Academic Programs Catalog

College of Natural Science

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Thomas D. Sharkey, Chairperson

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is administered jointly by the colleges of Natural Science, Human Medicine, and Osteopathic Medicine.

Biochemistry is the discipline focused on studying the molecular basis of life. In addition to defining the chemical nature of the molecules of life, biochemists seek to understand the processes involved in their formation and degradation and how these processes are regulated. Such knowledge is a prerequisite for understanding normal biological functions and for adapting or modifying them for useful purposes. It is also fundamental to understanding diseases that result from biochemical disorders, ultimately leading to their treatment. Thus, biochemistry is a field with significance and applications across the biological spectrum, from the microbial through the plant and animal kingdoms. The potential significance of new discoveries in biochemistry, coupled with the rapid pace of conceptual and methodological advances in the field, make modern biochemistry a most exciting area for study and research.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers a program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. The undergraduate program coexists with an extensive graduate program for students seeking the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. Both undergraduate and graduate students have ready access to a large and diverse faculty representing expertise in the various areas of modern biochemistry.

Biochemists have many career opportunities that make use of the knowledge gained during study at the undergraduate or graduate level. These include research in industrial, academic, or government laboratories; teaching at the high school or higher levels; and science policy making, marketing, or administrative responsibilities in enterprises where training in biochemistry and molecular biology is an asset.

Undergraduate Programs


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The Bachelor of Science program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for students in the College of Natural Science combines the elements of a liberal education with thorough preparation in biochemistry and molecular biology and the underlying principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. It is intended primarily for those students who wish to pursue a career in which a sound knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology is necessary, or for students who plan further studies at the graduate or professional level. With suitable choice of electives, the B.S. program offers the option of merging rigorous training in biochemistry and molecular biology with development of writing or pedagogical skills, leading to career options in science writing or teaching.

Undergraduate students are taught by professors who are familiar with the changing directions and emphases in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. Interested undergraduates are encouraged to participate, along with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in the on–going research of one of the faculty members.

Students seeking admission to the program should complete the high school science or college preparatory curriculum, ensuring that their programs include courses required for admission to the university.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree  in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major is met by completing Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 495 or 499. Those courses are referenced in item 3. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the College of Natural Science may complete the alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that is described in item 1. under the heading Graduation Requirements in the College statement.  Certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be used to satisfy the alternative track.
  2. The requirements of the College of Natural Science for the Bachelor of Science degree.

    The credits earned in certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be counted toward College requirements as appropriate.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
                 
  a. The following courses outside the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (60 to 68 credits):  
    (1) All of the following courses (7 credits):  
      CEM 262 Quantitative Analysis 3
      CEM 355 Organic Laboratory I 2
      CEM 356 Organic Laboratory II 2
    (2) One of the following groups of courses (8 or 9 credits):  
      (a) BS 161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
        BS 162 Organismal and Population Biology 3
        BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
      (b) BS 181H Honors Cell and Molecular Biology 3
        BS 182H Honors Organismal and Population Biology 3
        BS 191H Honors Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
      (c) LB 144 Biology I: Organismal Biology 4
        LB 145 Biology II: Cellular and Molecular Biology 5
    (3) One course from each of the following groups of courses (7 or 8 credits):  
      (a) CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
        CEM 151 General and Descriptive Chemistry 4
        CEM 181H Honors Chemistry I 4
        LB 171 Principles of Chemistry I 4
      (b) CEM 142 General and Inorganic Chemistry 3
        CEM 152 Principles of Chemistry 3
        CEM 182H Honors Chemistry II 4
        LB 172 Principles of Chemistry II 3
    (4) One course from each of the following groups of courses (2 credits):  
      (a) CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
        CEM 185H Honors Chemistry Laboratory I 2
        LB 171L Introductory Chemistry Laboratory I 1
      (b) CEM 162 Chemistry Laboratory II 1
        CEM 185H Honors Chemistry Laboratory I 2
        LB 172L Introductory Chemistry Laboratory II 1
      Students who select CEM 185H may use that course alone to fulfill this requirement.  
    (5) One course from each of the following groups of courses (6 credits):  
      (a) CEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3
        CEM 351 Organic Chemistry I 3
      (b) CEM 252 Organic Chemistry II 3
        CEM 352 Organic Chemistry II 3
    (6) One course from each of the following groups of courses (6 to 8 credits):  
      (a) MTH 132 Calculus I 3
        MTH 152H Honors Calculus I 3
        LB 118 Calculus I 4
      (b) MTH 133 Calculus II 4
        MTH 153H Honors Caluculus II 3
        LB 119 Calculus II 4
    (7) One course from each of the following groups of courses (6 credits):  
      (a) CEM 383 Introductory Physical Chemistry I 3
        CEM 484 Molecular Thermodynamics 3
      (b) CEM 384 Introductory Physical Chemistry II 3
        CEM 483 Quantum Chemistry 3
    (8) One of the following groups of courses (8 or 10 credits):  
      (a) PHY 183 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I 4
        PHY 184 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II 4
      (b) PHY 231 Introductory Physics I 3
        PHY 232 Introductory Physics II 3
        PHY 233B Calculus Concepts in Physics I 2
        PHY 234B Calculus Concepts in Physics II 2
      (c) LB 273 Physics I 4
        LB 274 Physics II 4
    (9) Ten additional credits in approved advanced biology courses at the 300-400 level.  
  b. The following courses in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (13 credits):  
    All of the following courses:      
    BMB 101 Frontiers in Biochemistry 1
    BMB 461 Advanced Biochemistry I 3
    BMB 462 Advanced Biochemistry II 3
    BMB 471 Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory 3
    BMB 472 Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory 3
  c. One of the following capstone courses (2 to 8 credits):  
    BMB 495 Undergraduate Seminar (W) 2
    BMB 499 Senior Thesis (W)   2 to 8
    LB 492 Senior Seminar (W) 4
  1.  

