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Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes in living things. Biochemists try to understand the structures and functions of molecules in cells, the chemical reactions necessary for life and the molecular basis of disease. Iowa's biochemistry program is focused on students as individuals and is designed to develop creative researchers, effective physicians and health professionals, and superb teachers. Students acquire a thorough and diverse background in contemporary biochemistry, utilize excellent research facilities, and are taught by a research-oriented faculty. All Bachelor of Science and honors students and many Bachelor of Arts students engage in one-on-one research with faculty members.
The Biochemistry Department, which was organized in 1948, consists of 25 research-active primary and secondary faculty members who have received national and international recognition. The faculty supervise post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates in active research programs that are well supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, ACS, AHA, and other agencies.
Students who major in biochemistry do so for many reasons. Those interested in the chemical basis of life and the deep relationships that connect all organisms find that modern biochemistry reveals the molecular basis of growth and development, and offers insights into the causes of cancer and other diseases. For these students, biochemistry is a strong liberal arts major that offers many intellectual satisfactions.
Some students plan to engage in biomedical research. For them, biochemistry provides an excellent conceptual framework for advanced studies. Similarly, students who plan to pursue a health career in medicine or a related field find that biochemistry provides a strong background for professional studies.
Biochemistry students can also choose a career path in industry. For them, biochemistry provides a grounding in the most current discoveries and techniques. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, among others, depend extensively on biochemists.
Current faculty research interests include biochemistry, molecular, cellular, developmental, computational and structural biology, and model systems genetics. Please visit our faculty page for details.