Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Program Overview

Let UNE’s Biochemistry degree be the gateway to your career in the thriving bioscience industry, or build on it as the cornerstone of your health professions training or other graduate study. Either way, you reap the benefits of being part of a comprehensive health sciences university that offers training in state-of-the-art lab techniques and sophisticated instrumentation. You’ll discover an uncommon breadth of undergraduate research opportunities that will develop your skills and put you ahead of the curve.

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Why UNE for Biochemistry

Biochemistry at UNE offers all the advantages of a major research university. Yet, nestled within the College of Arts and Sciences, the program provides you with close faculty relationships and one-on-one attention. The result? Exposure to a range of research opportunities that is rarely found at the undergraduate level.

  • Training in state-of-the-art lab techniques
  • Focus on independent experimental design
  • Proximity to health professions programs
  • Formal and informal peer mentoring
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Abundant local internship opportunities
Kayla Archambault

[The small class sizes make it] so I’ve been able to easily connect with professors...and get more in-depth one-on-one time. It makes it easier to go to office hours or get more familiar with the professors.

Applied Mathematics, Chemistry

Academics

Examples of Available Courses

There are many ways you can navigate our Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. The following are just some examples of the exciting courses that you can take:

  • Advanced Biochemistry Lab
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Advanced Lab
  • Physical Chemistry

Curriculum

CAS Core Requirements Credits
Total 42-46
Program required courses Credits
BIO 105/105L - Biology I (credits included in core requirements) 4
BIO 106/106L - Biology II 4
BIO 214/214L - Genetics 4
BIO 370 - Cell and Molecular Biology 3
CHE 150/150L - University General Chemistry I** 4
CHE 151/151L - University General Chemistry II** 4
CHE 250/250L/250S - University Organic Chemistry I** 5
CHE 251/251L/251S - University Organic Chemistry II** 5
CHE 307/307L - Quantitative Analysis 5
CHE 327 - Applied Physical Chemistry or CHE 371 - Physical Chemistry II 3
CHE 350/350L - Biochemistry I: Proteins 5
CHE 351 - Biochemistry II: Metabolism and Bioenergetics 3
CHE 401 - Chemistry Seminar 1
MAT 190 - Calculus I (credits included in core requirements) 4
MAT 195 - Calculus II 4
PHY 210 - University Physics I** 4
PHY 211 - University Physics II** 4
Total 58

**Matriculated majors are expected to enroll in the University course sequences for general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. The following substitutions may be made with program permission: CHE 110 for CHE 150; CHE 111 for CHE 151; CHE 210 or CHE 210G for CHE 250; CHE 211 or 211G for CHE 251; PHY 110 for PHY 210; and/or PHY 111 for PHY 211.

Flexible program required courses

Select a minimum of three program elective courses for a total of 9 credits, no more than 3 credits of which may be CHE 410 and/or CHE 411. At least one program elective course of the three must be taken, CHE 375, CHE 417/417L, or CHE 450. Consult with your advisor for approval of program electives not listed.

Course Credits
CHE 280 - Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry 3
CHE 320 - Mechanistic Organic Chemistry 3
CHE 370/370L - Physical Chemistry I 4
CHE 375 - Advanced Laboratory 2
CHE 380 - Inorganic Chemistry 3
CHE 405 - Medicinal Chemistry 3
CHE 410 - Research I 1-4
CHE 411 - Research II 1-4
CHE 417/417L - Instrumental Methods of Analysis 4
CHE 420 - Spectroscopic Methods of Structural Analysis 3
CHE 450 - Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory 3
Minimum flexible required credits 9
Minimum program credits 67
Open elective credits (as needed to reach 120 credits) Variable
Totals Credits
Minimum program credits 67
Open elective credits Variable
Minimum required total credits 120

Students in this major can participate in the pre-health graduate school preparation tracks.

To learn more about the program visit the Academic Catalog.

Graduate Program Pathways

As a Biochemistry student, you can take part in our GradVantage program for early admission to our medical, dental, physical therapy, and physician assistant graduate programs.

4+1 Accelerated Master of Science in Biotechnology

UNE has also partnered with The Roux Institute at Northeastern University to offer a 4+1 accelerated M.S. in Biotechnology. In this program, you can enroll in graduate-level courses as an undergraduate and transfer up to 12 credits to Northeastern's master's degree program offered by the Roux Institute. By doing so, you earn two degrees in five years.

To be eligible, you must be enrolled in either the B.S. in Medical Biology - Medical Sciences track or the B.S. in Biochemistry program at UNE.

For more information and to enroll in the program contact your academic advisor.

Honors Program

We offer qualified students the option of graduating with Honors. This includes significant research, scholarship or creative activity under the direction of a faculty member. Interested students should consult with their advisor. 

Biochemistry at UNE: Can Protein Polymers Help Injured Spines?

