Majors Offered

The Biochemistry B.S. Major

Biochemistry is one of the most important interdisciplinary fields in science today. Drawing on all sciences, particularly biology and chemistry, biochemistry explores the living world at the cellular and subcellular levels. The chemical reactions and structures of biomolecules form the crux of this discipline. Metabolism, energetics, and nucleic acid chemistry are a few of the major divisions of this field. Students majoring in this field might go on to advanced study in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry; they might seek employment in the biotechnology industry or the pharmaceutical industry; or they might pursue a professional degree in the medical field.

Students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree by completing 12.5 course units

  • Two units of General Chemistry are required (CHEM (110 or 111) and 112).
  • Two units of Introductory Biology are required (BIOL 120, Continuity of Life, and BIOL 210, Cell Biology).
  • Two units of Organic Chemistry are required (CHEM 221 and 222).
  • Two units of Biochemistry are required (CHEM 341 and 342).
  • One unit of Genetics is required (BIOL 315, Genetics).
  • One unit of Advanced Biology is required (BIOL 380, Advanced Genetics or BIOL 400, Molecular Biology).
  • One unit of Physical Chemistry is required (CHEM 331). Note that MATH 121, MATH 122 and two units of physics are required prerequisites for this course.
  • One half unit of Seminar is required (CHEM 280).
  • One of these two options:
    One unit of research in either BIOL or CHEM culminating in a formal paper and oral defense
    or
    One additional unit chosen from Chemistry courses numbered 250 or higher.

Additional coursework and undergraduate research experiences are encouraged.

Student researchers do oral presentations and written reports.

Biochemistry Research Opportunities

A variety of research projects in the Biology and Chemistry Departments at Roanoke College exist for Biochemistry students.

Dr. Tim Johann: Dr. Johann is interested in the relationship between the structure and the function of biological molecules. His current work is focused on the enzyme 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (MTHFS), which is important in metabolism and in chemotherapy. The goal of the project is to better understand the function of MTHFS by elucidating the bonding contacts its amino acids make with its substrates (folinic acid and ATP). To accomplish this, one amino acid in the natural form of MTHFS is exchanged for another using a collection of techniques from the fields of chemistry and biology, creating a mutant protein that is then characterized using spectroscopy and kinetic analysis. Structural or functional changes in the mutant enzyme give clues as to the role of the changed amino acid, enhancing the overall understanding of this important enzyme.

Dr. Chris Lassiter: Dr. Lassiter is interested in developmental biology and cell biology in general. His work has focused on the estrogen and androgen signaling pathways. These hormones are important in the developing embryo and in the adult vertebrate. Currently, his lab is focused on characterizing androgen receptors in zebrafish. The pleiotropic effects of hormones on gene expression could affect neural architecture resulting in morphological and behavioral effects well into adulthood.

Dr. Len Pysh: Dr. Pysh is interested in the molecular mechanisms controlling cell shape. Molecular, cellular, and genetic techniques are combined to explore these mechanisms, using the root of the simple plant Arabidopsis thaliana as the model system.

Dr. Marilee Ramesh: Dr. Ramesh is interested in the origins and evolution of the process of meiosis. She studies genes associated with meiosis across a number of protists reflecting the full length of the evolutionary tree. Her work uses computational analysis as well as molecular biology methods.

Dr. Cathy Sarisky: Dr. Sarisky's research focuses on the purine biosynthetic pathway in archaea. Students in her lab use a variety of biological, chemical, and analytical techniques to characterize enzymes suspected to participate in purine biosynthesis. Her present focus is the penultimate step of the synthesis of IMP, which is catalyzed by a unique enzyme in some archaea.

Dr. Jack Steehler: Dr. Steehler is interested in the development of biosensors. Most biosensors are based either on electrodes or fiber optic sensors. For example, an enzyme bound to the outside of an optical fiber creates a modified sensor where binding of analytes to the enzyme alters the optical response of the sensor. Dr. Steehler is also interested in fluorescent probes of biological systems, such as membrane potential probes.

While many projects are completed during the normal academic year, summer is an ideal time to do an independent study project. Many Roanoke graduates report their summer research activities to be among the most memorable experiences of their undergraduate careers. Several special funding sources provide students with stipends to support their summer research projects.

