University of Vermont

The Biochemistry Major

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Offered by: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
College of Arts and Sciences,
College of Medicine


Biochemistry is the science that unifies chemistry and biology to provide a fundamental understanding of the chemical and physical processes occurring in all living organisms. It also serves as a foundation for many other disciplines, including microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and pharmacology. Owing to the DNA sequencing of the human genome and other exciting developments, the opportunities in biotechnology available to students today rival those associated with the semiconductor revolution in the latter part of the last century. Students pursuing the biochemistry major are well positioned to pursue graduate medical or veterinary school upon graduation. Alternatively, students with a biochemistry degree are competitive as technologists in industry or academia.

What Will I Study?

Students enrolled in the cross-college Biochemistry program received the Bachelor of Science degree, and take a core set of basic courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics in their first two years. During that time, they also fulfill college distribution requirements in the humanities, fine arts, communication , and information technology. Advanced courses in biochemistry, chemistry, and molecular biology occupy the last two years of the major, along with a wide variety of electives from biological science departments across the campus. Biochemistry is a "hands on" discipline, so students are strongly encouraged to participate in undergraduate research during their last two years.

Exciting Research Opportunities

The program strongly encourages and facilitates undergraduate research in the NIH- and NSF-sponsored projects that make up the research programs of program faculty. These span a diverse array of scientific questions and focus areas, including the molecular basis of plant development, the structure and function of enzymes that interact with DNA and RNA, and the biochemical basis of human diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, autoimmunity disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Student engaged in undergraduate research work at the bench right next to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. They attend seminars and colloquia to hear prominent visiting speakers, and have the opportunity to see their work published in scholarly journals. receive additional training that would position them for a career in business management, patent law, or bioinformatics.

Looking to the Future

Our graduating biochemistry majors will be ideally situated to pursue a broad range of scientific careers as researchers, professors, physicians, and dentists. For students whose career interests do not include graduate work to the Ph.D or professional school, the biochemistry degree is also outstanding training for careers in the rapidly growing biotechnology industry. With a biochemistry degree as foundation, a student could receive additional training that would position them for a career in business management, patent law, or bioinformatics.

Core Requirements Advanced Electives
  • Calculus
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Genetics
  • General Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Plant Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Advanced Genetics Lab
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics of the Cell Cycle
  • Developmental Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Endocrinology
  • Molecular Cloning
  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Bioinoformatics
  • Macromolecular Structure of Proteins and Nucleic Acids
  • Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
Faculty and Area of Expertise
Christopher Francklyn Biochemistry
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
Christopher Landry Chemistry
Ph.D. Harvard University
Program Faculty
Scott Gordon Chemistry
Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon
Jeanne Harris Botany
Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco
Nicholas Heintz Pathology
Ph.D. University of Vermont
Douglas Johnson Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Ph.D. Purdue University
Joanne Knapp Animal Science
Ph.D. University of California, Davis
Willem Leenstra Chemistry
Ph.D. University of Washington
George Long Biochemistry
Ph.D. Brandeis University
Barbara Lyons Biochemistry
Ph.D. Cornell University
Jose Madalengoitia Biochemistry
Ph.D. University of Virginia
Dwight Matthews Chemistry
Ph.D. Indiana University
Scott Morrical Biochemistry
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
Kentaro Murakami Biology
Ph.D. Hokkaido University - Japan
David Pederson Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Ph.D. University of Rochester
Karen Plaut Animal Science
Ph.D. Cornell University
Mary Tierney Botany
Ph.D. Michigan State University
Paula Tracy Biochemistry
Ph.D. Syracuse University
Susan Wallace Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Ph.D. Cornell University
Gary Ward Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego
Judith Van Houten Biology
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
Jim Vigoreaux Biology
Ph.D. Oklahoma University


Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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