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology

The Bachelor of Science program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology is intended primarily for those students who plan to pursue careers in industry, veterinary medicine, or related health sciences, or for students who plan advanced study in biotechnology and molecular biology.

The core curriculum in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology program is identical to that of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program.  Additional course work introduces the student to the chemical engineering and microbiological aspects of biotechnology and allows for specialization through a broad range of approved biotechnology courses  in the junior and senior years.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology major is met by completing Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 495 or 499.  Those courses are referenced in item 3. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the College of Natural Science may complete the alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that is described in item 1. under the heading Graduation Requirements in the College statement.  Certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be used to satisfy the alternative track.
  2. The requirements of the College of Natural Science for the Bachelor of Science degree.

    The credits earned in certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be counted toward College requirements as appropriate.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
a. The following courses outside the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (65 to 75 credits):
(1) All of the following courses (7 credits):
CEM 262 Quantitative Analysis 3
CEM 355 Organic Laboratory I 2
CEM 356 Organic Laboratory II 2
(2) One of the following groups of courses (8 or 9 credits):
(a) BS 161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
BS 162 Organismal and Population Biology 3
BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
(b) BS 181H Honors Cell and Molecular Biology 3
BS 182H Honors Organismal and Population Biology 3
BS 191H Honors Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
(c) LB 144 Biology I: Organismal Biology 4
LB 145 Biology II: Cellular and Molecular Biology 5
(3) One course from each of the following groups of courses (7 or 8 credits):
(a) CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
CEM 151 General and Descriptive Chemistry 4
CEM 181H Honors Chemistry I 4
LB 171 Principles of Chemistry I 4
(b) CEM 142 General and Inorganic Chemistry 3
CEM 152 Principles of Chemistry 3
CEM 182H Honors Chemistry II 4
LB 172 Principles of Chemistry II 3
(4) One course from each of the following groups of courses (2 credits):
(a) CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CEM 185H Honors Chemistry Laboratory I 2
LB 171L Introductory Chemistry Laboratory I 1
(b) CEM 162 Chemistry Laboratory II 1
CEM 185H Honors Chemistry Laboratory I 2
LB 172L Principles of Chemistry II-Reactivity Laboratory 1
Students who select CEM 185H may use that course alone to fulfill this requirement.
(5) One course from each of the following groups of courses (6 credits):
(a) CEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3
CEM 351 Organic Chemistry I 3
(b) CEM 252 Organic Chemistry II 3
CEM 352 Organic Chemistry II 3
(6) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):
CSE 131 Technical Computing and Problem Solving 3
CSE 231 Introduction to Programming I 4
(7) One course from each of the following groups of courses (6 to 8 credits):
(a) MTH 132 Calculus I 3
MTH 152H Honors Calculus I 3
LB 118 Calculus I 4
(b) MTH 133 Calculus II 4
MTH 153H Honors Calculus II 3
LB 119 Calculus II 4
(8) One of the following courses (3 credits):
CEM 383 Introductory Physical Chemistry I 3
CEM 484 Molecular Thermodynamics 3
(9) One of the following groups of courses (8 or 10 credits):
(a) PHY 183 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I 4
PHY 184 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II 4
(b) PHY 231 Introductory Physics I 3
PHY 232 Introductory Physics II 3
PHY 233B Calculus Concepts in Physics I 2
PHY 234B Calculus Concepts in Physics II 2
(c) LB 273 Physics I 4
LB 274 Physics II 4
(10) One of the following courses (3 credits):
BMB 472 Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory 3
CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
MMG 408 Advanced Microbiology Laboratory (W) 3
(11) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):
CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
IBIO 341 Fundamental Genetics 4
(12) Nine additional credits in approved advanced biotechnology courses at the 300-400 level.
b. All of the following courses in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (10 credits):
BMB 101 Frontiers in Biochemistry 1
BMB 461 Advanced Biochemistry I 3
BMB 462 Advanced Biochemistry II 3
BMB 471 Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory 3
c. One of the following capstone courses (2 to 8 credits):
BMB 495 Undergraduate Seminar (W) 2
BMB 499 Senior Thesis (W) 2 to 8
LB 492 Senior Seminar (W) 4

