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Welcome to the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology (BBMB)


The Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of life. Our department features research programs in a broad range of disciplines. Specifically, we have strengths in structural biology and biophysics, plant biochemistry, molecular signaling, nucleic acid biochemistry, and microbial biochemistry.

We are housed in the Molecular Biology Building on the Iowa State campus. Our building features state-of-the-art lab spaces, research facilities, and teaching labs.


Our internationally-recognized faculty have expertise in a broad array of areas. In addition to faculty-driven research projects, labs in our department collaborate widely on interdisciplinary projects within Iowa State and across the world. Faculty mentors in our department are committed to supporting and training the next generation of scientists.

Undergraduate Study

Our undergraduate program is unique in its approach to training tomorrow's scientists. Undergraduates in our program are exposed to biochemistry coursework from their first semester, ensuring the proper contextualization of foundational science courses. Our curriculum emphasizes core competencies in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and calculus-based physics. Students are supported through a Learning Community, ample research opportunities, and Faculty Mentors. Students have the opportunity to organize and present their research at our undergraduate-run research symposium, established in 2005. Our majors are prepared to enter graduate or professional schools, pursue careers in industry, or enter the public sector.

Graduate Study

Our department offers PhD, Masters, and Certificate programs in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Graduate students are trained to think critically and utilize cutting-edge technologies to answer important research questions. Students work closely with faculty mentors to develop exciting and groundbreaking research projects. Students are also supported financially through research or teaching assistantships, facilitating their training both as scientists and future educators. Our students go on to diverse opportunities, including prestigious postdoctoral positions, industry careers, and faculty positions.

Postdoctoral Opportunities

Recent graduates seeking an exciting and supportive postdoctoral environment will find a home in BBMB. Our labs center the postdoctoral researcher as both mentee and mentor by providing ample opportunity to train junior scientists. Customized and flexible experiences allow postdocs to fine-tune their training and prepare for future careers in industry or academia.

Learn more about BBMB:

BBMB Governance Document

BBMB History

Interoffice Memorandum of Creation of Biochemistry Department in 1960
This interoffice communication marks the start of BBMB at ISU, with the creation of the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, effective January 1, 1960.

The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics was formed in January 1960 by seven faculty members from the existing Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Botany (see memorandum at left). This nucleus established the departmental mission of seeking to understand biological functions in terms of the fundamental principles of chemistry and physics, and providing world-class undergraduate and graduate education in biochemistry and biophysics. This mission remains in place to this day.

In 1997, the name of the department was changed to the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology (BBMB), reflecting the expansion of the department's focus into a larger biological context. The department welcomed six new members from various biology departments that were dissolved in 2002. This rapid growth increased the department's diversity of research disciplines.

In 2012, the department was awarded a $7.5M grant from the Roy J. Carver Trust (Muscatine, IA) to advance the area of Biomolecular Structure and Function. In recognition of this and other gifts from the Roy J. Carver Trust, the name of the department was changed to the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology.  

Over the 60+ years of the department's history, our faculty has grown from seven to over twenty members.

Our faculty and staff at a picnic in 2021
BBMB Department Picnic, 2021