Biochemistry and molecular biology is the study of life at the molecular level
BREAKING BONDS, SAVING LIVES
Most of the time, you want chemical bonds to hold DNA together. But what if you wanted to break the bonds in order to treat a disease? How would you do it, and do it quickly? Drew faculty, with students at their side, are working on vital inquiries such as these.
Are you interested in cells and how their molecules behave? In the nitty gritty of chemical reactions? Or are you focused on developing new pharmaceuticals? Our interdisciplinary program offers students an unusual amount of room to customize their studies.
This field is developing so fast. We used to focus on steering students toward biology and chemistry classes. But given where biochem is going—more use of computers and new computational strategies—we’re seeing that math and computer science classes are an excellent complement as well.
In Drew’s RISE program, biochem majors also have the rare opportunity to conduct research alongside top veteran scientists from industry, the only program of its kind in the nation.
Careers Made easy
Biochemistry and molecular biology is a rapidly expanding field in part due to the focus and funding devoted to medical research as the baby boom generation ages.
Understanding the mechanisms inside cells can help you move into food science, toxicology or the pharmaceutical industry. More and more, other sciences need the help of biochemists to complete their research.
Drew’s abundant research opportunities strengthen your résumé as you look for graduate schools or employment in industry after graduation. Our majors intern at Merck, Johnson & Johnson and other global pharmaceutical companies.
Goldwater Scholarship winner
I’ve done a lot of research in my major, including being part of a team studying the bacterium that causes cholera. Once I got into the lab, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It really engaged my mind and allowed me to do a lot of thinking.
When I entered Drew, I was planning to go to medical school, and I now know that I want to be a physician who conducts clinical research. The Drew Summer Science Institute, where I did research full time for two summers, taught me that.
For my Research in Biochemistry course, I conducted at least eight hours of research a week, and presented my findings at three different gatherings, both regional and national, of academics in the sciences. This gave me great opportunities to network.
My research lab has successfully harvested placental stem cells from rats, and our recent experiments have suggested that these stem cells can promote a protective environment in the brain. Our hope one day is to use these cells as a therapy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Yankees fans alert: I’m a die-hard Red Sox fan.
Ph.D., Harvard University
I’m a molecular biologist whose recent research focuses on DNA replication, exploring the machinery of replication and responses to damage and providing insights into the molecular biology of cancer. I’ve also been known to vacuum and clean the bathroom.
Ph.D., Rutgers University
I’m investigating phosphodiester cleavage, the bonds that hold our DNA and RNA together. Because they are important in cellular signaling, they are tied to numerous diseases. I find diving into a topic like this, and trying to learn as much as possible, thoroughly enjoyable. I think that’s a big reason why I enjoy my job so much.
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
I’m a molecular biologist with an interest in RNA interference. Right now I’m developing new course materials to help students improve their writing skills. In my spare time, I kickbox.
Ph.D., Northwestern University
I once had a student tell me they finally got organic chemistry looking out over the San Francisco Bay Bridge one foggy afternoon when the mist cleared and the dance of electrons came clear. It’s an apt image for me; I’m working on infusing the philosophy and practice of green chemistry into our courses.
Ph.D., Brandeis University
- Research scientist
- Lab technician
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Graduate student
School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Learn more about when you graduate
My Favorite Course
“It actually was more about my major than all the other introductory classes. We did a number of extended experiments and other things that are part of my goals for my Ph.D.”
Robert Scheffler on Molecular Biology