BiochemistryCollege of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

What you will learn

BIOCHEMISTRY is the study of chemical reactions within a living cell. We study the molecules that make up life. Our students take a variety of biology, chemistry, physics, and math courses in addition to very specific biochemistry classes. Students can do actual research in faculty labs or pursue internships at local biomedical companies.

Career Opportunities

Many biochemistry graduates go to medical, dental or pharmacy school after completing their Bachelor's degree. Others desire a career in research, whether it's at a university or in industry. Still others seek an immediate application of their knowledge in broad health care related areas, agriculture, developing pharmaceuticals or household goods, and even new areas like biofuel development.

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 than traditionally taught courses.

To complement our 101 introductory course, we will soon offer a 200 level course that uses popular media to introduce critical thinking, scientific writing & presentation skills as well as science ethics. This is an opportunity for students to explore Biochemistry before they've completed the necessary pre-requisites for upper level courses.

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

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. 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
  • 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


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.


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.