BiochemistryCollege of Arts and Sciences

What you will learn

As a major in Biochemistry, you will study the molecules that make up life! Biochemistry explores the study of chemical reactions within a living cell – with applications ranging from pharmaceuticals to biofuels.

Biochemistry includes preparation in chemistry, biology, physics and calculus. You will learn to develop new ideas, problem solve, conduct research, analyze and evaluate data. Beyond the core requirements, you will have the opportunity to enroll in elective courses including Research Techniques in Biochemistry, Plant Biochemistry, Computational Biology, or Advanced Topics in Biophysical Chemistry.

Career Opportunities

Job growth in biochemistry is expected to increase 37% between 2008 and 2018 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). Primarily due to an increased demand in medical technology and climate change (biofuels/plant biotechnology). Career opportunities with the Bachelor of Science degree include entry-level positions as research technologists in biomedical, pharmaceutical and agricultural labs. You can combine communication skills with a science background to work in education, business or government agencies.

The majority of our students pursue advanced degrees – including health professions, secondary education, and the molecular life sciences. These professionals have a profound effect on our society as physicians, dentists, public policy makers, teachers and researchers. Employment of recent Nebraska graduates include:

  • Associate Analyst, Celerion Labs
  • Burn Tech, St. Elizabeth Regional Health Center
  • Histotech, Pathology Medical Services
  • Laboratory Technician, POET Research Center, Inc
  • Missionary, Hong Kong Adventist College
  • Phlebotomist, BryanLGH
  • Plant Research Biologist, Midwest Research Inc
  • Research Technician II - Bio Process Development Facility, UNL

The NEBRASKA difference

Our faculty use a teaching style that emphasizes core concepts and actively incorporates teamwork, problem solving and project management skills into our lecture and lab courses. This means that our lecture courses involve active participation and allows for greater long-term retention of material.

We also focus on providing research experiences both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to on-campus experiences in faculty labs, we offer three lab based courses that provide hands-on exposure to highly technical instrumentation and the opportunity to work on novel DNA sequences. Internships with local biomedical and agricultural companies are also available.

Internships / Clubs

Biochemistry Club

Alumni / Faculty

  • Cheryl Bailey, PhD. National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, Holling Teaching Award
  • Joseph Barycki, PhD. Beta Theta Pi Outstanding Educator Award
  • Paul N. Black, PhD. Charles Bessey Professor
  • Donald Becker, PhD. Director of the Nebraska Redox Biology Center
  • Edgar Cahoon, PhD. George Holmes University Professor and Director of the Center for Plant Science Innovation
  • Madhavan Soundararajan, PhD. Associate Director of the UNL Honors Program, Teaching Award of Merit, Beta Theta Pi Outstanding Educator Award
  • Concetta DiRusso, PhD. Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women Award
  • Jaekwon Lee, PhD. Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor
  • Melanie Simpson, PhD. Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor, Beta Theta Pi Outstanding Educator Award
  • Robert Spreitzer, PhD. Charles Bessey Professor
  • Julie Stone, PhD. Outstanding Teaching Award
  • Donald Weeks, PhD. Maxcy Professor, IDEA (Innovation, Development and Engagement Award), Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Charles Wood, PhD. Director of the Nebraska Virology Center, Outstanding Scientist Award

Facilities

The Beadle Center contains the latest in teaching technologies and state-of-the-art research laboratories. Three multimedia classrooms and a 175 seat auditorium offer students an ideal environment for learning. Each provides comfortable, flexible space for students and instructors to interact with each other as well as peers in classrooms and lecture halls throughout Nebraska, the United States and the world via satellite and internet connections.

Teaching laboratories are available for hands-on learning experiences in biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular genetics, microbiology and other subjects related to the life sciences. State of the art greenhouses and controlled environment growth rooms provide students and faculty with ready access to a variety of plants for both teaching and research.

Research

Approximately 40-50 undergraduate Biochemistry majors are funded through the UCARE program every year to conduct independent research under the mentorship of faculty.

Every lab in our department has undergraduates participating in significant research endeavors, with many even becoming published authors.

Our research areas focus primarily on metabolism & metabolic engineering, structural & chemical basis of protein function, molecular mechanisms of disease, and plant & microbial biochemistry and biotechnology.

The department is home to or participates in the following centers: Redox Biology Center, Center for Virology, Center for Cell Signaling, Nebraska Coalition for Algal Biology and Biotechnology, and the Center for Plant Science Innovation.