Graduate Study

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is administered jointly by the colleges of Natural Science, Human Medicine, and Osteopathic Medicine.  Study for the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology may be administered by any one of the three colleges referenced above. Study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology—environmental toxicology is administered by the College of Natural Science. In addition, students may pursue dual majors with the Departments of Chemistry, Computer Science and Engineering, or Physics and Astronomy. Most students enter the graduate program through the Biomolecular Sciences umbrella program.

Areas of active research in the department are extensive and diverse. Such areas include protein structure, molecular biophysics, computational biology, plant biochemistry, gene expression, metalloenzymology, eukaryotic and prokaryotic molecular biology, metabolic regulation, and membrane biochemistry. Opportunities are also available for joint programs or research in genetics, cell biology, neuroscience, toxicology, biotechnology, microbial ecology, and plant sciences.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Master of Science

The major objectives of the graduate programs in biochemistry are to help students to develop their creative potential and to prepare them for careers in research and teaching in the biochemical sciences. Students' programs of study are designed to develop independent thought as well as broad knowledge and technical skills, through formal and informal courses, laboratory experience, seminars, individual study, and, foremost, through original research that forms the basis for the student's thesis or dissertation.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, Human Medicine, or Osteopathic Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Persons with bachelor's degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, or any of several biological, physical, medical, or agricultural sciences are invited to apply for admission. Undergraduate preparation should include courses in general, organic, analytical, and physical chemistry, and in physics, general biology, basic biochemistry, and mathematics through calculus. Minor deficiencies may be rectified by taking appropriate undergraduate courses concurrently with graduate courses.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis).  Most students earn the degree under Plan A.  A student may pursue Plan B only with the approval of the department's Director of Graduate Studies and chairperson.  Such approval is granted only in exceptional cases. The program of study is planned by the student and the major professor.  Specific courses in biochemistry, as well as courses in other areas considered relevant to the student's interests and chosen research area, are included in the program.

 


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, Human Medicine, or Osteopathic Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Persons with a bachelor's or master's degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or any of several biological, physical, medical, or agricultural sciences are invited to apply for admission. Undergraduate preparation should include courses in general, organic, analytical, and physical chemistry, and in physics, general biology, basic biochemistry, and mathematics through calculus. Minor deficiencies may be rectified by taking appropriate undergraduate collateral courses concurrently with graduate courses.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The program of study is planned by the student in consultation with the major professor and a guidance committee. Specific courses in biochemistry, as well as courses in other areas considered relevant to the student's interests and chosen research area, are included in the program.

It is expected that the dissertation will show original treatment of an important research problem, will give evidence of independent thought, and will be clearly, logically, and carefully written. It is also expected that the research on which the dissertation is based will be published in the scientific literature.

 


BioMolecular Science Gateway - First Year

Students are encouraged to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program through the BioMolecular Science Gateway – First Year, where students choose a doctoral major from any of six Ph.D. programs: biochemistry and molecular biology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, microbiology and molecular genetics, pharmacology and toxicology, or physiology. For additional information refer to the College of Natural Science section of this catalog.


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Environmental Toxicology - Doctor of Philosophy

For information about the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in biochemistry and molecular biology—environmental toxicology, refer to the statement on Doctoral Program in Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.