The biochemical field can be described in two ways, each of which reflects a researcher’s approach to their work and its perceived purpose. The first is the chemical perspective. In this view, biochemistry is life’s way of doing SN1, E2, electrophilic addition, etc. from organic chemistry. The scale of the processes and the physical size of the molecules are larger, but the basic rules are no different. The second perspective is biological. Biochemistry is the smallest scale of biological study, that of molecules and macromolecules. Every similarity is because of shared evolutionary history or similar selective pressures, and all metabolic processes are connected to feedback loops keeping the organism alive and ready for reproduction. Biochemistry is interdisciplinary because both perspectives complement each other and are not mutually exclusive.
~ Brian Acquaviva ’21
As an aspiring clinician, I felt that studying biochemistry would enable me to develop a robust foundation in the basic sciences that are most integral to effectively understanding and applying human medicine … Understanding how a molecular target functions on an organismal level is very interesting and important, but delving into how we can manipulate that target to seek a desired clinical outcome requires the scalpel that is biochemistry.
~Eli Sommer ’20
Of course, studying biochemistry has come to mean—in my world— late nights, gallons of coffee, one fried laptop, and enough flash cards to wallpaper a small apartment. In short, studying biochemistry means developing grit beyond anything I could have anticipated. However, to study in this field is to relish in the complex, to savor life’s most bewildering “whys,” and to celebrate the possibilities of “I don’t know yet.”.
~Em Panetta ’20
Biochemistry alumni are prepared for admittance to the nation's top graduate programs and employment as researchers and in careers as diverse as data management and analytics.
Recent graduate have continued their education in:
- M.D. programs at Robert Wood Johnson, Thomas Jefferson University, Drexel University, LIJ-Hofstra, Penn State Hershey, Medical College of Wisconsin
- D.O. program at Lake Erie College
- D.M.D. (Dental) program at Temple University
- D.P.T. (Physical Therapy) program at Emory University
- Ph.D. programs at the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Connecticut and the University of Delaware
- Master’s programs at Commonwealth/Geisinger Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University (Pharmacy) and Rutgers University (Library Science)
Recent graduates have worked as researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pfizer and Regeneron. Students have also explored other avenues; for example, one recent grad works in data management and analytics.