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Biochemistry

A student at work in the biochemistry lab.

Biochemistry is an ideal line of study for the student interested in the chemistry of living things — that is the close examination of the molecules that carry out such functions as metabolism, movement, gene expression, etc.

This major, which includes courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics, is offered through the chemistry department, which is certified by the American Chemical Society. Over the past 25 years, more than 65 percent of our chemistry graduates have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at major universities. All chemistry professors are actively engaged in research.

The department is well-equipped with all common bench-top chemistry instruments as well as high field liquid and solid-state NMR, SEM, and X-ray powder crystallography, all housed in a state-of-the-art $23 million facility.

Students are encouraged to take part in a research project either during the school year or summertime. This capstone experience is the cornerstone of our program.

The department also is committed to serving students who need a chemistry or biochemistry background to complete other majors and programs, including pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-physical therapy, pre-pharmacy, biology, geology and environmental studies.

The Senior Inquiry research project involves laboratory research with a professor on campus or 8-10 weeks at another institution during the summer. Every year, biochemistry and chemistry majors are among the students taking part in the prestigious Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program.

Many biochemistry majors present their research at conferences such as the Argonne Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Argonne National Laboratories, the annual Sigma Xi meeting, and the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

What Alumni Say

Elaina Analitis '14, biochemistry and pre-medicine

Graduate student in the medical laboratory science program at Rush University

"The biochemistry department at Augustana allowed me to explore my areas of interest within the field. During my senior year, I had the opportunity to perform research involving penicillin resistance with one of my professors and a classmate. This experience helped expand my knowledge base and prepared me for the next step in my career path.

The biochemistry department provided me with the tools to create the foundation of my study techniques and my work ethic, which has translated into my work as a graduate student."

Kevin Pettit '12, biochemistry and political science

Medical student at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

"Augustana provided me with opportunities whenever I reached for them. I was able to complete a case study of a local hospital's ethics system, volunteer in the community, research with our fantastic biochemistry professors, and participate in music ensembles. None of my goals were off limits at this school.

I loved participating in a medical mission trip to Nicaragua, which was my first time out of the country. I was also incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in the internships at Texas Medical Center, experiencing research at Baylor College of Medicine, one of the nation's major medical research institutions."

Mark Tanner '12, biochemistry and biology majors, chemistry minor

Ph.D. candidate in translational biology and molecular medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

"Whether I wanted to study abroad, do on-campus research, get an internship or just succeed in a class, my professors were always there to help out in any way they could. Participating in the Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program was my peak experience. Through this program I got to be immersed in the world of biomedical research and put what I learned in the classroom to use while working in one of the nation's top institutions. It also proved to be pivotal in helping me to secure plans after graduation."