Our undergraduate major enrolls about 120 students and is the only
Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry & Biophysics (BB) in Oregon.

Since a Bachelors of Science program in Biochemistry and Biophysics involves life science, quantitative work, and physical science training, graduates of our program are well-prepared for postgraduate research or training in all aspects of modern biology. These include, but are not limited to, medicine, forensics, pharmacy/pharmacology, physiology, neurosciences, microbiology, immunology, dentistry, genetics, cell biology, marine biology, numerous fields in agriculture and biological oceanography. In addition, the success rate of OSU BB students getting into professional schools (medical, dental, pharmacy, and even law school) is the highest on the campus. We encourage our majors to extend their education outside the classroom by taking advantage of opportunities for undergraduate research.

Biochemists and biophysicists use the methods of physical science to study life processes at a fundamental level. Biochemists and biophysicists carry out both basic and applied research. Research biochemists ask questions like the following: How is information transmitted to direct cellular functions? What controls the expression of genes, to account for cellular differentiation? How do cells convert chemical energy, in the form of nutrients, to mechanical energy (as in muscle contraction), or electrical energy (as in nerve conduction)? How do organisms protect themselves, against environmental toxins and pollutants, or against infectious agents? How do hormones act, to control cell growth and differentiation? What are the molecular events in the processes of aging and cancer formation?

Biophysicists are interested in the same problems, but they use physical methods to ask questions, such as the following: How do biopolymers, such as proteins and nucleic acids, fold to achieve their regular three-dimensional shapes? How do their three-dimensional shapes relate to the function(s) they perform? How do genetic mutations change the structure and function of proteins? How do cell membranes carry out the transport of specific compounds? How do biological regulators, such as hormones and neurotransmitters, recognize and bind to their control sites on the cell surface? The principles of molecular biophysics are also the foundation of modern drug design methods used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Information produced by the Human Genome Project, identifying and mapping every gene in human cells, is creating multiple challenges for biochemists and biophysicists, in learning the biological function of every human protein. Biochemists and biophysicists want to see the fruits of their research put to good use for improvement of the human condition. Therefore, many biochemists and biophysicists do applied research in medical science, agriculture, nutrition, clinical chemistry, food science, toxicology, environmental science, biotechnology, and drug development.

Programmatic Outcomes

Biochemistry Specific Core Knowledge:

Students will be able to acquire, articulate, retain and apply specialized language and knowledge relevant to Biochemistry.

Biophysics Specific Core Knowledge:

Students will be able to acquire, articulate, retain and apply specialized language and knowledge relevant to Biophysics.

Biochemistry & Biophysics Specific Laboratory Knowledge:

Students will participate in research laboratories and contribute meaningfully to research efforts by applying skills from coursework supplemented with laboratory-specific techniques.

General knowledge and skills:

Students will communicate scientific concepts, experimental results and analytical arguments clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing.

Student Engagement:

Students will demonstrate engagement in the Biochemistry & Biophysics major through involvement in research or internship activities, the Biochemistry Club and outreach or mentoring activities specific to Biochemistry & Biophysics.

What can I do with a Biochemistry & Biophysics degree?

Since a Bachelors of Science program in Biochemistry and Biophysics involves life science, quantitative work, and physical science training, graduates of our program are well prepared to do postgraduate work in other biological fields including medicine, pharmacology, physiology, neurosciences, microbiology, immunology, dentistry, genetics, cell biology, entomology, agricultural science, biological oceanography, fisheries and wildlife, toxicology, food science and technology, environmental sciences, forensics, marine biology, and nutrition. In addition, the success rate of OSU BB students getting into professional schools (medical, dental, pharmacy school) is the highest on the campus.

Biochemists and Biophysicists find employment in colleges and universities, in medical schools, in government and private research institutes, in hospitals, and in industry. Industrial employers include chemical companies, food-processing plants, drug manufacturers, the cosmetic industry, and manufacturers of agricultural chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). Biochemistry is extensively intertwined with biotechnology, which is the use of modern techniques in biology to achieve practical objectives. This has greatly expanded the industrial market for biochemists and biophysicists. The most rewarding careers require completion of a doctoral degree—PhD or a professional degree. This is essential for anyone who wants to direct an independent research program.

Biochemistry is extensively intertwined with biotechnology, which is the use of modem techniques in biology to achieve practical objectives. This has greatly expanded employment opportunities for biochemists and biophysicists at all degree levels.

Mailing Address:

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
2011 Ag Life Sciences Bldg
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-7305 USA

Department Phone and FAX:

Phone: 541-737-4511
FAX: 541-737-0481

Department email address:

BB.Office@oregonstate.edu

Department Head (Andy Karplus) email address:

andy.karplus@oregonstate.edu

Lead Undergraduate Advisor (Kevin Ahern) email address:

ahernk@oregonstate.edu