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Biochemistry and Biophysics

Biochemistry and biophysics are closely related fields.

Biochemistry focuses on the interconversion of compounds in the many complex reactions of life, on the mechanisms whereby enzymes catalyze and regulate these reactions, and the function and structure of the molecular components of living organisms. Biophysics is principally concerned with processes of energy conversion, information transmission, and the structure and properties of materials in biological systems, as explored with methods of physics.

Biochemical and biophysical research is advancing the frontiers of research in the basic life sciences and making possible advances in more applied fields such as medicine and agriculture. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, elucidating mechanisms of drug action and devising new ways of dealing with diseases has increasingly depended on application of knowledge and techniques of biochemistry and biophysics.

Rensselaer’s biochemistry and biophysics undergraduate curriculum includes thorough grounding in mathematics, chemistry, and physics, along with modern biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular-level biology.

Advanced biochemistry and biophysics courses, many of which are jointly taught by biology and chemistry faculty, impart knowledge and training in cutting-edge research approaches. Students following this curriculum are thus exceptionally well prepared for graduate school and to become desirable prospective employees in various sectors of the biotechnology industry. The curriculum also provides an excellent background for students planning careers in medicine.

While rigorous, the undergraduate curriculum offers sufficient flexibility and course choices to allow students to tailor their education to particular career paths. Most students pursue undergraduate research in faculty laboratories. Many seek industrial experience through Rensselaer’s Cooperative Education Program, and the high degree of flexibility facilitates fitting a co-op experience into the degree program.

The master’s degree program primarily prepares students for jobs in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and other related industry sectors. It is also well suited to students wishing to upgrade their skills while employed in industry. The program may also be attractive to students wishing to obtain an M.S. degree before proceeding to professional study in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, etc.

Those with a B.S. degree in a field not closely related to modern biological science who wish to enter into a doctoral program at Rensselaer or elsewhere may also benefit from the program.

Learn more about the Biochemistry and Biophysics program

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