2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Overview

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) program offers an interdisciplinary major that draws on the faculty and course resources of the departments of biology and chemistry. Designed to provide students with an in-depth exploration of an area of science that is as exciting and actively growing of any today, the program is suitable for students who want to pursue graduate studies in the area; enter medical school with a strong background in basic science; or take laboratory or other science-related positions after graduation. Those wishing to major in biochemistry and molecular biology must select an adviser within the program.

For more information, please visit the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program website.

Major Requirements

The BCMB major is an in-depth study of overlapping fields, and requires background in both chemistry and biology. The curriculum is highly structured, and so you must be careful in planning your course of study. We strongly urge you to take at least eight semester courses in chemistry, biology, calculus or physics during your first two years. You should also consider getting a faculty advisor from the BCMB program as soon as you know you want to be a BCMB major, as good course sequencing can make the major much more manageable. Course requirements are:

Advanced Electives:

The electives may be any of the courses listed below that are not used to fulfill a requirement.

BCMB Capstone

A capstone experience, taken during the student’s junior or senior year, is required for the BCMB major.  Capstone experiences allow students to acquire knowledge and professional skills through research experiences, course work, or internships.  The capstone experience can serve as one of the BCMB electives.

The capstone requirement can be fulfilled in one of four ways:

  1. participation in the BCMB Honors Program
  2. completing a minimum of one unit of directed research (BCMB299)
  3. completing one unit of an internship for academic credit
  4. completing one 200-level BCMB elective (either group A or B) identified as fulfilling the capstone requirement in Biology, BCMB, or Chemistry.

Students must submit the capstone declaration form with the instructor’s signature to the BCMB Program Administrator by the end of the first week of the semester that the capstone will be completed.  Students are responsible for completing all non-departmental requirements (e.g. obtaining credit for internships, establishing off-campus research experiences, etc.).


     BCMB 228: Molecular Genetics

     BCMB 275: Protein Chemistry

     BCMB 276: Chemical Biology - Techniques and Applications in Research

     BCMB 277: Enzyme Reaction Mechanisms

     BCMB 279: Computers in Biochemistry


Group A courses:

  • Polymeric Biomaterials (CHEM 231)

Group B courses:

  • The Genome Project (BIOL 209)
  • Genomics Seminar (BIOL 210)
  • Microbiomes (BIOL 212)
  • Genetics and Disease (BIOL 218)
  • Physiological Ecology of Marine Algae (BIOL 219)
  • Signal Transduction (BIOL 234)
  • Biology of Cancer (BIOL 236)
  • Epigenetics (BIOL 237)
  • Seminar in Cell Biology (BIOL 238)
  • Molecular and Evolutionary Systematics (BIOL 254)
  • Virology (BIOL 255)


A student who has a minimum 3.40 GPA is eligible to undertake an Honors research project in addition to their normal course load. This work is normally initiated as a Junior and completed by the end of the Senior year. After completion of the research the student writes a thesis describing their work and gives an oral presentation to the department.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty


Nathan Ahlgren, Ph.D.

Robert Drewell, Ph.D.

Sergio Granados Focil, Ph.D.

Charles Jakobsche, Ph.D.

Shuanghong Huo, Ph.D.

Denis Larochelle, Ph.D.

Noel Lazo, Ph.D.

Neva Meyer, Ph.D.

Arundhati Nag, Ph.D.

Deborah Robertson, Ph.D., Program Director

Donald Spratt, Ph.D.

Javier Tabima, Ph.D.

Justin Thackeray, Ph.D.



Frederick Greenaway, Ph.D.

Thomas Leonard, Ph.D.

Timothy Lyerla, Ph.D.

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