Biochemistry is the study of living organisms at the molecular level.
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Degree options: BSc honours or major; Any degree, minor
As part of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mount Allison's biochemistry program is designed to provide students with a solid science foundation in the first two years, with paths for specialization in third and fourth years.
You will begin your studies by examining the world around you at the molecular level, with courses including:
- introductory biochemistry
- introductory chemistry
- cell biology
- organic or analytical chemistry
- enzymology and metabolism
Third year is a pivotal year in the program as you will take core lab courses that lay the foundation for research in biochemistry, including lab only courses like Molecular Analyses and Experiential Biochemistry.
Upper year courses concentrate on sub-disciplines of biochemistry, with topics like:
- nucleic acids
- molecular structure of the immune system
- animal, bacterial, and plant viruses
- protein structures and function
- biochemical ecology
- lipids and membranes
- signal transduction
- animal physiology
Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program, which means you may also take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and mathematics.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry emphasizes experiential learning — you will graduate with 600 to 1,200 hours of lab experience, developing important analytical and presentation skills along the way.
Research is a key component of the department's approach. You will be encouraged to take advantage of faculty-supervised independent research, job opportunities as summer research assistants, and chances to contribute to faculty research projects, which often leads to co-authoring a paper with your professor for publication.
Major and honours programs are accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry.
Find a list of biochemistry courses in the academic calendar – biochemistry.
Popular career paths for biochemistry graduates include:
- genetics researcher
- agricultural biochemist
- atmospheric/environmental biochemist
- public health nutritionist/dietitian
- food/nutritional biochemist
- forensic scientist
- biological oceanographer
- medical doctor
- public/global health administration
"I love taking courses in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and physics for my degree. You come to see how every subject is related to one another which really sets you up for holistic learning.
"Biochemistry not only provides a lot of lab time — it also teaches a wide range of skills used frequently in real research labs, which is pretty exciting.
Something particularly special about Mount A in relation to the biochem program is the number of research possibilities offered. You get opportunities in research as well as more interactions with professors both in the classroom and the lab. This kind of first-name-basis-feel is something I doubt I would find anywhere else but Mount A. There are so many benefits from being able to get to know both your professors as well as your peers in the department."
Honours biochemistry, minor in biology ('16)
New Harbour, NL
"My degree has turned out to involve a very hands-on, holistic approach to the subjects involved in my studies. The beauty of pursuing a Bachelor of Science at Mount Allison is the wide variety of research opportunities that you have. As a small, primarily undergraduate school, professors look to younger students for volunteers and summer research assistants, as early as your second year. Even if you don’t think you want to work in a research lab as a career, it’s a great experience for improvement of general laboratory skills in the classroom and independence in the field."
Honours biochemistry, minors in biology and chemistry (’16)
“This is an attractive program to those who enjoy seeing how things work at the most basic scale, hands-on learning (there are big lab components, especially in third and fourth year), and who want to be intellectually stimulated.
“You get to know your professors, laboratory technicians, and classmates at a personal level that contributes to the friendly environment. In keeping with the Mount A way, everybody in the department is extremely helpful. I recently worked with a number of professors in the department who helped make sure the course I’m taking on exchange (in New Zealand!) will count towards my degree back home.”
Elenor (Ellie) Henry
Honours Biochemistry, minor in biology (’16)
Biochemistry students are provided with numerous opportunities to carry out independent research and to work with faculty on their research projects, even co-authoring papers with them. All faculty members in the chemistry and biochemistry department have active research programs that undergraduate students can get involved in by volunteering their time during the academic year, or by participating in the department's summer research program where students get paid a stipend for their efforts in the lab.
L.H. Cragg Resource Centre
Generously donated by the Mount Allison Class of 1949, the L.H. Cragg Resource Centre plays an integral part in research done by science students by providing computing facilities and software to help analyze and present data collected during research.
Established by associate professor in biochemistry Dr. Tyson MacCormack, this lab uses a variety of physiological and biochemical techniques to study how animals adapt to environmental stressors like hypoxia, extreme temperatures, and anthropogenic pollutants. The team of researchers in this lab is made up of highly qualified Mount Allison undergraduate and master's students.
The MacCormack Laboratory also utilizes the Harold Crabtree Aqualab: Centre for Aquatic Sciences – an aquatic animal holding and experimentation facility with freshwater and seawater supplies.