The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program supports students in the study of biological systems at the molecular level, offering excellent preparation for graduate study in biochemistry and molecular biology, molecular genetics, developmental biology, genomics, and systems biology. It also provides invaluable training for students wishing to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, and other health science professions. The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee, composed of biology and chemistry faculty members, administers this program and advises majors.
The study of biological systems at the molecular level relies on concepts and methods that have been adapted from chemistry, physics, and biology; hence, a firm grounding in these disciplines is central to successful study of this field. Entering students considering this major are urged to take General Chemistry in their first year at Mills. Students wishing to pursue careers in research are further urged to obtain laboratory research experience; opportunities are available both on and off campus.
Students have access to a variety of pieces of equipment used in this disciplinary area; for example: thermal cyclers for polymerase chain-reactions, a digital gel imaging system, nucleic acid hybridization ovens, an ultraviolet (UV) wavelength cross-linker, a tabletop ultracentrifuge, UV-visible spectrophotometers, both gas-liquid and high-performance liquid chromatographs, a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, a fluorometer, and a 96-well plate reader. The Scheffler Bio-Imaging Center houses a Leica DMLR research-quality fluorescence microscope with a digital camera and a research-quality Nikon dissecting scope capable of photo microscopy. Standard laboratory equipment is also available, such as clinical and high-speed centrifuges and micro-centrifuges, bacterial cell shakers and incubators, electrophoresis equipment, dissecting and compound microscopes, and culturing facilities for embryos and algae.
Note: To declare a major in biochemistry and molecular biology, a student must have completed General Biology (BIO 001), General Chemistry (CHEM 017 and CHEM 018), and at least one semester of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 105). The grade average for these courses must be at least B-. Some exceptions may be made upon the recommendation of the program committee. Students required to declare a major before completing these courses may provisionally declare the major. The provisional declaration may be revoked if the student does not earn a B- average or better in these courses.