Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology

Molecular biology is an interdisciplinary science incorporating the study of cell biology, genetics and biochemistry. The field hinges on fundamental tenets of recombinant DNA technology that allow genes to be isolated, characterized and expressed in organisms that may be completely unrelated.

These techniques are applied to answer questions about how genes are organized and regulated, the mechanisms by which gene products function and the molecular interactions that occur within living organisms. Such research is a driving force behind many recent advances in medicine and has lead to breakthroughs that include the ability to produce human insulin in bacteria and development of a recombinant protein vaccine against hepatitis B. Molecular biologists must be well-versed in theoretical aspects of cell function and possess the critical thinking and laboratory skills necessary for conducting research.

The Concentration in Molecular Biology is designed to provide the essential background knowledge and hands-on experience required by students interested in this rapidly advancing discipline. The ability to manipulate the genes of living organisms is an extremely powerful technology that must be approached with caution and a keen sense of responsibility.

For this reason, the Molecular Biology Concentration includes a requirement that students complete at least one of three philosophy courses addressing the ethical application of scientific knowledge. The goal is to provide graduates not only with the skills necessary to conduct research, but the ability to determine how or whether research ought to be carried out.

Required Courses:

BIO 3325, 3125 Genetics/Genetics Laboratory
BIO 3329 Developmental Biology
OR 4338 Cell Structure and Function
BIO 4328, 4128 Molecular Biology/Molecular Biology Laboratory
CHE 3335, 3135 Biochemistry I/Biochemistry Laboratory
PHI 4333 Philosophy of Science
OR 4334 Bioethics
OR 5332 Philosophy of Technology 
Research/Internship: Offered through the student’s major department. 3 credit hours

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