 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Berkeley. Dr. Harrison’s research program focuses on how chromatin and transcription are regulated during embryogenesis with the goal of better understanding stem cell pluripotency and differentiation at a mechanistic level. In 2013, Dr. Peter Lewis, Assistant Professor, became a faculty member in our department. Dr. Lewis examines the epigenetic mechanisms that drive normal development and can cause cancer when mis-regulated. His lab is part of the Epigenetics Theme within the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID). Dr. John Denu, Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry, serves as the director of this exciting thematic program within WID. Finally, just this past year we welcomed, Dr. Feyza Engin, our newest Assistant Professor. Dr. Engin’s research explores type-1 diabetes as a result of the destruction of beta cells caused by an immune response.

Our new web site. Lastly, we have redesigned our department website to share all of these exciting updates. Throughout the website, you will find department related news, bios of our talented faculty, information about our exceptional graduate students and PhD program (Integrated Program in Biochemistry), alumni support opportunities, and administrative contact information for your questions. We have also started a page to highlight our former PhD and post-doc alumni—we will continually update this page and welcome your input—our goal is to keep all of us connected- past and present and future.

The growth the department has experienced in such a short period of time is remarkable. I am excited and energized to build upon our strong research history and all of these recent positive changes to lead our department to even further successes in the coming years. I invite you to stop by for a visit, meet our outstanding faculty, staff and students and tour our new research home.


Patricia Kiley
Professor and Chair
Department of Biomolecular Chemistry