Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

The goal of Hamilton's Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Program is to encourage students to explore biochemical concepts through extensive research opportunities and close collaboration between students and instructors.

The study of biology gives us an understanding of the structure, the evolution and the diversity of living organisms. The study of chemistry reveals the composition and behavior of matter itself. These two fundamental forms of scientific inquiry meet in biochemistry — the study of living organisms at the molecular level. At Hamilton, the biochemistry/molecular biology program combines the strengths and resources of the two disciplines to create a third distinct research-based major.

How are molecules constructed? How do they interact? What are the dynamics of organic matter or the molecular level? Such questions, and the research through which they are investigated, are the starting points for a broad knowledge of biology and chemistry. Biochemical concepts and processes are central to many of the most crucial issues of our time, from the spread and treatment of disease to environmental damage to agricultural safety to the threat of bioterrorism.

While courses in biology and chemistry introduce a broad range of students to the life sciences, the biochemistry/molecular biology program offers a strong scientific grounding for students who plan to pursue graduate study or enter the health professions and related fields. Building on a foundation of coursework in biology and chemistry, the biochemistry curriculum begins with a course that explores the chemical properties of macromolecules synthesized by cells. Later courses deal with intermediary metabolism, replication, cell signaling and molecular genetics.

Laboratory activities are an integral part of the curriculum. They expose students to modern biochemical techniques and applications. Classes are small, and students and faculty members work closely together. At all levels, the biochemistry/molecular biology program offers a stimulating, thought-provoking experience.