• Biochemistry student at Chapman University
Schmid College of Science and Technology

B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

» Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Our Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program provides a tailored educational experience for those interested in the chemical processes of living organisms. You'll develop a strong academic foundation in this multidisciplinary field and gain extensive research experience. 

All students complete a research capstone that will be a culmination of what you learn in the program. Your capstone will serve as a demonstration of your knowledge and research abilities, and can assist your entry into graduate school, professional school or the first step of your career.

Toggle Section

Program Overview

Exposure to several specializations will help you both discover your interests and prepare you to tackle major scientific and technological challenges. Some examples of topics to pursue include:

  • Developing potential drugs in experimental therapeutics
  • Discovering markers of disease
  • Engineering nanomaterials with characteristics of blood platelets
  • Improving the nitrogen fixation for more environmentally friendly agriculture through genetic engineering
  • Determining how nutrition affects the human genome

To learn more, you can view degree requirements and electives in our course catalog. You can also learn more by sitting in on a class. Use our contact information on this page to let us know when you are free to visit campus and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Where This Degree Will Take You

After finishing the program, you will have extensive research experience and a strong foundation in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Our program has earned a prestigious accreditation by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which helps to provide Chapman students with great opportunities for graduate school and their careers. 

These assets make graduates well-prepared for:

  • Employment as a biochemist or biomedical scientist in government or industries which involve recombinant DNA technologies, stem cell research, gene therapy, drug design, genomics and proteomics, genetic engineering, molecular biology, and biomedical devices.
  • Professional schools, including dental, medical, pharmacy, veterinary and other allied health care fields as well as law, business and education.
  • Graduate school in various bioscience fields (view Accelerated Programs below for Chapman’s 4+1 options).

Our career advisor will help you explore these options. For more information on career options and outcomes, visit our Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Career page.

Toggle Section

Accelerated (4+1) Graduate Programs

Through an Accelerated (4+1) graduate program, you can earn an undergraduate and master’s degree with approximately one additional year of coursework beyond the traditional four years.

Many of these programs could be an ideal next step for a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology student with related academic or professional interests:

Vidal with a Chapman faculty member
Vidal Arroyo ‘19
Rhodes Scholar
Vidal earned a Rhodes Scholarship, which provides all expenses for 4 years at the University of Oxford. His goal is to design artificial intelligence algorithms to personalize cancer treatment.
Chapman student at Yale University
Sara Siwiecki ‘18
Sara earned a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship that will support her as she pursues a Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics, quantitative biology and structural biology at Yale.

Research Opportunities

Research is a fundamental part of the Biochemistry and Molecular biology program. Every student spends their first two years conducting research as part of a Grand Challenges Initiative project team. You will also work on your own capstone research, which you'll complete during your final year in the program.

In addition, we offer opportunities to get first-hand research through faculty projects in your first-year, an internship with an industry partner, and/or a global education experience.

Funding is available to assist students with costs associated with their research and summer research stipends.

Capstone Research Experience

The capstone experience is your own independent research. You and your faculty mentor will devise a research project aligning with your interests and goals, and what you have previously done in the program.

Toggle Section

Capstone Project Options

During your Capstone experience, you can complete:

  • Independent research overseen by a Chapman faculty member in the sciences.
  • An undergraduate research experience in between junior and senior year funded by the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society, Chapman SURF, or other national research agency that sponsors undergraduate research.
  • A research internship immediately preceding or during senior year that results in the completion of a research project.
  • A significant review of the literature on a scientific topic

You can learn more about capstone options and requirements in our Undergraduate Catalog.

Capstone Project Examples

  • Molecular docking models of androgen receptor with different ligands to down-regulate prostate cancer growth. Mentored by Dr. Marco Bisoffi (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
  • Design and evaluation of fatty acid peptide conjugates for siRNA delivery and silencing in breast cancer cells. Mentored by Dr. Keykavous Parang (School of Pharmacy).
  • HIV1 matrix protein interactions with calmodulin. Mentored by Dr. Jerry La Rue (Chemistry and Biochemistry).
  • The structure and function of G. diazotrophicus CowN and FdxN. Mentored by Dr. Cedric Owens (Chemistry and Biochemistry).
  • Measuring methyltrophic substrates in peatland pore waters. Mentored by Dr. de Bruyn (Chemistry and Biochemistry).
  • Pacific hagfish utilize complex locomotor modalities to navigate their environment. Mentored by Dr. Douglas Fudge (Biological Sciences).
  • Dietary folic acid modulates azathioprine-induced myelosuppression in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Mentored by Dr. John Miklavcic.
  • Association between exosomes and field cancerization in prostate tissue. Mentored by Dr. Marco Bisoffi.
Lauren with a hagfish
Lauren Friend '19
Lauren Friend worked with Dr. Douglas Fudge to research the movement of hagfish, who can fit into spaces smaller than their own diameter.
Chapman student Kiersten Chong
Kiersten Chong ‘20
For her capstone, Kiersten spent 8 weeks in the Hawaii Pacific Health’s (HPH) Summer Student Research Program (SSRP) in Honolulu, HI.

Program Faculty

Our faculty have diverse specializations and research interests, and they're passionate about working with undergraduate students. This includes advising and mentoring throughout your time at Chapman, as well as partnering with you on gaining substantial research experience.

Our faculty, along with their areas of specialization, are listed below. Feel free to reach out to any of them with questions or to learn more about student research opportunities.

Toggle Section

Faculty List, Expertise and Contact Information

  • Dr. Marco Bisoffi (bisoffi@chapman.edu) - Associate Professor/Program Co-Director of Chemistry and Biochemistry (Expertise: Molecular Biology, specializing in field cancerization, prostate cancer, tumor-adjacent tissues, biomarker, natural products, experimental cancer therapeutics)
  • Dr. Elaine Benaksas-Schwartz (eschwart@chapman.edu) - Associate Professor, Program Co-Director of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Assistant Dean of External Relations (Expertise: Bio-organic Chemistry, specializing in drug discovery, pre-clinical and clinical development of small molecules of medicinal importance)
  • Dr. Nicolai Bonne (bonne@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Molecular Biology, specializing in virology, biochemistry, undergraduate laboratory instruction)
  • Dr. Peter Chang (ychang@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Organic Chemistry, specializing in drug discovery of anti-cancer therapeutics, microgenetic peripheral blood stem cells and blood component separation system, nanotechnology for oral insulin/diabetes, biocompatible surface modification for medical devices)
  • Dr. Warren de Bruyn (debruyn@chapman.edu)  - Professor of Chemistry (Expertise: Analytical and Physical Chemistry, specializing in atmospheric chemistry, the oxidative capacity of the troposphere and global climate change.
  • Dr. Matthew Gartner (gartner@chapman.edu) - Associate Professor (Expertise: Analytical Chemistry specializing in atmospheric chemistry and chemistry laboratory instruction.
  • Dr. Christopher Kim (cskim@chapman.edu) - Professor, Associate Dean of Academic Programs (Expertise: Environmental Geochemistry, specializing in environmental impact of mine waste and contamination, including metal contamination, bioaccessibility, nanoparticles, chemical speciation, x-ray spectroscopy)
  • Dr. Jerry LaRue (larue@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Physical Chemistry, specializing in heterogeneous catalysis, surface science, lasers, x-rays, spectroscopy, nanomaterials)
  • Dr. Allegra Liberman-Martin (libermanmartin@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Organic Chemistry, specializing in homogeneous catalysis, organometallic chemistry, organic chemistry, reaction mechanisms, polymer synthesis)
  • Dr. Andrew Lyon (lyon@chapman.edu) - Professor and Founding Dean of the Fowler School of Engineering (Expertise: Materials Physical Chemistry, specializing microgels, hydrogels, extracellular matrix, colloid chemistry, nanomaterials, regenerative medicine)
  • Dr. John Miklavcic (miklavcic@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Nutritional Pharmacology, specializing in functional foods, nutrigenomics, and nutraceuticals)
  • Dr. Maduka Ogba (ogba@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Computational Organic Chemistry, specializing in organocatalysis, organometallic chemistry, catalyst design, conformational analysis, cheminformatics)
  • Dr. Justin O’Neill (joneill@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor, Director of Lab Safety (Expertise: Organic Chemistry, specializing in organic synthesis and polymer chemistry)
  • Dr. Cedric Owens (cpowens@chapman.edu) - Assistant Professor (Expertise: Physical Biochemistry, specializing in biological nitrogen fixation, nitrogenase, bacterial iron uptake, hemophore, bioinorganic chemistry, structural biology)
  • Dr. Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith (rowlandg@chapman.edu) - Associate Professor (Expertise: Molecular Biology, specializing in pancreatic cancer and experimental therapeutics)
  • Dr. Dan Wellman (dwellman@chapman.edu) - Associate Professor (Expertise: Organic Chemistry, specializing in soils chemistry and organic synthesis)

Faculty-led Research Experience

  • How pomegranate juice extract and caffeine inhibit pancreatic cancer cell growth (Led by Dr. Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith)
  • How synthetic analogs of curcumin suppress prostate and pancreatic cancer cells (Led by Dr. Marco Bisoffi)
  • What signal transduction pathways define pre-malignant prostate cancer cells (Led by Dr. Marco Bisoffi)
  • What biomarkers of prostate cancer can be used for better diagnosis (Led by Dr. Marco Bisoffi)
  • How nanoparticles and cell-penetrating peptides can be used as drug-delivery systems (Led by Dr. Rakesh Tiwari and Dr. Keykavous Parang, School of Pharmacy)
  • What genetic, biochemical, and structural mechanisms regulate the catalysis of biological nitrogen fixation and the bacterial conversion of dinitrogen to ammonia by the enzyme nitrogenase (Led by Dr. Cedric Owens)
  • How functional foods and nutraceuticals regulate gene function (Led by Dr. John Miklavcic)
  • How computational and molecular modeling tools can be used to investigate the underlying physical and chemical factors governing molecular structure, reaction mechanisms and catalysis in organocatalyzed reactions (Led by Dr. Maduka Ogba)
  • How informatics tools can be used for the rapid mining, analysis, and visualization of chemical data (Led by Dr. Maduka Ogba)
  • How to design and synthesize new main group catalysts for sustainable organic and polymer chemistry and how to study reaction mechanisms to understand catalyst performance (Led by Dr. Allegra Liberman-Martin)

Faculty Profile: Dr. Marco Bissofi

Dr. Bissofi, Associate Professor and Program Co-Director of Chemistry and Biochemistry, studies prostate and breast cancer. You can learn more about Dr. Bisoffi and his work with students to generate data on this vital research endeavor:

Industry Internship Opportunities

Internships are a great way to earn credit and money while gaining research experience in a professional environment. You will have several industries to choose from, as Chapman is close to hundreds of biomedical, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Our Schmid College career advisor will help you in your internship search. We also have ongoing relationships with many local organizations.

Global Education Opportunities

Studying and researching abroad can be a valuable part of your undergraduate experience. Studying abroad will likely not delay graduation and you may be eligible for a tuition waiver and/or funding awards.

Toggle Section

Global Education Opportunities for STEM Students

Summer International Internships are a popular option for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors. You will spend eight weeks abroad in an internship where you’ll gain additional research experience and earn academic credit.

There are several other available options listed below. If you are interested in studying abroad, we are happy to work with you to find the best option: 

Student Clubs and Organizations

Joining a student club or organization is a great way to build your community and develop your skillset. Chapman has more than 230 options. You can view Schmid’s College clubs here

Below are options we think are especially relevant for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors:

Toggle Section

Clubs for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Majors

These clubs are popular among Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors: 

  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Student Chapter: A growing community of students and Faculty dedicated to promote the advancement of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology research, education, and science outreach.
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Chapter: Members participate in a range of programs and activities that enhance their college experience and prepare them for successful careers.
  • American Medical Student Association (AMSA): AMSA is committed to providing the educational tools and resources needed for pre-medical and pre-health students to successfully navigate the path towards the next phase of their medical education.
  • Beta Beta Beta: A society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. 
  • Food Science and Nutrition Student Association (FSNSA): For students interested in applying scientific concepts to the understanding properties of food.
  • Global Medical Brigades: An international organization dedicated to empowering communities and people around the world to end poverty by implementing sustainable practices.
  • Pre-Dental Society: The club provides opportunities to gain valuable knowledge and insight into dentistry and establishes a place for pre-dental students to form connections with one another.
  • Pre-Veterinary Society: Open to students who are considering a career as a DVM or who are interested in joining other students to discuss animal health issues.
  • Schmid Student Leadership Council: A select group of Schmid College undergraduate and graduate students who serve as leaders and ambassadors for the college, as well as advisors to the Dean’s Office and the faculty.
  • STEMtors: This group leads STEM-focused youth outreach events in our local community to spur curiosity and passion within young scientists from diverse backgrounds. 
  • Women in Science and Technology (WIST): An academic club geared towards empowering women interested in STEM careers. WIST provides professional development support, such as resume and interview workshops, speaker presentations, and assistance in identifying research and internship opportunities.

Admission & Tour Information

You can learn more about the application process on the University’s Admission website. Specific transfer recommendations are available below. While you consider Chapman, we hope you will also have time to visit for a:

Toggle Section

Transfer Requirements

You can view the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recommended prerequisites for transfer students on our Admission website.

Related Programs

Chapman encourages you to explore your interests wherever they take you. Many students interested in biochemistry and molecular biology are also curious about:

You can explore all of Chapman’s undergraduate majors and minors with our program finder.

Contact Us

Program Questions
Sarah Carranza
Administrative Assistant
Keck Center 290
(714) 628-7233

Admission Questions
(714) 997-6711

Grand Challenges Initiative

Chapman University students partaking in the Grand Challenges Initiative

GCI is a unique two-year research project that is part of the curriculum for all incoming first-year students in Schmid College.

Keck Center for Science & Engineering

Keck Center at Chapman University

The Keck Center is the home of Schmid College and where you will take classes, research and collaborate using cutting-edge instrumentation and facilities. 

ASBMB Accreditation

ASBMB logo

Our accreditation from ASBMB means that Chapman students have great opportunities for graduate school and beyond.