Biochemistry seeks to understand life at the level of molecules and their chemistry. Living processes are studied in terms of the chemical reactions that occur, the structure and conformational changes of molecules, and the binding interactions between molecules.
Biochemistry asks questions such as:
• How do cells convert sugar into energy and ATP?
• Why is the protein hemoglobin good at carrying oxygen in the blood?
• How do some drugs work as enzyme inhibitors?
• How do DNA mutations result in altered proteins?
• How do plants convert light into chemical energy?
Coursework and research in Biochemistry utilizes facilities in both the Chemistry and Biology programs. The Physical Sciences (Chemistry) and Biology Departments are housed together in the Boehm Science Center building.
The modern facilities include a thermocycler for PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a BioTek microplate reader (absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence), micro and large capacity centrifuges, an electrophoresis apparatus for proteins and DNA, a Kodak digital gel imaging system, a Cary UV-visible spectrophotometer, a PTI spectrofluorimeter, an Agilent HPLC, a Bio-Rad Gene Pulser, and an integrated chromatography systems for protein purification.
Biochemists follow careers in:
- Pharmaceutical Industry (drug discovery)
- Basic Research (academic & government labs)
- Agriculture (plant and pesticide development)
- Food Production and Technology
- Medicine (medical school)
- Education (teaching)