How does life work at the molecular level? This question is at the core of the concentration program Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
In earlier years of this discipline, the focus was on structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and small molecules such as vitamins. Today the logical approach and tools of biochemical science are being expanded to new areas in neuroscience, developmental biology, immunology, pharmacology and synthetic biology (the design of analogs of biological systems).
Training in biochemistry and molecular biology begins with a foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Some courses offered in other departments, including engineering, geology and computer science, are also useful.
A key component of this program is the year of hands-on research carried out in collaboration with a faculty member at Brown. Faculty sponsors are drawn from both the Chemistry Department and the Division of Biology and Medicine, and include basic sciences and clinical faculty.
This program provides excellent preparation for future careers in research (academic, government or private industry), health careers, education, technical law, or business.
Twenty semester courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, including the following core requirements:
1. Three courses in physical and organic chemistry (beginning with CHEM 0330; or equivalent credit).
2. Three courses in mathematics, statistics and/or computer science (typically including MATH 0090, 0100, or equivalents).
3. Two courses in physics (typically PHYS 0030, 0040, or equivalents).
4. One course in biophysical chemistry (CHEM 0400).
5. Three courses in biochemistry (BIOL 0280 and 1270, plus CHEM 1230 or 1240).
6. Six electives; four taken from the following: BIOL 0200, 0470, 0500, 0530, 1050, 1090, 1100, 1260, 1290, 1310, 1540, 1560, 2200, 2210; NEUR 1020, 1670; CHEM 0500, 1140, 1220, 1230, 1240, 1450; and two from any quantitative science or mathematics course relevant to biochemistry (including courses on the preceding list) and approved by a concentration advisor.
7. Two semester courses of independent research approved by a concentration advisor (BIOL 1950/1960 or CHEM 0970, 0980).
(Note that the mathematics and physics requirements may be satisfied by Advanced Placement credit.)
Page last reviewed in February, 2011.
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