Biochem Program To Add Elements of Success for Students


ST. LOUIS — To complement its existing programs in biology and chemistry and to supply demand in a burgeoning career field, Maryville University is launching a new bachelor of science major in biochemistry, which will become effective with the start of the 2008 Fall Semester. “Knowledge and career opportunities in the field of biochemistry are exploding” said Jeffrey Sich, Ph.D., assistant dean in Maryville’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Completing a biochemistry major will offer distinct advantages for those seeking to work at the interface between the biological and chemical sciences.”

The biochemistry major will increase the number of students enrolling in the sciences by drawing on the large, untapped pool of pre-medical inquiries that Maryville receives, Sich said, adding that the major will attract students from the pool of regional high school students who have developed an interest in biochemistry. He noted that research conducted by the American Chemical Society shows a high percentage of biochemistry concentrators in the chemistry major at many small institutions comparable in size to Maryville. “There is a strong and growing need for biochemistry majors, driven in large part by the growing market in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research; fields which are not expected to decline in the foreseeable future,” Sich explained.

The University will add biology courses to the core components of the chemistry curriculum to form the biochemistry major Students who graduate with this degree will be prepared for graduate programs at both the master’s and doctoral levels, medical and health professions programs, and a variety of career paths in the biotechnology sector, including the pharmaceutical sciences, bioanalytical sciences or any field that involves the investigation of biomolecules. “We are beginning a consultation period with St Louis life science companies to solicit feedback on our plans,” said Jason Telford, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, who will serve as biochemistry program coordinator. “It’s a way to ensure that we are properly preparing students for future employment opportunities.”

With St. Louis being home to such corporate life science giants as Monsanto, Mallinckrodt, Sigma-Aldrich, and the Pfizer St. Louis Laboratories, Sich said the timing is perfect for Maryville to start a biochemistry major. “In total, nearly 400 plant and life science enterprises with about 15,220 employees call the St. Louis region home,” he commented. In almost all cases, each of these companies and industries employs large numbers of biochemists.”

Maryville University is a private institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,422 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers. Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.