Biochemistry Program Description

We believe that the Biochemistry program at Geneseo is truly special. Our graduates routinely score in the 90th percentile or above on national assessment exams and are routinely sought-after by graduate schools and employers. We believe that Geneseo students do well partly because of the interaction Geneseo students have with professors and with each other. Participants take many classes together and study together in the Biology and Chemistry buildings, so a great deal of camaraderie develops among the biochemistry majors. The atmosphere is very supportive. Another plus is that the students work with faculty on their own research projects. Students obtain hands-on experience with sophisticated equipment, much of which is usually found only in graduate school, and they are encouraged to present their work at local or national meetings/symposia.

For the full program requirements, download the current online Undergraduate Bulletin, then click on Biochemistry on the left hand side. To view the basic program requirements, visit Biochemistry Requirements.

A few examples of the projects students are currently working on include:

  • study of how small molecules such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons bind to DNA (Dr. McKnight)
  • study of how proteins fold (Dr. Yokoyama)
  • design and testing DNA strands for use in biomolecular computing and nanotechnology (Dr. Pogozelski)
  • study of Alzheimer's disease (Dr. Yokoyama)
  • study of the mechanism of anti-atherosclerosis drugs (Dr. Johnson)
  • synthesis and property analysis of gel materials (Professor Geiger)
  • real-time PCR quantification of mitochondrial DNA deletions in the disease Pearson's Syndrome (Dr. Pogozelski)
  • study of DNA damage induced by radiation (Dr. Pogozelski and Dr. O'Donnell)
  • study of the compound resveratrol in grape juice and wine (Dr. Boiani)
  • bioinformatics - study of mitochondrial DNA sequences (Dr. Pogozelski)
  • production of monoclonal antibodies for catalysis (Dr. Helms)
  • study of the molecular basis of movement in green algae (Dr. Hoops)
  • study of grape-ripening genes in New York State grapes (Dr. Chang)
  • gene comparisons in Antarctic sea stars (Dr. Bosch)

The degree is interdepartmental, stressing basic sciences and analytical skills. Extensive laboratory experience is acquired, making use of advanced instrumentation and techniques. Many students do research projects, either over the summer or in directed studies throughout the school year. Students are also given the opportunity to be tutors or teaching assistants in the chemistry or biology departments, thereby gaining additional useful experience. Graduates are well prepared for employment or further study in the fields of Biochemistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology. Alumni have also entered fields of Bioinformatics, Immunology, Bioorganic Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Pharmacology, Education, and Biochemical Engineering. The program is designed to give students the flexibility to choose electives that most closely mirror their interests.

Here are some of the programs graduates have gone to in the past few years:

  • University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., biochemistry)
  • Yale University (Ph.D., neuroscience)
  • Cornell (Ph.D., biochemistry)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.D./Ph.D. program)
  • University of Buffalo (M.D.)
  • Upstate Medical (M.D./Ph.D.)
  • Penn State (Ph.D., biochemistry)
  • University of Wisconsin (Ph.D., biochemistry/biological chemistry)
  • Washington University (St. Louis; Ph.D., immunology)
  • University of Minnesota (Ph.D., biochemistry)
  • University of Rochester (Ph.D., immunology)
  • Cornell (veterinary school)
  • Dartmouth (Ph.D., biochemistry)
  • SUNY Stony Brook (Ph.D., biochemistry)

Effective Fall 2013 Admission: Pre-Biology Major

Policy:  Students will not be able to declare a Biochemistry major until they have achieved a combined C+ average or better in their first two required program lecture courses at SUNY Geneseo.  Required lecture courses for the Biochemistry program are:

  • BIOL 117
  • BIOL 119
  • BIOL 222
  • BIOL 300 

For most freshman students, the first two required lecture courses would be BIOL 117 and BIOL 119.  For freshman students with a 5 on the AP Biology exam, it would be BIOL 222 and BIOL 300, unless they elect to retake BIOL 117 and BIOL 119 here.

This policy will apply to transfer students as well.  They may be further along in the required sequence (e.g. they could have credit for BIOL 117, BIOL 119), in which case the first two required lecture courses would be BIOL 222 and BIOL 300.  If they already have credit for both BIOL 222 and BIOL 300, they would need to achieve a grade of C+ in BIOL 300 before they could be accepted as a Biochemistry major.

Please note a student may only repeat a required Biochemistry program course, or related requirement, once for major credit; the repeated course must be taken at the next offering of the class.  It may be advisable for transfer students to take other science courses (e.g. Biology courses not required, but electives, for the major, or chemistry or physics courses) their first semester here in order to get acclimated to SUNY Geneseo rigor before taking the courses that are evaluated for advancement to the major.

Students performing poorly as a pre-major may choose to withdraw from a required lecture course before the deadline rather than earn a grade that will make it difficult to achieve a C+ average, but this may make it difficult to graduate in eight semesters.