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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 2, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Biochemistry and Biotechnology



Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Laurier 

Biochemistry explores the chemistry of life. A multidisciplinary science, it draws on chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and molecular genetics in the study of living organisms and how they work at the molecular level. Biochemical research has led to improvements in the quality of food products and production processes, it has resulted in better environmental monitoring and protection, and it has produced advances in disease diagnosis, surveillance, treatment and prevention.

Biotechonology, the application of biochemistry to industry, is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global economy. Growth in biochemical science and biotechnology is creating opportunities for university graduates in research institutes and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. 

Program highlights

  • The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Laurier is equipped with state of the art biochemical research equipment, including
    • high performance liquid chromatographs
    • spectrofluorometers
    • isothermal calorimeter
    • peptide synthesizer an
    • a circular dichroism spectrometer
  • Undergraduate students benefit from a research-intensive environment, especially in fourth year. All fourth year students are required to complete a senior thesis research project through which they gain valuable hands-on experience. 
  • Biochemistry and Biotechnology (BSc) and Biotechnology Technician Diploma: Combining Laurier’s honours BSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology with Conestoga College’s biotechnology technician diploma, this unique program allows students to complete both in only 5 years (it generally takes 6 years to complete both independently). Students explore the more theoretical education in foundations in biochemistry at Laurier while also gaining significant laboratory experience in biotechnology at Conestoga. 
  • Many of our Science professors are recognized around the world for their work, like Dr. Jelokhani-Niaraki, an active researcher in the areas of Physical Biochemistry, Peptide Synthesis and Membrane-interacting Peptides and Proteins. Dr. Szabo, former Dean of Science, is an internationally recognized biochemist with an active research lab at Laurier.

Courses offered 

First year

  • Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Chemical Kinetics & Equilibrium
  • Principles & Processes of Biology
  • Calculus I & II
  • Introductory Linear Algebra
  • Thermodynamics and Waves
  • Mechanics

Popular courses

  • Bioenergetics & Catabolic pathways
  • Biochemistry in Diagnostics and Therapy

Admission requirements 

4U Requirements IB Requirements  Admission Range 

English at 60%;

Biology at 60%; 

Advanced Functions at 60%;

Chemistry at 75% 

*Combined minimum average of 75% in 4U Math & Science courses

HL or SL English at 4; 

HL or SL Biology at 4;

HL or SL Chemistry at 4;

HL or SL Mathematics at 4 

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score: 28  

Careers 

Laurier’s Biochemistry and Biotechnology program will provide students with the skills needed to meet the demanding requirements of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, the academic community and health science research institutes.

The program also provides a strong educational background for students interested in continuing their studies at the graduate level in chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, pharmacy and a number of other health science-related programs. 

A Biochemistry & Biotechnology degree can also lead to a challenging career in many other fields: 

  • Law
  • Focusing on the protection of the intellectual knowledge created by research
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Sales and marketing 

Student experience 

000Shaw.jpgIn high school, Brittany Shaw was interested in both chemistry and biology. This attracted her to the Biochem/Biotech program at Laurier. “Biochem/Biotech is a perfect balance between chemistry and biology,” she says. “I had a friend in the program, and he gave great reviews!”

For Shaw, the small classes sizes, interesting courses and extensive lab experience make the program engaging and relevant. “The small class sizes here allow for an incredible professor to student ratio that is rare at other universities,” she explains. “The attention I received allowed me to excel, and the bonds that I made with my peers and professors will last far beyond the classroom.” 

Next year, Shaw will begin to study towards a master’s degree in Human Health and Nutritional Science at the University of Guelph. She plans to pursue a career as a doctor.

Faculty experience 

000DrDeBruin.jpgDr. Lillian DeBruin began her university studies in a program called Man and the Environment, which focused on policies more than science. But she quickly decided the program wasn’t for her. “I wanted to know what was happening to man and his environment at the molecular level,” she says. 

DeBruin began by looking at environmental issues and then compounds that cause cancer. For her PhD, she searched for carcinogens in human breast milk and found several aromatic amines or “compounds that may be involved in the etiology of breast cancer.” 

DeBruin’s current research involves the myelin membrane, the fatty sheath wrapped around your axons, which are part of your nerve cells. Axons conduct impulses from cells and in some diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, the myelin membrane deteriorates. “I’m trying to characterize various microdomains in the myelin membrane to determine what their function is in health and disease,” DeBruin says. “Once we know the functions and what their roles are in various diseases, it becomes possible to develop molecular therapeutic strategies” to enhance myelin repair and to stop myelin damage.