Max Majireck designs new chemical reactions for the synthesis of bioactive small molecules.
Biochemistry / Molecular Biology
The emphasis on discovery-based laboratory work and research means you will receive practical, hands-on training with many opportunities to learn outside the classroom. You and other students regularly will collaborate with instructors on projects that lead to publication in top research journals and presentations at scholarly conferences.
About the Major
While courses in biology and chemistry introduce a broad range of students to the life sciences, the biochemistry/molecular biology program offers a strong scientific grounding for students who plan to pursue graduate study or enter the health professions and related fields.
I feel like all students at Hamilton just pursue their passions. They are gung-ho. They just go for it. And we, really, on top of learning in the classroom, try to apply the knowledge that we have. And that’s kind of my passion: How do I take what I’m learning and make some sort of difference? I think that’s also why I’m premed. That’s why I want to go to medical school.
Rachel Sobel — biochemistry major
Building on a foundation of coursework in biology and chemistry, the biochemistry curriculum begins with a course that explores the chemical properties of macromolecules synthesized by cells. Later courses deal with intermediary metabolism, replication, cell signaling and molecular genetics. Classes are small, and students work closely with faculty members.
Careers After Hamilton
- Director, U.S. Regulatory Affairs, Pfizer Foundation
- Clinical Fellow, National Cancer Institute
- Plastic Surgeon, New York University Medical Center
- Neurosurgery Resident, Mount Sinai Hospital
- Senior Operations Analyst, Baxter Healthcare
- Pediatric Cardiologist, Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Biological Chemistry 270
A survey of the chemical and physical nature of biological macromolecules, including nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates; biochemistry of enzyme catalysis; bioenergetics and regulatory mechanisms. Principles and techniques of experimental biochemistry, focusing on isolation methods and techniques for analyzing structure and function. This course satisfies the second semester of a one-year General Chemistry requirement for post-graduate Health Professions programs, however, this course might not also satisfy a Health Profession program’s requirement for a course in Biochemistry.View All Courses
Biophysical Chemistry 320
A study of the fundamental concepts and principles of physical chemistry applied to biological systems. Topics include the spectroscopy, thermodynamics and kinetics of proteins and other biomolecules, and the use of this knowledge to explain the physical basis of biochemical properties.View All Courses
Physical Chemistry I 321
A study of the fundamental concepts and principles of quantum chemistry. Topics include the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics, the nature of the chemical bond, and applications of molecular quantum mechanics including spectroscopy and computational electronic structure methods.View All Courses
Physical Chemistry II 322
A study of the fundamental concepts and principles of thermodynamics and kinetics. Topics include statistical and classical thermodynamics, prediction of the direction and extent of chemical reactions, equilibrium, chemical kinetics, catalysis, and reaction rate theory.View All Courses
The advanced study of biochemical pathways in living organisms, with emphasis given to gene regulation and metabolism of four major macromolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Includes in-depth discussion of contemporary developments in molecular biology and comprehensive training in molecular techniques. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory.View All Courses
Senior Thesis I 550FS
A research project carried out in association with a faculty member.View All Courses
Research and Discovery
Cohen-Abeles ’23 Researching Parkinson’s at Biogen
Connections and Careers
Jakubczak ’23 Working on Data Analysis for Pfizer
These days, the name “Pfizer” brings to mind images of syringes and vaccine cards. But the pharmaceutical giant is concerned with far more than COVID-19 — just ask Ben Jakubczak ’23, who will be working remotely for Pfizer this summer. Jakubczak’s position will be as a research assistant, analyzing data on spontaneous blindness in Wistar Han rats in order to aid future toxicology studies.
Connections and Careers
Savannah Ryan ’21 Headed to Mass General as Researcher
Savannah Ryan ’21, a molecular biology and Hispanic studies double major, will join Mass General in Boston as a clinical researcher after graduation. She talks here about her new position and experiences that led her to this field.