The mission of the Biochemistry Program at Muhlenberg College is to offer a challenging curriculum that integrates classroom and laboratory based learning in the interdisciplinary study of living systems at the molecular level. Students explore the interface of chemistry and biology while negotiating distinct yet complementary modes of inquiry traditionally employed by biologists and chemists. Our program requires that students confront the implicit responsibilities as well as the societal and ethical implications of research, critically engage with scientific information, and develop the reasoning skill necessary to navigate rapidly changing landscape of knowledge. We value student-faculty collaborative research, and we encourage the publication and presentation of student work. Our curriculum offers students the opportunity for ACS-certification and prepares students for a variety of careers, graduate research, or professional study post graduation while allowing students the flexibility to participate fully in the broader goals of a liberal arts education.
As part of the Muhlenberg community, the Biochemistry Program strives to promote respect, understanding, and engagement with varied “perspectives and experiences, particularly those of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups,” as articulated in the College’s Statement on Diversity. While we encourage and advocate for all students engaged in our program, we especially seek equity in access, support and completion rates for students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented or marginalized in the scientific community. As also reflected in the Statement, we commit to actively working to ensure that the learning and working spaces are safe and welcoming to all students, staff, and faculty.
Program Learning Goals
Students will be able to:
1. Articulate the Central Dogma of molecular biology, including the chemistry and roles of DNA, RNA, and protein.
2. Describe relationships between structure and function for the four classes of macromolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids).
3. Analyze bioinformatics data (e.g., sequence homology) and use it to predict function in the context of evolution.
4. Use chemical principles to describe reactions and interactions of biomolecules and interpret experimental data on biomolecules using knowledge of chemical structure and function.
5. Integrate chemical and biological perspectives to identify, describe and evaluate metabolic themes and strategies, including the dynamic roles of significant small molecules (e.g. ATP, NADH) and the interactions of macromolecules.
Students will be able to:
Engage with the scientific literature
1. Critically read scientific literature to determine why and how experiments were conducted and analyze data and conclusions.
2. Demonstrate awareness of major research questions in biochemistry and navigate both primary and secondary sources to identify relevant areas of research.
Work as a scientist
1. Propose wet-lab experiments and in-silico investigations to answer questions and solve problems.
2. Capably work in a biochemistry laboratory, carrying out methods, using instrumentation, and documenting work appropriately.
Communicate and collaborate
1. Communicate science in writing and orally for both expert and non-expert audiences.
2. Work collaboratively in and outside the class setting.
1. Apply biochemical principles and integrate biochemistry with closely related disciplines to address new problems.
2. Recognize and evaluate implications of ethical and social issues that arise within biochemistry and associated fields.
Reflect on diversity and inclusion
1. Articulate and understand advances in biochemistry within the context of identity, power structures, and privilege within science.
2. Discuss how inclusivity benefits science and identify and apply approaches to support diversity and anti-racist practices, including confronting one’s own biases.