Redefining the Classroom

Graduate and Professional Programs Await!

  • The field of biochemistry resides at the interface of the chemical and biological worlds.   Biochemists seek further understanding of the chemical processes occurring within organisms and biological systems.  For example, their work may focus on the structure and function of biological macromolecules like DNA, proteins and lipids, the fate of molecules in cells, such as the metabolism of glucose, or signaling within or between cells.

    Due to its interdisciplinary nature,  the biochemist must have a comprehensive understanding of chemistry and biology. Students in the Biochemistry Program at Lake Superior State University take coursework in general chemistry, organic chemistry, instrumentation, inorganic chemistry, toxicology, general biology, genetics and biochemistry.  The bachelor of science degree in biochemistry at LSSU prepares students for jobs in medical and life sciences, professional studies in medicine and pharmacy and a variety of graduate programs.

    Biochemistry student Halley Borseth holds some bacteria colonies that have been engineered to produce a protein normally found in jellyfish that glows a fluorescent green under black light. This feature provides researchers with a powerful tool that reveals whether certain genes are activated, in this case in a bacteria culture. This project is part of an introductory biochemistry laboratory class that all chemistry majors and many biology majors take while at LSSU. Students learn modern biochemical and molecular biology techniques that can be applied in research and medical careers. Borseth is a junior pre-med student from Ontonagon, Mich., studying biology with a minor in chemistry.

    Why Study Biochemistry at LSSU?

    • Access to Faculty: The LSSU Biochemistry Program boasts a low student to faculty ratio.  Class sizes in upper level biochemistry courses are small and interaction with faculty is high.  The biochemistry faculty strive to be accessible and helpful, advocates for student success.
    • Access to Instrumentation: The School of Physical Sciences has a large, state of the art instrumentation suite.  What sets us apart is the student access to holdings.  Students are not merely introduced to, but regularly operate instrumentation  such as Q-PCR thermocyclers, ICP-MS, SEM-EDS, HPLC, NMR, HPLC, GC-MS and FTIR spectrometers.  For a complete list with detailed descriptions visit our chemical instrumentation page.
    • Research: Students in the Biochemistry Program have the opportunity to perform a senior research project under the guidance of a faculty member.  Projects are related to the student’s area of focus and culminate in a poster presentation and talk at our Research Symposium.  Students have also presented their work at national conferences and been published in peer reviewed journals.
    • Internships: Internships are a great opportunity for students to gain experience and acquire job specific skills in your field of study.  On campus internships are available during both the academic year and summer in faculty research projects, the Chemical Preparation Laboratory and the Environmental Analysis Laboratory.
    • Placement: The Biochemistry Program at LSSU has been successful in maintaining a high placement in summer internships, jobs upon graduation, and seats in graduate and professional schools.  For more information see student success stories under the student profile section.
    • Accreditation: The Biochemistry Program at LSSU is approved by the American Chemical Society.  As an ACS-approved program, LSSU is charged with holding and maintaining modern instrumentation, offering a rigorous and coherent program, and employing accomplished faculty which will attract top talent entering college.

    Degrees

  • Honors students Trace Hill (l), and Brandon Yanni recreate a famous 1953 photo of Francis Crick (left, on screen) and James Watson, scientists who shared 1962 Nobel prizes in medicine for their work in discerning the molecular shape of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Hill and Yanni reconstructed their 21st-Century model for an Honors-program ideas class – DNA: Secret of Life – taught by chemistry professor Marshall Werner. For their final creative projects, students composed poetry and prose about the molecule, wrote computer programs and performed songs paying homage to DNA, and even built a pinata filled with DNA-inspired (e.g., sucrose, triglycerides) candies. Yanni is a junior studying chemistry from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Hill is a junior from Roscommon, Mich., majoring in computer engineering. Run a Web search on "honors LSSU" for more about that program at Lake State.

    Career Options

    • Employment of biochemists is  expected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022 based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
    • According to the American Chemical Society 2013 survey of graduates, the annual starting salary for biochemists is $39,560.
    • Entry level salaries for masters and Ph.D.s is $55,000 and $75,750, respectively.

    LSSU graduates are extremely competitive for seats in an array of graduate and professional programs.

    • Medical School
    • Pharmacy School
    • Graduate Programs in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Toxicology
    • Biochemistry graduates work  in a spectrum of fields such as life sciences, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, health and beauty, chemical manufacturing and academia.  Biochemists also find employment with government agencies including the Federal Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and National Institutes for Health.
    • Scientific Lab Technician
    • Clinical Research Specialists
    • Quality Control Manager
    • Biomedical Scientist
    • Technical Science Writer

    Regional Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements:

    Many pharmacy schools also use a centralized application service, PharmCAS. You will also need to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). PCAT scores range from 200-600 with a median score of ~400. The 90th percentile is typically a 430. Individiual pharmacy schools often require that you score above a particular level, so it is important to review the admissions requirements of the schools that you are interesnted in attending.