ChooseWhy Choose This Program?
Why Study Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Goucher?
The biochemistry and molecular biology major and minor prepares students to pursue advanced degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, and related fields such as chemical biology and biomedical engineering.
Biochemistry and molecular biology provides a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics; a core sequence in the basic principles of biochemistry; and advanced coursework that explores the major avenues and methods of inquiry in the application of biochemistry and molecular biology to the understanding of living systems. With additional coursework in chemistry, students can earn a degree certified by the American Chemical Society.
LearnWhat Will You Learn?
What Will You Learn?
Students who complete this program will understand the importance of the scientific method in studying natural phenomena. They will be able to develop hypotheses, design experiments, critically evaluate data, and communicate scientific data and ideas orally and in writing. The major prepares students to pursue advanced degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, and related fields such as chemical biology and biomedical engineering. It also provides a strong foundation for continued study in fields such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, science policy, law and intellectual property, business, education, and science writing.
DoWhat Will You Do?
What Will You Do?
The major consists of foundations courses in biology and chemistry; a core curriculum in biochemistry and its physical underpinnings; additional upper level work in biology and/or chemistry; and supporting coursework in mathematics and physics.
Students gain a global perspective by participating in semester and yearlong study abroad programs or in three-week intensive courses, such as Tropical Marine Biology at the Roatan Institute in Honduras.
Students go on to top graduate programs or begin careers at organizations such as the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Institute of Human Virology, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and Santa Cruz Biotechology.
Major & Minor Program Contacts
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Mark Hiller
Full-Time & Half-Time Faculty
George Greco, Associate Professor of Chemistry: organic, inorganic, and medicinal chemistry
Mark Hiller, Associate Professor of Biology: genetics and molecular biology
Anna Jozwick, Assistant Professor of Biology, microbiology and symbiosis
Jenny Lenkowski, Assistant Professor of Biology: developmental biology and neurobiology
Judith R. Levine, Professor of Biology and Chemistry: biochemistry and molecular biology
Scott P. Sibley, Professor of Chemistry: physical chemistry
Robert Slocum, Professor of Biology: plant physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology
Professor Emeritus or Emerita or Emeriti
William Johnson, Professor of Biology, ecology
Janet Shambaugh, Professor of Biology, developmental biology
Leleng To Isaacs, Professor of Biology, microbiology
Amer Al-khouja, Jian Su, Lauren C. Suarez, Ryan VanYperin
Jacqueline Andrews, Senior Laboratory Instructor in Biology
By choosing three-week intensive courses led by Goucher faculty or semester programs suited to their academic plans, biochemistry and molecular biology students gain a global perspective that enhances their course of study. Goucher biochemistry and molecular biology majors also frequently participate in semester and yearlong programs at these universities:
- University of Sunshine Coast, Australia
- University of East Anglia, England
- University of Sussex, England
Please Note: Programs at these universities may not be eligible for credit without prior approval. Please contact the Office of International Studies to learn more about approved study-abroad programs.
The biochemistry and molecular biology department offers two study abroad programs.
Tropical Marine Biology
The coral reef of the Caribbean continental shelf is the largest in the Western Hemisphere, and the area off the northwest coast of Roatan, Honduras, features more than 30 miles of fringing and barrier reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and an extraordinary variety of marine life.
In this three-week course at the Roatan Institute for Marine Studies, students will explore the endangered coral reefs of Honduras through dives, field experiments, and lectures emphasizing the analysis of the reef's structure and function. The course also includes an excursion to lowland rainforests on the Honduras mainland.
For more information, visit the Office of International Studies.
Costa Rica: Global-Local Challenges to Sustainability
"Global-Local Challenges to Sustainability: The Costa Rican Experience" is a 15-week program open to all majors. A cooperative program between Mount Holyoke College and Goucher, the program takes place at the Monteverde Institute and focuses on the meanings and implications of "sustainability," blending international study and applied research. Nestled in the Tilaran mountain range of Costa Rica, Monteverde is located approximately 80 km northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital. Monteverde's beauty and exceptional biodiversity make it a destination for ecotourists and research biologists.
The program consists of four 4-credit courses, including three core courses: Spanish Language and Culture, Environmental Sustainability, and Development and Social Change in Costa Rica. For the fourth course in applied research, students can choose between Field Methods in Tropical Ecology and Topics in the Social Sciences. This unique Goucher program can fulfill up to four general education requirements towards graduation. At least one prior semester of Spanish language study is strongly recommended for participants.
The Costa Rican Experience program includes experiential site visits to San Jose, the Arenal volcano region, and Nicaragua. While in Monteverde, students stay with host families. All meals are provided by the host family unless other arrangements are made.
Opportunities & Internships
Goucher Summer Science Research Programs
The Goucher Summer Science Research Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on research projects. The program is designed for students who have taken relevant course(s) that pertain to faculty research and who want to learn more about the graduate or professional school experience and pursue a research career in science.
