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Director of Undergraduate Biochemistry Studies

Dr. Bernadette Holdener


Phone: 631-632-8292

Office: Centers for Molecular Medicine 346
Zoom Office hours: Mondays 10-12, Wednesdays 1-3, Fridays 11-12 or email for an appointment.  Zoom links for current students can be found in Brightspace Organizations - Undergraduate Biochemistry Majors or in Navigate . Others email for link. 

During school breaks or summer session please confirm availability

For information on the Division of Undergraduate Biological Sciences go to:

The Biochemistry Major - Challenge Your Mind

The Biochemistry Undergraduate Major Program provides a challenging and exciting introduction to the chemical basis of biological phenomena. Biochemistry is a major for students who want to know how living systems operate and how they are regulated. The major is designed to prepare students who intend to pursue graduate study, attend health-related professional schools, pursue secondary school teaching careers, and fill entry-level positions in private, state, and federal laboratories or in pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries.

Majors in biochemistry will take basic biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics as the bedrock of their education. They will then take courses in genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and biochemistry laboratory. Students must choose at least two elective courses from an approved list of about 20 courses at the junior or senior level which includes such offerings such as cancer biology, physiology, microbiology, bioinformatics, neurobiology, developmental biology and many others. Students who perform research in faculty laboratories will receive upper division credit. Upper division credit is also given for being a Teaching Assistant in our courses or for readings courses taken with a faculty member. Students may not declare a double major among biochemistry, biology, and pharmacology majors. All students are eligible to declare the biochemistry major, but must maintain a minimum grade of C in all required coursework to obtain a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biochemistry. In addition to the BS degree, a number of combined degree options (BS, MS or BS, MBA) are available for Biochemistry majors.

Mission Statement:

The Biochemistry major provides students with the tools to understand the biochemical and cellular principles of life and trains the next generation of life scientists. The major provides a rigorous curriculum designed to engage the student directly in defining the underlying principles of living organisms. Cutting edge research is integrated with our core courses so that students are aware of the current thinking and approaches in biochemical, genetic and cellular research.

Program Goals:

  • Provide a general foundation of knowledge in biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics.
  • Engage students in scientific inquiry.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to participate in experimental design and science communication.
  • Prepare students for professional or graduate education and careers in the life sciences.

Students graduating with a BS in Biochemistry should be able to demonstrate:

Mastery in knowledge in the following areas:

  • The principles underlying modern biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and the thermodynamics of living systems.
  • The principles and applications of modern instrumentation, computation, experimental design, and data analysis.
  • The opportunities in, and requirements for, careers available to biochemistry majors.

The following skills:

  • Locate, retrieve, and evaluate scientific information.
  • Communicate clearly and precisely, in writing and orally, how molecules define the basic functions of the living world.
  • Demonstrate laboratory skills that allow basic research questions in biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics to be pursued.
  • Design, perform, and quantitatively/qualitatively evaluate the results of laboratory experiments.
  • Work as part of a team to solve a basic scientific problem.
  • Critique and apply logical reasoning to questions related to human health, the living environment, and public policy.

To Declare a Biochemistry Major:

All students are eligible to declare a Biochemistry Major; however, combined degrees in Biochemistry and Biology or Pharmacology are not permitted. To declare a Biochemistry Major, complete a major declaration "form" in Solar. Before declaring the major, we recommend that students speak with the Director of Undergraduate Biochemistry Majors or a  Division of Undergraduate biology advisor.