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Biochemistry

General Information

Biochemistry is the study of the molecular basis of life. Lying at the interface between chemistry and biology, biochemistry is concerned with the structure and interaction of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules as related to their function in biological systems. As one of the most dynamic areas of science, biochemistry has led to improved medicines and diagnostic agents, new ways of controlling disease, and greater understanding of the chemical factors that control our general health and well-being.

The bachelor of science degree in biochemistry is appropriate for students pursuing advanced degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics as well as in the biomedical fields and health professions.

Before declaring the biochemistry major, students must earn at least 30 credits in courses graded A-F at Syracuse, and earn at least a grade of C+ in CHE 275 and BIO 326 or 327.

Requirements

To view the course catalog click here

Distinction in Biochemistry

Biochemistry majors are encouraged to participate in research through its BCM 460 course. For students whose research culminates in a written thesis, it is possible to graduate with Distinction in Biochemistry if the following requirements are met:

• The student must have a transcript showing an overall cumulative GPA of 3.4, and must also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 in all natural sciences and mathematics courses taken at S.U.

• The student must have taken a minimum of 6 credits of BCM 460.

• Before completion of the final semester at Syracuse University, the student must make a presentation (either poster or oral) based on his/her research, at one of the following: (1) the Capstone Project Presentation in the Honors Program; (2) the Syracuse University Biology Department Undergraduate Research Conference in April; (3) an external conference sponsored by an outside (non-S.U.) educational institution with its own accredited 4-year biochemistry degree program; (4) an external conference sponsored by a nationally-recognized scientific society with a biochemistry component (e.g. ACS, FASEB, Biophysical Society). A symposium specifically designed for undergraduate researchers from multiple institutions and sponsored by a regional or local chapter of a national scientific society is understood to qualify as external, even if it is physically located at Syracuse University.

• The written thesis must be judged to be of high quality by a committee of readers selected from among the biochemistry program faculty listed in the Syracuse University Course Catalog. The student is responsible for selecting potential readers and obtaining their consent to serve. The committee of readers should include the research supervisor, but in any case must include at least one member whose primary appointment is in Syracuse University’s Biology Department, and one member whose primary appointment is in Syracuse University’s Chemistry Department. For further information, contact the biochemistry major advisors (James C. Dabrowiak, 315.443.4601, jcdabrow@syr.edu or Samuel H. Chan, 315.443.3182, shchan@syr.edu).

Scope of the Research Project:
It is recommended that students start their research as early as possible, but not less than three semesters before graduation. The amount and scope of the research required will vary somewhat with the specific problem studied. It is highly unlikely that students beginning research in their senior year will be able to amass enough data, and have the time to prepare a high quality thesis that meets the requirements for the degree with distinction.

Distinction Proposal Form:
A completed Distinction Proposal Form must be submitted to the Chemistry or Biology Department office in the semester prior to graduation. Submission deadlines are as follows:

May graduates: February 1
December graduates: September 15

Thesis Preparation:
Students should begin drafting chapters of their thesis and reviewing them with the research advisor in the fall of their senior year (May graduates). Toward the end of the spring semester after the advisor and the student have a revised draft, the thesis should be submitted to the reader for additional comments and suggestions. A suggested timeline for thesis preparation is given below:

Suggested Timeline for May Graduation:

  • Feb 15th   Submit completed draft to research advisor
  • Feb 16 - March 31st   Confer with advisor and make necessary revisions
  • April 1st - April 20th   Submit the revised draft to the reader and make the corrections suggested
  • April 20th - deadline   Prepare final research thesis for submission
    Obtain final approval and signatures from the advisor and reader
  • last Friday in April   Submit final document (2 hardcopies + electronic)

Suggested Timeline for December Graduation:

  • Oct 1st   Submit completed draft to research advisor
  • Oct 15 - Nov 15th   Confer with advisor and make necessary revisions
  • Nov 15th - Nov 25th   Submit the revised draft to the reader and make the corrections suggested
  • Nov 25th - deadline   Prepare final research thesis for submission
    Obtain final approval and signatures from the advisor and reader
  • first Wednesday in Dec.   Submit final document (2 hardcopies + eleclionic)

Thesis Submission:

Two copies of the final approved thesis, with original signatures, must be submitted to the Chemistry or Biology Department office. An electronic copy must also be provided. One of the hard copies will be bound and returned to the student. Deadlines for thesis submission are:
May graduates: last Friday in April
December graduates: first Wednesday in December


Honors Students:

Biochemistry majors who are writing a thesis to fulfill the Capstone requirements of the Honors Program may use the same thesis for the Degree with Distinction in Biochemistry but the title page should be modified appropriately. See the Thesis Guidelines for formatting instructions.

Please see program directors to obtain required paperwork.

Biochemistry is the study of the molecular basis of life. Lying at the interface between chemistry and biology, biochemistry is concerned with the structure and interaction of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules as related to their function in biological systems.

Program Directors

Samuel H.P. Chan

Samuel H.P. Chan 
Professor
Biology

James Hougland

James Hougland 
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Program Faculty

John Belote

John Belote 
Emeritus Professor
Biology

Philip N.  Borer

Philip N.  Borer 
Emeritus

Mark  Braiman

Mark  Braiman 
Professor, Chemistry

Carlos A.  Castañeda

Carlos A.  Castañeda 
Assistant Professor

Joseph Chaiken

Joseph Chaiken 
Professor, Chemistry

Arindam (Ari)  Chakraborty

Arindam (Ari)  Chakraborty 
Associate Professor, Chemistry

John D. Chisholm

John D. Chisholm 
Professor,
Chemistry

Heather D.  Coleman

Heather D.  Coleman 
Assistant Professor
Biology

James Dabrowiak

James Dabrowiak 
Emeritus, Chemistry

Robert Doyle

Robert Doyle 
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor - Director of Graduate Studies Associate Chair - Department of Chemistry Syracuse University; Associate Professor of Medicine - SUNY, Upstate Medical University
Chemistry

Scott Erdman

Scott Erdman 
Associate Professor
Biology

Thomas P. Fondy

Thomas P. Fondy 
Professor
Biology

Anthony Garza

Anthony Garza 
Associate Professor
Biology

James Hewett

James Hewett 
Associate Professor
Biology

Sandra Hewett

Sandra Hewett 
Beverly Petterson Bishop Professor of Neuroscience; Professor of Biology

Bruce Hudson

Bruce Hudson 
Professor, Chemistry

James Kallmerten

James Kallmerten 
Professor, Chemistry

Ivan V. Korendovych

Ivan V. Korendovych 
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Timothy Korter

Timothy Korter 
Professor, Chemistry

Katharine (Kate) Lewis

Katharine (Kate) Lewis 
Associate Professor
Biology

Yan-Yeung  Luk

Yan-Yeung  Luk 
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Eleanor Maine

Eleanor Maine 
Professor
Biology

Mathew M Maye

Mathew M Maye 
Professor,
Chemistry

Melissa E. Pepling

Melissa E. Pepling 
Professor and Associate Chair
Biology

Ramesh Raina

Ramesh Raina 
Professor, Biology and Department Chair

Karin  Ruhlandt

Karin  Ruhlandt 
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

John M. Russell

John M. Russell 
Emeritus Professor
Biology

Nancy I. Totah

Nancy I. Totah 
Associate Professor

Roy D. Welch

Roy D. Welch 
Professor
Biology

Jon Zubieta

Jon Zubieta 
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry