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Overview: Biochemistry Undergraduate Study

The Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology (BBMB) offers undergraduate study in biochemistry with three specialization options: Research & Biotechnology; Pre-Medicine; and Biophysics. Biochemistry majors can study in either the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). All three specializations are available within both Colleges.


 Biochemistry seniors examine an unknown in capstone course BBMB 411L
In capstone lab BBMB 411, biochemistry seniors examine an unknown they will independently identify

What do biochemists do?

Biochemists seek to understand life processes in terms of chemical and physical principles. They conduct research in the frontiers of biology such as metabolic networking; structure and function of enzymes, membranes, and hormones; computational approaches; genomic and proteomic technology; protein engineering; plant biotechnology; muscle structure and function; and the design and evaluation of drugs for the treatment of disease. Biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology provide the basis for much of modern biotechnology. Graduates have opportunities in industry, especially the biotechnology sector, in universities, veterinary medical, and medical schools, and government laboratories. Students who meet the necessary high scholastic standards have the opportunity to continue their studies in graduate school, medical school, or veterinary medical school.


What can I do with a B.S. degree in biochemistry?

Graduates from our biochemistry program understand the chemical principles of biological systems including molecular biology. They have developed laboratory expertise in modern biochemical techniques, including the ability to analyze data and prepare scientific reports. Most have participated in undergraduate research and have developed the skills necessary for both written and oral presentations at a level that will serve the student both within the university and in postgraduate professional life. Graduates have the experience of interacting with persons of different disciplines and cultures. Students have the training in mathematics and physics to solve problems of broad scope in biological, biomedical and environmental sciences and to provide leadership in diverse scientific and technological arenas.

Our graduates often move on to graduate study, medical school, and industry careers.

Screenshot of story from LINK magazine about '22 graduate Tulika Sharan shows female student in lab coat
Student Story: Tulika Sharan, B.S. Biochemistry '22, current Ph.D. student at University of Wisconsin-Madison



Biochemistry students confer about lab results
Biochemistry students confer about lab results

Why should I consider biochemistry at Iowa State?

Biochemistry students at ISU are engaged, supported, and successful.


How can I learn more?

Check out these links:

Prospective Students


Current students

Who can I talk to?

  • Prospective students: Contact Claire Kruesel (, Biochemistry (BBMB) Undergraduate Program Coordinator.
  • Current students: Reach our to your Academic Advisor or Faculty Mentor (to find out who they are, use the Navigate app). You can also email Claire or stop by her office (1228 Molecular Biology Building).