Additional projects are available in both Biology and Chemistry. Please contact those departments for more specific details, or consult the online materials provided by individual faculty.

Health Professions Advisory Group (HPAG)

Five faculty members (two from the Biology Department, two from the Chemistry Department, one medical sociologist) assist students preparing for Health Profession careers such as medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, etc. Informational meetings and materials are available, as are internship opportunities, field trips, and test preparation assistance. This group also coordinates the interview process for students applying to medical schools.

Chemistry Majors (BS, BA, Minor)

Our Department is "Approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS)"

The ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT) reviews chemistry department programs across the country. Those departments meeting the high quality standards of the American Chemical Society are designated as "approved programs." The Roanoke College Chemistry Department is proud to have that designation. Graduation from an ACS approved department is a mark of distinction for our students.

The Chemistry ACS Certified B.S. Major

Chemistry is one of the most important sciences. Known as "The Central Science", Chemistry is directly involved in all aspects of modern life, through products such as pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic fibers, polymeric materials, and materials of all kinds. It also has strong connections to biology, physics, math, and other scientific specialties. Students majoring in this field often go on to advanced study in chemistry; they might seek industrial employment in a variety of fields; or they might pursue a professional degree in the medical field. Some students pursue less traditional careers, such as photography, scientific journalism, or patent law.

All students who complete our B.S. Chemistry degree meet the American Chemical Society standards to be certified graduates. Our department certifies each B.S. Chemistry graduate to the American Chemical Society, and appropriate certificates are issued.

Students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree by completing 12.5 course units

  • Two units of General Chemistry are required (CHEM (110 or 111) and 112).
  • Two units of Organic Chemistry are required (CHEM 221 and 222).
  • One unit of Biochemistry is required (CHEM 341).
  • One unit of Analytical Chemistry is required (CHEM 350).
  • Two units of Physical Chemistry are required (CHEM 331 and 332). Note that MATH 121, MATH 122 and two units of physics are required prerequisites for these courses.
  • One unit of Inorganic Chemistry is required (CHEM 260).
  • One unit of advanced coursework is required, chosen from among: CHEM 342 (Biochemistry II), CHEM 420 (Advanced Organic Chemistry), CHEM 430 (Advanced Physical Chemistry), or CHEM 499 (Special Topics).
  • One additional unit chosen from Chemistry courses numbered 250 or higher. 
  • One unit of research is required (One unit from CHEM 405/406/407 or CHEM 495/496/497).
  • One half unit of Seminar is required (CHEM 280).

Additional coursework and undergraduate research experiences are encouraged.

The Chemistry B.A. Major

Students earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree by completing 9.5 course units

  • Two units of General Chemistry are required (CHEM (110 or 111) and 112).
  • Two units of Organic Chemistry are required (CHEM 221 and 222).
  • Two units of Physical Chemistry are required (CHEM 331 and 332). Note that MATH 121, MATH 122 and two units of physics are required prerequisites for these courses.
  • One unit of Analytical Chemistry is required (CHEM 350).
  • Two additional units of chemistry at the 250 level or above are required.
  • One half unit of Seminar is required (CHEM 280 and CHEM 480).

Additional coursework and undergraduate research experiences are encouraged.

The Minor in Chemistry

Students earn a Minor in Chemistry by completing a minimum of six units of Chemistry

  • Two units of General Chemistry are required (CHEM 111 and 112).
  • One unit of Organic Chemistry is required (CHEM 221).
  • Three additional units of Chemistry at the 200 level or above are required.

Chemistry Research Opportunities

A variety of research projects in Chemistry are available to students. Please see other portions of this web site or the online materials provided by individual faculty for more information.

 
Roanoke selected to collaborate with the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute

Roanoke selected to collaborate with the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute

Roanoke's chemistry department has been chosen as one of 18 undergraduate teams nationally to participate in The Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation.

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Upcoming EPIC Events

11/07/14, 3:30 pm, S. Ciparis

11/18/14, 5:30 pm, What To Do With Major?

11/21/14, 3:30 pm, T. Johann

See EPiC Calendar for more events.