Associate Professor Eva Rose Balog, Ph.D., and Medical Biology student Galen Arnold ’22 discuss their work in Balog’s protein biochemistry and biomaterials research lab.
 

Careers

Follow in the footsteps of our Biochemistry majors who have made their marks at prestigious companies, such as Pfizer, IDEXX, and the Institute for Protein Innovation. With the knowledge, research skills, and internship experience you acquire at UNE, you too will garner distinction in your career as a biochemist.

As a Biochemistry graduate, you will find the door wide open to a number of fascinating careers, including:

  • Biotechnology Researcher
  • Biomedical Scientist
  • Laboratory Technician (changed from Health Care Scientist)
  • Research Scientist
  • Teacher
  • Science Journalist
  • Toxicologist
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Health Care Professional

Career Advising

Whether you have a specific career goal in mind or a vague idea of the field that interests you, Career Advising is here to help you plan your next step.

Facilities

Our Biophysics program is housed in Peter and Cecile Morgane Hall, with additional teaching and research laboratories in the Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences and biochemistry research laboratories in the Pickus Center for Biomedical Research. All of the facilities are located on our beautiful seaside campus in Biddeford.

Morgane Hall houses the general chemistry, general physics, and biochemistry teaching labs as well as some small research labs. The advanced chemistry teaching and research labs are located on the third floor of the Alfond Center and the first floor of the Pickus Center. Pickus offers flexible biochemistry research space, where you work with faculty using a wide range of modern chemical and biochemical instrumentation in facilities designed to be conducive to learning and research productivity.

Research

The ability to work closely with a faculty member on an interesting research project is one of the highlights of our undergraduate program. Listed below you will find descriptions of the research being carried out by our faculty.

Amy M. Deveau, Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

There are three ongoing research projects in Amy Deveau's (Dr. D) lab:

  1. The design and synthesis of naltrexol derivatives for use as pain and addiction therapies
  2. The synthesis and biological characterization of tryptophan-based DNA intercalators
  3. The synthesis of medicinally active, nitrogen-containing compounds using green Suzuki Coupling methodology, and the extension of these experiments to the undergraduate organic lab curriculum.

Overall, Dr. D is passionate about finding ways to interest students in science and in learning new ways to integrate teaching and research in the classroom (i.e. chemical pedagogy).

Headshot of Amy Deveau
Academic Director, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Professor of Chemistry
Stephen Fox, Inorganic Chemistry

Along with interested UNE students and scholars, Dr. Fox plans to:

  • Continue to characterize the physical and structural properties of the dicopper(I) model and its derivatives
  • Further customize the naphthyridine with electron-donating groups to enhance the reactivity of the dicopper(I) center; selectively remove/replace the bridging groups to investigate the utility of the dicopper(I) center as a catalyst for reactions such as aziridination
  • Investigate factors influencing the metal-metal separation through theoretical computational studies.
Amy Keirstead, Physical Organic Chemistry and Photochemistry

Research in Amy Keirstead's (Dr. K) group covers a wide variety of traditional areas, from synthetic organic chemistry to photochemistry, spectroscopy, materials science and green chemistry, and undergraduate students will gain experience in all of these areas. Two major pieces of equipment are used for this research: a photochemical reaction chamber, which is a steady-state instrument, and a nanosecond laser flash photolysis system, which uses a nanosecond laser and fast detection system to monitor reactions as they happen on the nanosecond to millisecond time scale.

Headshot of U N E employee Amy Keirstead, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Jerome Mullin, Analytical Chemistry

Several areas of research are being explored in Dr. Mullin's laboratory. One area is focused on the determination of heavy metal distributions in sediments from the Gulf of Maine, local rivers, and the Bering Sea, in an attempt to evaluate current levels of heavy metal pollution and identify degrees and sources of anthropogenic inputs of these elements. Of particular interest are the baseline heavy metal distributions in the Bering Sea, a relatively sparsely populated area of high primary productivity still considered to be largely unpolluted. Metals that have been determined to date, using atomic absorption spectroscopy and anodic stripping voltammetry, include cadmium, lead, and chromium.

Another area of research involves the spectroscopic and electrochemical characterization of a series of Group-14 and 15 metallacyclopentadienes (metalloles). These interesting compounds, which have unusual photoluminescence properties, show promise as monomeric units for the design of conducting polymers, for use in energy-transfer applications, as emitting species in light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and as components of chemical sensors. Luminescence quantum yields for the compounds recently have been determined and luminescence quenching studies are ongoing. Of special interest is the dramatic aggregation-induced emission (AIE) exhibited by many of these compounds, in which luminescence yields are increased by over two orders of magnitude compared to the unaggregated compounds. Current directions in this research also include the development of substituted metalloles designed for increased water solubility, improved luminescence yields, and for use as luminescent probes.

