Interdisciplinarity is the hallmark of the biological sciences in the 21st century. In addition to a foundation in chemistry and biology, the biochemistry major provides students with an understanding of the central elements of biochemistry and molecular biology. The biochemistry program curriculum is designed to prepare the student for graduate school, medical school, or other professional programs of study. In addition, graduates should be highly competitive in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology marketplace.

Modern interdisciplinary challenges in the biological and chemical sciences require that the student be trained in a broad background of chemistry, biophysics, genetics and molecular biology. The Biochemistry major at AMU aims to provide a rigorous and modern introduction to the chemical and biochemical sciences in an environment that incorporates classroom teaching, class-associated lab experiences, an introduction to the scientific literature and an emphasis on independent research. Together, these strategies and opportunities foster the development of independent thinking and complex problem solving skills, along with the technical proficiency characteristic of the effective scientist in the biochemical sciences.

Explore the Biochemistry Program

Typical Order of Required Courses for the Major

(All courses are four credits unless otherwise noted.)

CHEM 125 General Chemistry I with laboratory

CHEM 126 General Chemistry II with laboratory

CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I with laboratory

CHEM 222 Organic Chemistry II with laboratory

BICM 305 Biochemistry I: Structure, Mechanism and Metabolism with laboratory

BICM 306 Biochemistry II: Biophysical Chemistry with laboratory

BIOL 211 Biology I Cellular and Molecular Biology with laboratory

BIOL 212 Biology II Organismal and Population Biology with laboratory

BIOL 303 Genetics with laboratory

BIOL 305 Molecular Biology with laboratory

PHYS 221 University Physics: Mechanics with laboratory

PHYS 222 University Physics: Materials with laboratory

MATH 151 Calculus I

STAT 230 Applied Statistics or MATH 231 Mathematical Statistics and Design of Experiments

Elective Courses (Twelve credits are required, only four of which can be BICM 497)

BICM 415 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (2 credits)

Possible Topics Include:

  • Biochemistry and Drug Discovery of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Biochemistry and Drug Discovery of Inflammation
  • Metals in Biology
  • Organic Mechanisms of Drug Action
  • Advanced Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Protein Crystallography
  • Advanced Biochemical Techniques (laboratory)
  • Principles of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics
  • Enzyme Kinetics and Mechanism
  • Protein Trafficking
  • Bio-organic Chemistry

BICM 497 Directed Research (Variable credit)

The pre-medicine program is designed to offer a complete academic preparation for medical school. Biochemistry (B.A.) is a recommended major for students interested in pre-medicine, although other academic majors are usually acceptable as long as the appropriate pre-requisites* for a given medical school are completed. Students are encouraged to explore the ethical, moral and social implications of modern medicine and technology from a Catholic perspective and should consider taking THEO 390 Catholic Bioethics.

Multiple upper level Biology and Chemistry classes are strongly recommended. Classes include Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, some BICM 415 Biochemistry modules, and Anatomy and Physiology I and II. In preparation for the MCAT examination, minimal requirements should be completed by the end of the junior year. A variety of other supplementary programs, seminars, and lectures are offered.

Minimal Pre-medicine Requirements

  • Biochemistry (1 Semester of Lecture)
  • BIOL 211 Biology I Cellular and Molecular Biology with laboratory
  • BIOL 212 Biology II Organismal and Population Biology with laboratory
  • BIOL 303 Genetics with laboratory
  • CHEM 125 General Chemistry I with laboratory
  • CHEM 126 General Chemistry II with laboratory
  • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I with laboratory
  • CHEM 222 Organic Chemistry II with laboratory
  • MATH 150 Functions; MATH 151 Calculus I is strongly recommended
  • PHYS 211 College Physics I with laboratory
  • PHYS 212 College Physics II with laboratory
  • PSYC 201 Principles and Methods of Psychology
  • STAT 230 Applied Statistics

Recommended Pre-medicine Courses

At least 8 upper level credits (300 and above) of Biology courses are required for most medical school admissions. The following course are recommended to fulfill this requirement, and all are recommended to aid in taking the MCAT:

  • BICM 305 Biochemistry I: Structure, Mechanism and Metabolism
  • BICM 306 Biochemistry II: Biophysical Chemistry
  • BICM 415 (Varies by topic. Examples of relevant modules are Chemistry and Mechanism of Enzyme Action, Biochemistry of HIV, Biochemistry in drug discovery, and Biochemistry of Cancer)
  • BIOL 304 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 305 Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 309 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIOL 401 Microbiology

†For those intending to major in Biochemistry, please see the Biochemistry Degree section of the catalogue for a sample pre-med track.

