Biochemistry is the study of the chemical structures and processes of living organisms. It is an inherently mechanism-focused discipline.
Accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry.
At a Glance
At Mount Allison, Biochemistry students begin their studies by examining the world around them at the molecular level.
As part of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the 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.
Intro courses include:
- 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 available as:
- BSc major (75 credits)
- BSc honours (84 credits)
- Minor in any degree (24 credits)
BIOC 1001 — Introductory Biochemistry
This course introduces current topics and advances in Biochemistry and engages students in the scope and activities of the discipline. It examines the central role of water in biological systems, leading to an introduction of acid-base equilibria, the properties of biological membranes, and the bioenergetics of solutes moving across membranes. It introduces the principles of carbon bonding and electronegativity, leading to coverage of the bioorganic functional groups, whose characteristic properties and reactions combine to create the highly complex biological macromolecule classes of carbohydrates, proteins,nucleic acids, and lipids. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours, Tutorial 1.5 Hours)
BIOC 2001 — Enzymology and Metabolism
This course examines the properties of enzymes including kinetics and regulation. It introduces carbohydrate and fat metabolism, respiratory and photosynthetic electron transport, and nitrogen assimilation and dissimilation, concentrating on key stoichiometries, structures, redox biochemistry, and bioenergetics. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours, Laboratory 3 Hours)
BIOC 3001 — Experiential Biochemistry
This course teaches students to plan and conduct a range of current biochemical analyses including spectroscopy, gas analyses, and chromatographic separations and imaging, with particular emphasis on the new opportunities opened through high-throughput computerized data capture applied to both established and new instrumental analyses. In parallel it guides students through the processes of plotting, interpreting, and presenting the meaning of their results. (Format: Integrated Lecture and Laboratory, 6 Hours)
BIOC 3051 — Molecular Immunology
This course explains the core molecular structures of the immune system: antibodies and their interactions with antigens. It places these molecular interactions in the context of the cells and tissues of the immune system and the signaling cascades that regulate immune responses. The course concludes with topics in immunology and applications of immunochemistry. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
BIOC 4201 — Environmental Physiology and Biochemistry of Animals
This course in animal physiology examines the physiological and biochemical strategies animals use to survive in diverse, often stressful environments. Using primary literature from scientific journals, this course focuses on animal responses to environmental conditions such as hypoxia and anoxia, high and low temperatures, overwintering, altitude, environmental pollutants, osmotic stress, and UV radiation. (Format: Seminar 3 hours)
Find a full list of biochemistry courses in our Academic Calendar — Biochemistry.
Dr. Tyson MacCormack
Associate professor, Biochemistry
Whether you're entering the job market or continuing your education, your Mount Allison degree will stand out.
Mount Allison has been recognized by Maclean's as the top primarily undergraduate university in Canada more times than any other university.
With experiential learning and career development opportunities available in every degree, you'll also graduate with hands-on learning and on-the-job experience.
Our graduates also boast extraordinarily high acceptance rates to top graduate programs and professional schools such as law and medicine.
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
Dr. Bonnie Henry ('86)
BSc (Honours), Biochemistry
Provincial Health Officer, British Columbia Ministry of Health
One thing that Mount Allison is famous for is their small class sizes, and ability to conduct a significant amount of hands-on learning. I have learned so many techniques and worked with a variety of different professional instruments, and this skillset/knowledge is very attractive to future employers. In bigger schools, working with expensive equipment is often saved for MSc. students, but here, our undergraduates are trusted and encouraged to use the equipment that is available to them. Being able to do hands-on work has helped me better understand my class work, and made me a better biochemist overall.
I enjoyed the hands-on practical experience I received during my degree through labs and various research opportunities. Through this experience in the Biochemistry program I was pushed to become confident, independent, and a critical thinker in classroom. These developed skills will support my future academic and career plans.
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.
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.
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.
The MacCormack 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.