What is Biochemistry?
Biochemistry studies the chemical processes of living organisms. Biochemists use chemistry knowledge and techniques to research biological problems. Biochemical research has had a huge impact on biology and medicine in the last few decades. The field has helped us to better understand biological structures like cells, proteins, and DNA.
Biochemistry at Western
Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program established by Western's Biology and Chemistry Departments. The program is specifically designed for students who seek graduate study or employment in biochemistry or molecular biology.
Western's Biochemistry major provides significant lab training, and is designed to meet diverse career goals. There is close student-faculty contact, upper division class sizes are relatively small, and students have direct access to state of the art laboratory equipment and instrumentation.
The Chemistry program at Western is consistently among the top 50 largest producers of American Chemical Society approved B.S. degrees in the nation.
The B.S. degree in Biochemistry (with greater emphasis on the physical chemical theory behind biological chemistry) is offered through Western's Chemistry Department, whereas a B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology (with a different emphasis) is offered through the Biology Department.
BIOL 204 - Introduction to Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity
BIOL 321 - Genetics
BIOL 323 - Cell and Molecular Biology
CHEM 466 - Biophysical Chemistry I
CHEM 473 - Molecular Biology
The Department of Chemistry is recognized as having one of the strongest undergraduate-based research programs in the nation, supported by an average of $1 million in annual external grant funding. Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue faculty mentored research projects and to present the results of their research at national conferences or during Western’s annual Scholars Week. Many undergraduate students coauthor papers published in scientific literature.
Organizations and Clubs
The WEsTeRn Chem Club is a Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which has garnered seven consecutive "Outstanding Chapter" awards from the ACS. The chapter gives students at Western an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities. Most importantly, the chapter provides Western students with opportunities to have fun by participating in social and community service activities that help to strengthen bonds among students, faculty, and the Bellingham community.
I decided that I wanted to conduct undergraduate research, and the professors in the Chemistry Department were encouraging and supportive. Several professors spoke to me, showed me around their lab, and even suggested that I speak with their colleagues to investigate other research that I might be interested in.
Biochemistry Alumna (NSF GRFP Fellowship awardee)
What can you do with Biochemistry
Graduates have gone on to careers in medicine, aerospace, microelectronics, biotechnology, community college teaching, the energy sector, and many other fields.
Employers of Recent Western Graduates:
- Seattle Genetics: Research Associate
- Center for Infectious Disease Research: Research Associate
- University of Washington: Research Associate
Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as:
- Boston College: MD
- Colorado State University: Chemistry PhD
- Meharry Medical College: MD
- New York Medical College: MD
- St. Louis University School of Medicine: MD
- University of California, Berkeley: Chemistry PhD
- University of California, Riverside: Chemistry PhD
- University of California, Santa Cruz: Chemistry PhD
- University of Colorado, Boulder: (Bio)Chemistry PhD
- University of Washington: (Bio)Chemistry PhD University of Washington: MD
- Western University of Health Sciences: MD
- Western Washington University: Chemistry MS
- Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales
- Crime Lab Analyst
- High School Teacher
- Industrial Chemist
- Technical Writing
- Forensic Scientist
- Quality Assurance Specialist
- Research Scientist
- Occupational Safety Specialist
- Science Lab Technician
- Biotechnology Scientist
- College Professor
- Environmental Scientist/Consultant