BS in Biochemistry Program By Brandeis University | Top Universities

BS in Biochemistry

BS in Biochemistry

Brandeis University

Brandeis University, Waltham, United States
  • QS World University Rankings
  • Degree BS
  • Study Level Bachelors
  • Scholarships No
The Biochemistry major is designed to equip students with a broad understanding of the chemical and molecular events involved in biological processes. The Biochemistry major provides a foundation for careers in medicine, biotechnology, or research in all branches of the biological sciences. The general aim of the major is to ensure that the students first learn the necessary chemical and physical chemical background and then the basic principles and observations of biochemistry and molecular biology. The department also offers advanced courses in more specialized subjects such as enzyme mechanisms and X-ray crystallography. These advanced courses sample the range of subjects that can be studied by biochemical methods and from a biochemical point of view. The modern discipline of biochemistry lies at the nexus of what classically have been considered the three “hard” sciences: physics, chemistry, and biology. This subject draws from physics and chemistry fundamental principles governing the behavior of molecules, and seeks to understand how these principles underlie the workings of living cells. The focus of the Brandeis biochemistry curriculum - the fulcrum around which the fundamental molecular principles are brought to bear upon life-processes - is the study of macromolecules. These huge molecular complexes - proteins, nucleic acids, and membrane assemblies - are the molecular machines that directly carry out virtually all operations of living cells: transmission of genetic information through the generations, catalysis of the chemical reactions that allow energy to flow through biological systems, generation of electricity in the nervous system, communication amongst tissues of multicellular organisms, disruption of healthy life-processes by pathogenic micro-organisms, to name a tiny fraction of the myriad examples of macromolecular function. Two features of biochemistry as a discipline strongly influence our undergraduate curriculum. First, biochemistry is intrinsically reductionist in attitude. It finds value in studying the isolated parts of biological machines as a means of understanding those more complicated machines themselves, as well as their interactions with the cellular milieu. It asserts that macromolecules, despite their own complexity, can be understood by judicious application of physical-chemical law. Second, as a young field still exploding with new techniques and insights (rather analogous to physics in the first half of the 20th century), biochemistry is very much a moving target. While the fundamental physical-chemical principles underlying macromolecular behavior are timeless, the biochemical manifestations of these principles continue to change on the rapidly expanding edge of discovery. Our curriculum must be designed to track this change - to train students to engage with future issues in life-science that do not currently exist.

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