The interface between chemistry and biology is one of the most exciting frontiers of science today. Biochemistry and molecular biology are the foundation of this interface. It is the center of much recent advancement made in basic and applied research in medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture. This major integrates principles from biology and chemistry to create a unique focus on understanding the structure and function of bio-molecules, how organisms function at the molecular level, genetic engineering, computer modeling and molecular engineering. The program of study is challenging and includes significant course and laboratory requirements, and research opportunities. At Bethel, students are able to study this highly technical area and prepare for a career within a Christian context.
To work at the interface between chemistry and biology requires a significant foundation in both disciplines. Building on these, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology explore and define the interface. They use the theories, concepts and techniques of both disciplines to understand and create new theories, new concepts, new techniques and approaches to significant problems of today in science and society.
All foundation courses in chemistry and biology include a strong laboratory component. The laboratory experience in advanced courses is experiment based and builds on the prior laboratory experience. General laboratory procedures include centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, enzyme assays/kinetics, protein isolation, HPLC, and use of radioactive tracers. Specific laboratory methods and techniques include isolation of plasmids, viruses, RNA, and DNA; restriction digest and mapping; electrophoresis of DNA and RNA; genomic and c-DNA cloning; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR); DNA sequencing, and hybridization using specific labeled probes (Southern, Northern and Western blotting). Computers are used for design and analysis of PCR primers and products; analysis of DNA sequences, sequence searching of DNA and protein databases and computer aided modeling of bio-molecules, structures and drugs. Research uses and builds on these techniques and experiments within the context of a specific research problem.
The excellent facilities and equipment of the biology and chemistry departments at Bethel offer students significant research opportunities at Bethel with faculty members. Research experiences are throughout the academic year and summer. Summer and academic year off-campus sites for research include national laboratories, University of Minnesota, Mayo Medical School, or local industries such as Medtronic, 3M, and General Mills.
Recent national surveys suggest that as we enter the 21st century, the field of biochemistry/molecular biology in general and the biotechnology industry, specifically, will provide a high percentage of the job opportunities in the sciences. At Bethel, graduates of the biochemistry/molecular biology program are able to pursue a variety of career options, a few of which are mentioned here. Some students will enter medical and health-related programs. Others will continue their education in graduate programs of biochemistry/molecular biology or related fields. Those seeking employment immediately upon degree completion may find positions in the biotechnology industry or government. With further training, others may pursue a career in education.
To see a four-year plan for the biochemistry/molecular biology major, click here.
For more information, please visit the Biochemistry/Molecular Biology home page here.