Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Biochemistry, the central scientific discipline linking the chemical, physical and biological sciences, exerts a profound influence on the progress of medicine and agriculture. By applying concepts and methods of chemistry and physics to the fundamental problems of biology, biochemists have made great progress in their effort to understand the chemistry of living organisms. Major discoveries concerning the biochemistry of genetic material provide the tools of molecular biology that are essential to contemporary life sciences research.

Biochemists and molecular biologists are concerned with living things and thus, must be fluent in the concepts of biological sciences. Since a biochemist's tools include many techniques derived from the physical sciences, he or she must receive sound education in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Our academic programs are designed to integrate these disciplines, preparing students for a wide range of professional careers.

Challenging positions for well-trained biochemists and molecular biologists are available in colleges and universities, state and federal laboratories, research institutes, medical centers and in an increasing number of industrial organizations, particularly the pharmaceutical and food industries. Biochemists are involved with research on the chemistry of processes occurring in plants, animals and various microorganisms, and with the discovery and development of antibiotics, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, insecticides and molecular genetics techniques.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology administers two BS degree options in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. In 2016, the two BS degree options administered through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources became accredited by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This provides students taking these degree options an opportunity to take the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology certification exam. An honors program is also available in undergraduate degree plans. Also available is a 4+1 Year Masters by Coursework program. The undergraduate curriculum provides a broad background in chemistry and the biological sciences and permits flexibility to meet particular interests of the student. Courses in biochemistry are based on general, organic and analytical chemistry. The undergraduate curriculum also provides students with sufficient background in the basic sciences of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology needed for graduate study in most disciplines of contemporary science of agriculture or medicine and other allied health subjects, and is excellent for pre-professional students. The Department’s research activities provide opportunities for part-time employment of undergraduate majors to improve their professional competence.

Minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

This minor is designed to give students a firm background in the fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and to develop critical thinking skills for the interpretation of new findings in these disciplines. Students will gain primary knowledge in modern biochemistry through two lecture courses (BIOC 3713 Biochemistry I and BIOC 3813 Biochemistry II). Hands-on training with experimental tools of these disciplines will be emphasized during the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology laboratory course (BIOC 3723 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory). The knowledge gained by this minor gives a science educator, a laboratory technician, an industrial employee or a life sciences researcher the ability to apply these disciplines. This minor will also demonstrate competency in these disciplines to post-graduate health institutions.