Biochemisty now available at UA

“If you have been interested in both chemistry and biology, wishing there could be a major that combines both, look no further. As the University of Akron grows, so does its selection of majors. The latest innovation in education is a collaboration of ideas expressed by the biology and chemistry department, appropriately called the biochemistry major.”

If you have been interested in both chemistry and biology, wishing there could be a major that combines both, look no further.

As the University of Akron grows, so does its selection of majors. The latest innovation in education is a collaboration of ideas expressed by the biology and chemistry department, appropriately called the biochemistry major.

Recently approved by the Ohio Board of Regents, this program of study had previously only existed at a graduate level. To create a greater interest in the booming fields of biochemistry and biotechnology, the University of Akron decided to support it.

The focus of the faculty has switched into biochemistry research, said Dr. Kim Calvo, chair of the Department of Chemistry. We will be able to provide a better background as of now for our students.

Calvo also mentioned that statistics from the American Chemical Society show that the number of chemistry major s declining, while the number of biochemistry majors is steadily rising.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology claims a growth of twelve to seventeen percent annually in this major.

The focus of this major is on the interrelating factors of biology and chemistry specifically on the molecular level, according to the American Chemical Society.

According to Calvo, the greatest opportunities for bachelor’s degree graduates involve testing of pharmaceuticals  and biomedical devices. There are even better opportunities on the graduate level, and the possibility of medical school is also an option.

According to Bio, the biotechnology industry organization, the biotechnology industry has grown quickly in the past few years; US healthcare biotech revenues have gone from $8 billion in 1992 to $50.7 billion in 2005.

The decision to begin this biomedical degree began in the department of Chemistry committee nearly two years ago. Calvo became the chair during this process and saw the whole process of the evaluation through.

Two new courses will be offered on the junior/senior level, according to Calvo: a biochem laboratory, and a Physical Chemistry for biochemical majors, which focuses on thermodynamics and mechanics, geared towards molecular biology.

We hope our graduates will be well trained in both experimental chemistry and experimental biology, Calvo said. We want them to develop excellent laboratory skills.

The biochemical major courses will begin to be offered in Fall 2008.