Overview

What is a typical graduate school or career path for a biochemistry and molecular biology major at The College of Wooster?

Wooster prepares Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors to respond to the ever-changing, fast-paced nature of the life sciences. The advanced learning and employment opportunities for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduates are wide-ranging, with many students considering a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to be a stepping-stone toward careers in research and medicine.

Approximately half of our majors go on to graduate school. Recent graduates are pursuing Ph.D.’s at institutions including Stanford University, University of Michigan, University of Texas-Southwestern, and Johns Hopkins University, among others. Each year many other students go on to health professional schools including medical school (examples include Case Western University, The Ohio State University, The University of Cincinnati), as well as dental, pharmacy, or veterinary school. Other Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduates have pursued careers in academic research laboratories, the biotechnology sector, or in science education.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The College of Wooster

A central component of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program at Wooster is the opportunity for students to conduct research using state-of-the-art equipment in dedicated student-focused laboratory spaces. The Ruth W. Williams Hall of Life Science features collaborative research and classroom laboratory spaces in which teams of faculty and students across the life sciences work together to investigate how life works. The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology curriculum takes a scaffolded approach to preparing each student to develop critical thinking and methodology in molecular biology and biochemistry. A unique feature of the major includes a research-based laboratory course where students apply current techniques in protein biochemistry and molecular genetics as part of a full-fledged inter-disciplinary research project.

Many Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students engage in summer research experiences, some as early as their first year at Wooster. Recent research opportunities to work with faculty members at Wooster have been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States Department of Agriculture, among others. In addition, many students engage in external internships and off-campus research experiences at biotechnology companies, universities, and health professional schools prior to graduation.

Because the major is administered jointly by the biology and chemistry departments, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors enjoy great flexibility in conducting Senior Independent Study (I.S.) research with a variety of faculty members from either department.

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Faculty

Mary Cornelius

Mary Cornelius

Administrative Coordinator - Chemistry, BCMB

[email protected]

Paul Edmiston

Paul L. Edmiston

Theron L. Peterson and Dorothy R. Peterson Professor of Chemistry; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Pre-Law Program

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Dean Fraga

Dean Fraga

Danforth Professor of Biology; Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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Sara Martin

Sara E. S. Martin

Assistant Professor of Chemistry; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

[email protected]

Bill Morgan

William Morgan

Theron L. Peterson and Dorothy R. Peterson Professor of Biology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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Erzsebet Regan

Erzsebet Regan

Whitmore-Williams Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Biology

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Mark Snider

Mark J. Snider

Robert E. Wilson Professor of Chemistry; Program Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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gray silhouette outline of a person

Marie Southerland

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Stephanie Strand

Stephanie Strand

Associate Professor and Department Chair of Biology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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James West

James West

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry

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Major

The Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BCMB) Curriculum was created in 2001 from a well-established program in biochemistry, and is administered jointly by the departments of biology and chemistry.  A major in BCMB consists of at least 16 courses, with flexibility in course selection in the upper-level.

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Independent Study

The College of Wooster is nationally recognized for its program of Independent Study, and for more than 50 years the College has required that every graduate complete a significant Independent Study project. The projects provide all students the opportunity to engage in an activity both personally meaningful and appropriate to their individual fields and interests. It is not reserved for the few. Independent Study is the culmination of a Wooster education and provides the basis for a lifetime of independent learning.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors start Independent Study in the spring semester of their junior year when they enroll in BCMB 401: Introduction to Independent Study. During the first few weeks of the semester each student explores potential I.S. project possibilities and advisors and is paired with a faculty advisor associated with the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program who will serve as mentor, guide and critic. Throughout the spring semester each student develops their specific ideas for their senior thesis project by writing a formal research proposal and by presenting and receiving feedback on their ideas from their peers and faculty mentors.

For both semesters of the senior year, each Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major engages in the independent laboratory work that culminates in their thesis and formal presentations of their results given to general and scientific audiences. Along the way, each student works closely with their advisors through regularly scheduled conferences designed to assist, encourage, and challenge the participants and to afford both students and advisors an opportunity to share the excitement of discovery in fields of mutual interest. Learning is approached as an exploration shared by student and advisor alike, neither having all the answers, but each enjoying immensely the opportunity to search for solutions.

 

Student Year I.S. Title Major 1 Major 2 Advisor
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Alumni

Wooster graduates with degrees in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology have chosen careers in a broad range of fields, from medicine, biological research, veterinary medicine, environmental law, exercise physiology, and cytotechnology, to art illustration, teaching, wildlife and fisheries management, evolutionary biology, and public health. Over half our graduates go on to continue their education at professional schools such as medical, veterinary, dental, or nursing schools.


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