Financial Support and Awards

The Biochemistry Department provides financial support to all full-time students making satisfactory progress towards the PhD degree during the academic year and the summer months. This support is typically in the form of first year fellowships, teaching assistant appointments, and Graduate Student Researcher positions. 

Students who submit a competitive application for admission are automatically considered for financial support, which typically includes student fees and tuition, a stipend or salary, and health insurance. 

Domestic applicants from outside California are automatically considered for nonresident tuition fellowships as part of the financial support package. If qualified, these students are given one academic year on non-resident tuition, and are required to establish California residency during this time.

Applications for admissions must be submitted by January 5th to be eligible for financial support the following fall quarter.

No fellowship support is available for MS applicants. You may be eligible for federal student aid program, so please be sure to complete the FAFSA form and check with the UCR Financial Aid Office at  and more information about graduate student fellowships, awards and grants can be found at the Graduate divison site

Graduate Student Awards


The Randolph T. & Mary K. Wedding Endowed Fund in Biochemistry


History: Professor Randolph T. Wedding was one of the founding members of the Department of Biochemistry at U.C. Riverside and played a critical role in initiating and developing its graduate program (now known as the Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). Professor Wedding’s research was focused on energy metabolism in plants and particularly on understanding how respiration and photosynthetic carbon metabolism are controlled at the level of enzymes. He participated actively in graduate classroom teaching and in the mentoring of graduate students. He was a loyal and dedicated member of the U.C. Riverside academic community for over 45 years, serving as a member or chair of nearly every important faculty committee on the U.C. Riverside campus or in the statewide University of California system from 1961 until his retirement in 1993. Mary K. Wedding devoted many hours to Randy’s graduate students, providing a home away from home for some, helping students and their families from overseas get settled in the USA, and frequently visiting former students as she traveled abroad with Randy. Her work with the Biochemistry graduate students is the reason that this fund is named the Randolph T. and Mary K. Wedding Endowed Fund, established by their son and daughter, Randolph E. Wedding and Sheila O’Brien.

The fund provides financial support for the following:

The Wedding Prize:

Description: The Wedding  Prize is presented annually to a meritorious graduate student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program. The basis of the award is determined by a faculty jury to identify the student applicant who has made the most significant contribution to the peer reviewed scientific literature in biochemistry and molecular biology. 

Application Process: Applicants are required to prepare a file that consists of the following five items: (a) A copy of the peer reviewed paper on which the applicant is a co-author; the paper must be published or in press (with a signed letter of acceptance from the journal Editor). In some exceptional cases the published component of the application may consist of more than one publication upon which the applicant is a coauthor. (b) A written statement prepared solely by the applicant that clearly describes the significance of the research and the nature and extent of her/his meritorious contribution(s) to the nominated paper; this document should not exceed 16,000 characters plus spaces. (c) A letter of recommendation from the student’s major professor; the letter should include acknowledgement by the major professor that the applicant’s description of her/his role in the nominated paper is correctly stated in the student’s application document. (d) An official copy of the applicant’s UC-Riverside transcript which reports her/his GPA as a graduate student. (e) The applicant’s curriculum vitae summarizing her/his higher education and professional activities for each year since leaving high school (including a bibliography of scientific publications)

 Wedding Prize Winners:

  • 2019 Winner: Stephen Diggs
    Wedding Award Winner 2019
    L to R: Dr. Richard Luben, Stephen Diggs, Dr. Richard Debus
  • 2018 Winner: Boxiao Wang
  • 2017 Winner: Pablo Martinez
  • 2016 Winner: Matthew Harter
  • 2015 Winner: Jie Zhu 
  • 2014 Winner: Kevin Duprez
  • 2013 Winner: Lei Wang
  • 2012 Winners: Yumiko Nobumori, Jarret Wilcoxen, Muyu Xu
  • 2011 Winners: Sirgokul Upadhyayula, Lei Wang
  • 2010 Winners: Robert Bryne, Jui Fen Chen
  • 2009 Winners: Hongnan Cao, Jeffrey Julius
  • 2008 Winner: Carol Jones
  • 2007 Winners: Huu Ba Ngo, Matthew Christians
  • 2006 Winner: Melodie Strickler
  • 2005 Winner: Roseleen Gibbons
  • 2004 Winner: Zhenyu Zhang 
Keynote Speaker:
Wedding Award Winner 2018
L to R: Sheila O'Brien, Boxiao Wang, Dr. Richard Luben, Randy Wedding

The endowment fund also provides financial support for the Wedding Award Keynote speaker, the speaker is selected by a committee of graduate students and the keynote talk is presented during the annual Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Student Symposium.

Travel Awards for Graduate Students:

The Randolph T. and Mary K. Wedding Endowed Fund in Biochemistry funds travel awards for BMB Graduate Students. The purpose of these awards to help BMB Graduate Students present their research at scholarly meetings. Applications can be made at any time to the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, and are evaluated by the Wedding Prize Selection Committee. Students recommended for an award by this committee will receive up to $1,000 to defray registration, travel, and housing expenses, subject to availability of funds. Any Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is eligible to receive a Randolph T. and Mary K. Wedding Travel award.

Contact Department Chair Richard Luben at for travel award application/information.

The Walton B. Sinclair Teaching Award in Biochemistry


For one or more outstanding Teaching Assistants in the Biochemistry Department, an award is presented in memory of Walton B. Sinclair. A pioneer plant biochemist, Walton B. Sinclair's work on the Riverside campus began in 1932, more than 20 years before UCR was established. His colleagues noted: "His studies of citrus fruits led to development of the means of evaluating the maturity of fruits that became the legal standard for marketing California citrus and led to the reputation for high quality which is still enjoyed by California citrus."

Dr. Sinclair worked actively in the laboratory, his research profoundly affecting the field of citrus consumption, until his retirement in 1968. Moreover, according to his colleagues: "Those who were associated with Walt found his professional activities less impressive and less important than his character as a warm and beloved colleague and an outstanding human being."

To recognize Dr. Sinclair's academic excellence and his devotion to the development of the field, the Walton B. Sinclair Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant is given to exceptional teaching assistants in the Department of Biochemistry . The awardees are selected by a committee of Biochemistry faculty members.