The best preparation for the major is rigorous course work in science and math at the high school level, especially in Chemistry and Biology. The B.S. degree in Molecular Life Sciences is designed to train students for a wide range of careers based in the life sciences. They may pursue post-graduate training in medical or dental school, in specialized degree programs such as pharmacy or pharmacology, or in graduate school in fields such as Biology and Biochemistry. Graduates may directly enter industrial settings such as the pharmaceutical industry or companies that produce biologics. Students who earn the Molecular Life Sciences B.S. degree possess a strong foundational training to enter any field dependent on the principles of life sciences.
The Molecular Life Sciences program attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. Molecular Life Sciences students typically possess a passion for understanding how living systems function at the molecular level. They may be interested in building a medical foundation to understand the basis for disease, or for creating next-generation drugs tailored to patients based on an individual’s genome or lifestyle. Our students strive to understand the precise molecular mechanism of critical biological processes and want to apply their knowledge to solving problems in health-related settings. Here are some of the areas that typically interest Molecular Life Sciences students:
- Human health and medicine
- The relationship between DNA metabolism and cancer
- Stem cell development and function
- Bioinformatic approaches to understanding molecular function
- Applications for whole genome sequencing
- Connecting cellular architecture to disease
- Applying RNA sequencing to understanding cellular dysregulation
- Biological model systems to understand human physiology and disease
- Protein translation, folding, and degradation
- Basic research to understand complex biological processes
- Precision medicine
What options are available?
Modern life sciences research embraces interdisciplinary approaches among such diverse fields as biology, chemistry, medicine and biotechnology. The Molecular Life Sciences degree is grounded in these classic science disciplines. This degree program provides a unique molecular and structural biology understanding of how proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) function, coupled with their roles in controlling cellular replication and development.
Our students initially build an exciting science foundation with a tailored two-year blend of courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math. In your junior and senior years, you focus your courses in one of two different degree concentrations—Molecular and Structural Biology or Developmental and Cellular Biology.
Our Developmental and Cellular Biology concentration is designed for students who are interested in exciting topics in cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, and molecular biology. The course sequence offers both introductory and advanced level courses in each of these disciplines. You will learn how individual cells function, how they interact with their neighbors, and how a single cell grows and develops into a fully functional adult. Our course instructors conduct cutting-edge research in these fields and bring a modern perspective of these topics into the classroom.
In this concentration, you will be exposed to breakthrough advances that have been made using a variety of experimental systems including bacteria, yeast, nematodes, fruit flies, frogs, mice, and plants (just to name a few). Basic principles of cell and developmental biology that have been uncovered with these model systems are coupled with an understanding of how deviations in normal function lead to human disease. Molecular mechanisms of human disorders and diseases will be an important element of the Developmental and Cellular Biology concertation.
Our Molecular and Structural Biology concentration helps you develop a contemporary, mechanistic understanding of living systems. In this concentration, you’ll build a strong foundation in cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. You will apply molecular and structural approaches to understand protein metabolism, learn about nucleic acid metabolism and epigenetic regulation, and explore bioinformatic approaches to characterizing biomolecules. Advanced course topics, such as signal transduction to understand how information flows in cells, will further you’re understanding of the field.
You’ll learn how breakthrough technologies, such as Cryo-EM, RNAseq, bioinformatics, and whole genome sequencing, have impacted virtually every aspect of modern life sciences research. You’ll develop a synthetic, molecular understanding of living systems, which will allow you to form connections between mutations, their impacts on physiology, and their implications for human diseases.