*Admission requirements vary by institution. It is highly recommended that students check the requirements of the schools which they are considering.

The following major equipment is available for research and teaching activities.


Cary Eclipse fluorescence spectrophotometer with 96-well plate reader accessory

Cary 50 UV-Vis spectrophotometer with stopped-flow module accessory

Perkin Elmer RX-I Infrared spectrophotometer

Anasazi FT-NMR spectrometer

Proton and carbon probes

GE Storm Fluorescent Gel Imager and Phosphorimager

Beckman LS 6000SC Liquid Scintillation Counter

Molecular Biology

Syngene GeneFlash and GeneGnome gel documentation stations

UVP Ultraviolet Crosslinker and blot hybridization incubator

New Brunswick Inova and G25 Incubator/shakers

PCR thermocycler (several)

Revco ultra-cold freezer

Motic high-resolution dissecting scopes

VanGuard 1400FL Series fluorescent microscope with high resolution camera

Savant DNA Speedvac

Plant grow carts


Sorvall RC5C PLUS superspeed refrigerated centrifuge

Beckman L8-80M ultracentrifuge


Varian CP-3800 capillary gas chromatograph

HP-Agilent GC-Mass Spectrometer ***NEW 9/09***

BioRad Biologic chromatography system

Computer Resources

Macintosh computer lab with G5 server

Wavefunction Spartan 06 software for molecular mechanics and quantum chemical modeling

Chemical Abstracts SciFinder Scholar Database access with structure search module

Building Facilities

Dark room

Cold room

Media prep room

Amsco Renaissance Series autoclave

Fully equipped research-dedicated labs for biological and chemical research

Tony Barbosa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Education: B.S., Chemistry, Providence College; M.S., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester; Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester
Office: Henkels 3050
Phone: (239) 280-1584

Rodney Burton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Education: B.S., Biochemistry, University of Illinois; Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Illinois
Office: Henkels 3027
Phone: (239) 304-7963

Ronald Freeze, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor of Chemistry
Education: B.A., Chemistry Education, University of Northern Iowa; Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, Iowa State University

Patrick Hillesheim, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
Education: B.S., Chemistry, North Caroline State University; Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, University of Florida B.S., Chemistry, North Caroline State University
Office: Henkels 2049
Phone: (239) 280-1528

Stephen Thong, Ph.D.

Chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
Education: B.Sc., Chemistry, Bowling Green State University; M.Sc., Chemistry, Northwestern University; Ph.D., Chemistry, Northwestern University
Office: AB 3048
Phone: (239) 304-7940

In the last couple years, we have placed our Biochemistry majors in several summer research REU/internship programs at:

  • Harvard/MIT
  • Texas A&M
  • Syracuse University
  • Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction
  • University of South Alabama
  • Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals

Charlotte Kunkler, 2016 graduate in Biochemistry, is attending the University of Notre Dame pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry

Lexi Hammerquist, 2016 graduate in Biochemistry and AMU Valedictorian, is pursuing a medical degree at Creighton University Medical School

Sarah Downes, 2016 graduate in Biochemistry, is in dental school at the University of Kentucky.

John Robert Griswold, 2015 graduate in Biochemistry and Physics, is in graduate school at the University of South Alabama, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dominic Buckley, 2015 graduate in Biochemistry, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri – Kansas City

Megan Rivera, 2015 graduate in Biochemistry, is pursuing a medical degree at Florida State University College of Medicine

Trevor Sasserath, 2015 graduate in Biochemistry, is a Research Associate at the University of Central Florida NanoScience Technology Center and acts as a Cell Biologist at Hesperos

The following students graduated before the introduction of the Biochemistry major but participated in extensive research in the Biochemistry labs:

Joseph Embry, veterinary medicine at Texas A&M
David Hallenbeck, dental school at University of Buffalo
Levi Embry, veterinary medicine at Oklahoma State University
Duy Nguyen, medical school at St. George’s University School of Medicine
Phillip Buckley, Graduate of the University of Kansas School of Dentistry and recipient of the Army Dental Health Scholarship
Dr. Andrew Mullally, Graduate of the Michigan State School of Human Medicine (Michigan State University)
Dan Ade, Indiana University School of Dentistry
Anthony Jay, granted Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University