- McIntyre Medical Building
- 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler, Room 905
- Montreal QC H3G 1Y6
- Telephone: 514-398-7262
- Email: christine.laberge [at] mcgill.ca
- Website: mcgill.ca/biochemistry
What is Biochemistry?
Biochemistry is the application of chemistry to the study of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. It emerged as a distinct discipline around the beginning of the 20th century when scientists combined chemistry, physiology, and biology to investigate the chemistry of living systems.
- The study of life in its chemical processes: Biochemistry is both a life science and a chemical science—it explores the chemistry of living organisms and the molecular basis for the changes occurring in living cells. It uses the methods of chemistry, physics, molecular biology, and immunology to study the structure and behaviour of the complex molecules found in biological material and the ways these molecules interact to form cells, tissues, and whole organisms. Biochemistry graduates are interested, for example, in mechanisms of brain function, cellular multiplication and differentiation, communication within and between cells and organs, and the chemical bases of inheritance and disease. The biochemistry student seeks to determine how specific molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, vitamins, and hormones function in such processes. Particular emphasis is placed on regulation of chemical reactions in living cells.
- An essential science: Biochemistry has become the foundation for understanding all biological processes. It has provided explanations for the causes of many diseases in humans, animals, and plants. It can frequently suggest ways by which such diseases may be treated or cured.
- A practical science: Because biochemistry seeks to unravel the complex chemical reactions that occur in a wide variety of life forms, it provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. It underlies and includes such exciting new fields as molecular genetics and bioengineering. The knowledge and methods developed by biochemistry scientists are applied in all fields of medicine, in agriculture, and in many chemical- and health-related industries. Biochemistry is also unique in providing teaching and research opportunities in both protein structure/function and genetic engineering, the two basic components of the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology.
- A varied science: As the broadest of the basic sciences, biochemistry includes many subspecialties such as neurochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, clinical biochemistry, physical biochemistry, molecular genetics, biochemical pharmacology, and immunochemistry. Recent advances in these areas have created links among technology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry.
The Department of Biochemistry offers three undergraduate programs:
This is the most flexible of the departmental programs offered, providing students with a useful concentration in biochemistry while allowing them to pursue a minor in another speciality or to broaden their education in the sciences.
The Major program becomes more specialized in biochemistry during the final two years. This program requires skills and insight from all areas of chemistry, and from other areas such as biology, physiology, microbiology and immunology, statistics, and pharmacology. For students aiming for a professional career in the biological sciences or in medicine, these programs can lead to postgraduate studies and research careers in hospital, university, or industrial laboratories.
The Honours program in Biochemistry combines the substantial background given by the Major program with a challenging opportunity to carry out laboratory research projects in the U3 year. These courses provide students with research experience under the supervision of a professor in the Department. Honours students intending to pursue an M.Sc. in Biochemistry may be interested in the B.Sc./M.Sc. track, which offers a streamlined path to a graduate degree.
Our Major and Honours programs provide a sound background for students aiming for a professional career in biochemistry. The less specialized Liberal program allows students to select courses in other fields of interest. The Liberal program provides students with the opportunity to study the core of one science discipline along with a breadth component from another area of science or from many other disciplines; for more information, see Faculty of Science > Undergraduate > Faculty Degree Requirements > Program Requirements > Liberal, Major, and Honours Programs.
During the first year, each program provides introductory lecture and laboratory courses in biochemistry, as well as basic courses in cell and molecular biology and organic and physical chemistry. In the second and third years, the programs offer an expanded focus in biochemistry through lecture courses, a second laboratory course in biochemistry, and opportunities to carry out research projects in faculty members' laboratories through our BIOC 396, BIOC 462, and BIOC 491 courses. Students can also take a variety of complementary courses in other biological, biomedical, and chemical disciplines in their second and third years.
Increasingly complex technology requires training in both chemistry and biology. As well, the combination of chemistry, molecular biology, enzymology, and genetic engineering in our programs provides the essential background and training in biotechnology. With this, our graduates can work in a variety of positions in industry and health. These range from R&D in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, to testing and research in government and hospital laboratories, to management. Many graduates pursue higher degrees in research and attain academic positions in universities and colleges.
Additional information is available on the Department of Biochemistry website.