Funding from government and private research foundations, as well as generous donations from Goucher alumnae/i, allow students to participate in this research. Summer research at Goucher typically entails 10 weeks of full-time research and includes a stipend for living expenses. On-campus housing is substantially subsidized by the college.
The program fosters:
- hands-on experience in applying concepts learned in the classroom to a research project
- research skills and writing
- strategies for enhancing success in applying to graduate or professional schools or positions in industry
- opportunities for informal discussion with other students and faculty
- academic and professional career opportunities
- social activities
The research experience is typically supplemented by two student-faculty research talks. The first is in mid-June and serves to informally introduce students' research projects to fellow students and faculty. Students give a second oral presentation about their research at the end of the program in late July or early August. In the fall, students also hold a poster session, highlighting their summer research in the Goucher Student Research Symposium for Alumnae/i Weekend and Explore Goucher Day.
For further details about specific research opportunities and program requirements, refer to the research interests of individual faculty members by reading about them on the departmental websites and/or by contacting professors directly. The Hoffberger Conversations series is also a good venue for learning about faculty-student research that is going on at Goucher.
Special Prizes and Awards
Jessie L. King Prize
The Jessie L. King Prize is awarded to a senior who has done outstanding work in any field of science included in Division III (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), with special consideration given to the study of mammalian physiology and/or microbiology.
Gairdner B. Moment Award
The Gairdner B. Moment Award is presented to a senior who has demonstrated superior achievement in the biological sciences, especially in the field of animal development.
Leah Seidman Schaffer Prize
The Leah Seidman Schaffer Prize is awarded to a senior who has conducted outstanding independent study in microbiology.
Ann Matthews Lacy Prize
The Ann Matthews Lacy Prize is given to students judged to have outstanding potential for accomplishment in the field of genetics, based on their meritorious achievement in class work, laboratory work, or special projects in genetics.
American Chemical Society Maryland Section Student Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry
The American Chemical Society Polymer Chemistry Award
The American Chemical Society Polymer Chemistry Award is awarded to the outstanding student in the first two semesters of organic chemistry. [is this a Goucher award?]
The Chemical Handbook Award
The Chemical Handbook Award is given to the outstanding student in freshman chemistry.
The David E. Horn Award in Organic Chemistry
The David E. Horn Award in Organic Chemistry is presented annually to a student selected by the chemistry department faculty for the most outstanding achievement in organic chemistry. The prize winner has the best overall record in all three organic courses at Goucher. The student will also have completed two semesters (at least 6 credits) of research in the field of pure organic chemistry in the Goucher laboratories. In the event there is no student meeting the criteria, the prize will not be awarded.
The Edith Ford Sollers Memorial Award
The Edith Ford Sollers Memorial Award is given to a senior majoring in chemistry who exhibits a high degree of distinction in scientific study and qualities of character and leadership in campus activities.
The Hilda Gabrilove '48 and Dr. Janice Gabrilove Dirzulaitis Chemistry Prize
The Hilda Gabrilove '48 and Dr. Janice Gabrilove Dirzulaitis Chemistry Prize is awarded to students exhibiting academic excellence in chemistry.
The Jessie L. King Prize
The Jessie L. King Prize is awarded to a senior who has done outstanding work in any science field included in Division III, with special consideration given to the study of mammalian physiology and/or microbiology.
The Louise Kelley Award
The Louise Kelley Award is made annually to a senior departmental major who has accomplished distinguished work in chemistry. Preference is given to chemistry majors who plan to enter the field of teaching.
The Milly Bielaski Prize in Chemistry
The Milly Bielaski Prize in Chemistry is presented to an outstanding junior chemistry major.
The Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
The Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry is given annually to the student who has shown the most potential for a career in analytical chemistry.
Fellowships for Graduate Study
Selections for the following fellowships are made by the College Lectures and Fellowships Committee. Application information can be obtained from the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies’ office.
The Stimson-Duvall Fellowship is awarded to students demonstrating professional promise and outstanding qualifications for graduate studies in the natural, physical, biological and medical sciences, or history of science.
Dean Van Meter Alumni Fellowships
The Dean Van Meter Alumni Fellowships are awarded for graduate or professional studies in the United States or abroad.
Flora E. Langdon Fellowship
The Flora E. Langdon Fellowship is awarded to women of exceptional ability who pursue graduate studies in botany at an American university recognized for its facilities for graduate work in the plant sciences.
Goucher's Biology Club is open to all science majors and anyone interested in science.
The club’s goal is to foster a community feeling with the science departments through
a variety of coordinated events.
The Chemistry Club is the oldest student organization in continuous existence on the Goucher campus. The creators of the Chem Club established the Chem Club Banquet more than sixty years ago. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to the banquet, which features a lecture given by a guest speaker.
The club sponsors a variety of activities, including National Chemistry Week, Careers in Science Day, the Souper Supper, Spring and Fall picnics, a tennis tournament/party, and pre-vacation surprise parties.
For more information, visit https://events.goucher.edu/group/chemistry.