Photoluminescence is also the subject of research involving compounds containing a rare earth ion, e.g., Tb(III), Eu(III), or Dy(III) and the dicyanoaurate or dicyanoargentate ions. These compounds appear to have energy transfer characteristics that lead to "tunable" excitation of rare earth photoluminescence.

Other areas of interest include the development of fiber-optic probes based on fluorescence and/or chemiluminescence and the development of a chemiluminescence-based immunoassay system for the determination of trace amounts of dioxins.

Recent Grant Support: National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EOSAT Corporation, Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National Grants Program, American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund (PRF), University of New England.

Jerome Mullin
Professor of Chemistry
Ludcke Chair 2013
Deena Small, Biochemistry

One major research area in Dr. Small’s laboratory is the investigation of how proteins belonging to the Jagged1/Notch and Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) families interact and regulate adipocyte differentiation in response to hormones such as insulin. Since adipose tissue development and function is also dependent on the ability of the mature fat cells to secure a vascular system that will support its metabolic requirements, the study also includes analysis of Jagged1/Notch and FGF interactions as a regulator of angiogenesis- the formation of new blood vessels from the existing vasculature.

The second research project in The Small Laboratory is a toxicology study that characterizes the effects that Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), chemicals used as flame retardants in a variety of household goods, have on mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. In particular, research is focused on analyzing the effects that these endocrine-disrupting chemicals have on mesenchymal stem cell growth dynamics and their ability to differentiate into adipocytes and osteoblasts. These studies also document the impact that early PBDE exposure has on the formation of adipose and bone. The ultimate goal of both projects is to understand the connection that these signaling mediators have on human health and disease. Both research projects use a combination of cell culture and in vivo biomedical models such as the mouse and zebrafish. Techniques include standard biochemical/molecular biology methods including quantitative RT-PCR, immunoblot, and ELISA. In addition, Dr. Small employs molecular techniques such as cloning to produce transgenic mice and zebrafish for the studies. These projects involve collaborations with scientists from UNE, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, SUNY Geneseo, University of Maine, Bates College and University of Quebec, Montreal.

Deena Small
Associate Professor of Chemistry
John Stubbs, Physical Chemistry

The first area is focused on DNA sensor microarray technology, which is composed of single-stranded DNA oligomers bound to a surface. The development of this technology relies on knowledge of DNA denaturation or "melting" and hybridization transitions, and their sensitivity to many variables has left several questions unanswered, such as the mechanism by which changes in physical environment between solution and bound DNA act to influence hybridization, or competitive adsorption of nearly identical sequences.

The second area attempts to improve upon separation technology using fairly innocuous materials such as supercritical carbon dioxide and polyethylene glycol to achieve what traditional processes do with more detrimental materials. Molecular simulations allow the modeling of such systems with the goal of optimizing solvation conditions and is done by carrying out calculations with varying thermodynamic (e.g. temperature and/or pressure) conditions and compositions.

John S
Associate Professor, Chemistry
James Vesenka, Physics

"Dr. V” conducts research in the self-assembly process of four-stranded “G-wire” DNA using scanning probe microscopy (SPM). He is interested in understanding the kinetics of the self-assembly process and the interaction of the G-wire DNA with substrates and double-stranded DNA. G-wires make exciting candidates for possible nano-electronic devices, so he is interested in their electronic properties and the ability to manipulate the self-assembled structures at the microscopic level with the SPM. With the advent of fast local area networks he has safely connected the sensitive SPM to the noisy environment of the introductory physics lab using virtual network computing.

Dr. V also conducts research in the area of physics pedagogy. He is developing more effective means for teaching introductory physics through the use of multiple representation learning tools, also called “modeling,” which includes better student evaluation procedures. He has organized two workshops to train pre-service and in-service science teachers in Maine and California for the summer of 2000.

Grant support: Research Corporation, National Science Foundation, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.

Collaborative Projects

As a biochemistry student at UNE, you have the ability to collaborate with other students and faculty across other biological, chemical, and physical disciplines.

Learn how UNE student researchers and their faculty mentors work on an interdisciplinary research project focused on combating drug-resistant bacteria.

Experiential Learning

Whether you’re assisting faculty members with their research, interning at a local biotech company, or designing your own experiment in the lab, hands-on learning is an integral part of your major. At UNE, you don’t just study biochemistry — you do biochemistry.

Internships

You may complete an internship over the summer in your hometown at sites including hospitals, private or government labs, educational institutions, or science centers. Or intern during the academic year with one of the prestigious employers with which we partner:

  • IDEXX
  • Lonza
  • Jackson Laboratories
  • Envirologix
  • Katahdin Labs

For more information, contact the College of Arts and Sciences Internship Office Chemistry and Physics contact Cynthia Simon at (207) 602-2540 or csimon@une.edu.

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