|Rhoda Blostein; B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.), F.R.S.C.|
|Philip E. Branton; B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(Tor.), F.R.S.C. (Gilman Cheney Professor of Biochemistry)|
|Peter E. Braun; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Br. Col.), Ph.D.(Calif., Berk.)|
|Robert E. MacKenzie; B.Sc.(McG.), M.N.S., Ph.D.(Cornell)|
|Walter E. Mushynski; B.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.)|
|John R. Silvius; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Alta.)|
|Clifford P. Stanners; B.Sc.(McM.), M.A., Ph.D.(Tor.)|
|Maria Zannis-Hadjopoulos; B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.) (joint appt. with Oncology and Medicine and Health Science)|
|Nicole Beauchemin; B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(Montr.) (joint appt. with Oncology and Medicine and Health Science)|
|Albert Berghuis; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Groningen), Ph.D.(Br. Col.)|
|Maxime Bouchard; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Laval)|
|Josée Dostie; B.Sc.(Sher.), Ph.D.(McG.) (CIHR New Investigators Award; Chercheure-boursière du FRSQ)|
|Thomas Duchaine; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Montr.) (Chercheur-boursier du FRSQ)|
|Imed Gallouzi; Maitrise, D.E.A., Ph.D.(Montp.)|
|Kalle Gehring; B.A.(Brown), M.Sc.(Mich.), Ph.D.(Calif., Berk.) (Chercheur National du FRSQ)|
|Vincent Giguère; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Laval) (joint appt. with Oncology and Medicine and Health Science)|
|Philippe Gros; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Montr.), Ph.D.(McG.), F.R.S.C. (James McGill Professor)|
|Alba Guarné; B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(Barcelona)|
|Roderick R. McInnes; B.Sc., M.D.(Dal.), Ph.D.(McG.)|
|William Muller; B.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.) (Canada Research Chair in Molecular Oncology)|
|Bhushan Nagar; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Tor.)|
|Alain Nepveu; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Montr.), Ph.D.(Sher.) (James McGill Professor) (joint appt. with Oncology and Medicine and Health Science)|
|Morag Park; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Glas.), F.R.S.C. (Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics) (James McGill Professor) (joint appt. with Oncology and Medicine and Health Science)|
|Arnim Pause; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Konstanz), Ph.D.(McG.)|
|Jerry Pelletier; B.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.) (James McGill Professor)|
|Nahum Sonenberg; M.Sc., Ph.D.(Weizmann Inst.), F.R.S.C., F.R.S. (James McGill Professor) (Gilman Cheney Chair in Biochemistry)|
|David Y. Thomas; B.Sc.(Brist.), M.Sc., Ph.D.(UCL; UK), F.R.S.C. (Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics)|
|Michel L. Tremblay; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Sher.), Ph.D.(McM.), F.R.S.C. (Jeanne and Jean-Louis Levesque Chair in Cancer Research)|
|Sidong Huang; B.A.(Boston), Ph.D.(Calif. San Francisco) (Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics)|
|Selena M. Sagan; B.Sc., (McG.), Ph.D. (Ott.)|
|Martin Schmeing; B.Sc.(McG.), Ph.D.(Yale) (Canada Research Chair in Macromolecular Machines)|
|Jose G. Teodoro; B.Sc.(UWO), Ph.D.(McG.) (CIHR New Investigators Award; Chercheur-boursier du FRSQ)|
|Jason C. Young; B.Sc.(Tor.), Ph.D.(McM.)|
|Natasha C. Chang; B.Sc., M.Sc.(McG.)|
|Maxime Denis; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Montr.)|
|Lawrence Kazak; Ph.D.(Camb.)|
|William Pastor; Ph.D.(Harv.)|
|Maria Vera Ugalde; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Navarra)|
|Ian Watson; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Tor.) (Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics of Melanoma)|
|Gary Brouhard (Dept. of Biology)|
|Marc Fabian (Dept. of Oncology)|
|Robert S. Kiss (Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Gergely Lukacs (Dept. of Physiology)|
|Luke McCaffrey (Dept. of Oncology)|
|Joaquin Ortega (Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology)|
|Janusz Rak (Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Stéphane Richard (Depts. of Medicine and Health Science, and Oncology)|
|Reza Salavati (Inst. of Parasitology)|
|Erwin Schurr (Ctr. for Host Resistance, MGH)|
|Peter Siegel (Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Ivan Topisirovic (Dept. of Oncology)|
|Youla S. Tsantrizos (Dept. of Chemistry)|
|Bernard Turcotte (Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Josie Ursini-Siegel (Dept. of Oncology)|
|Simon Wing (Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Xiang-Jiao Yang (Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, Dept. of Medicine and Health Science)|
|Jacques Drouin; B.Sc., D.Sc.(Laval) (IRCM)|
|Enrico Purisima; B.Sc.(Ateneo de Manila), M.Sc., Ph.D.(Cornell) (NRC/BRI)|
|Julie St-Pierre; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Laval), Ph.D.(Trin. Coll., Cambridge) (Ott.)|
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Liberal Program - Core Science Component Biochemistry (47 credits)
For more information, see Liberal Program - Core Science Component Biochemistry (47 credits).
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Major Biochemistry (64 credits)
Students may transfer into the Major program at any time, provided they have met all course requirements.
For more information, see Major Biochemistry (64 credits).
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Honours Biochemistry (73 credits)
Admission to the Honours program will not be granted until U2. Students who wish to enter the Honours program in U2 should follow the U1 Major program. Those who satisfactorily complete the U1 Major program with a GPA of at least 3.20 and a mark of B- or better in every required course are eligible for admission to the Honours program.
For more information, see Honours Biochemistry (73 credits).
Biochemistry (BIOC) Related Programs
Biochemistry (BIOC) Related Programs
Interdepartmental Honours in Immunology
Interdepartmental Honours in Immunology
For more information, see Immunology. This program is offered by the Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, and Physiology.
Students interested in the program should contact:
- Dr. C. Piccirillo
- Microbiology and Immunology
- Telephone: 514-934-1934, ext. 76143
- Email: ciro.piccirillo [at] mcgill.ca
- Dr. Monroe Cohen
- Telephone: 514-398-4342
- Email: monroe.cohen [at] mcgill.ca