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Chemical Biology Program

Saint Louis University's interdisciplinary chemical biology program provides a strong foundation in chemistry and exposure to molecular biology and pharmacology.

Students will complete coursework in organic chemistry, biochemistry, human physiology, molecular pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, and conduct cutting edge research guided by faculty from the departments of chemistry and biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the departments of biochemistry and pharmacology and physiology in the School of Medicine.

Ise Building at SLU
 

The program will provide students with exceptional training for graduate school, medical school, and pharmacy school and for careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

The rapidly growing field of chemical biology applies the power of chemistry to solve biological problems at the molecular level. These microscopic changes can produce macroscopic effects on cells, organisms and, ultimately, people. This approach is well aligned with the Jesuit tradition of seeking truth and providing compassion for humanity as the practice of chemical biology directly improves the human condition, particularly human health.

The multi-disciplinary field of chemical biology encompasses a strong foundation in chemistry and branches out into biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and molecular biology. Chemical biology utilizes small molecules as tools to modulate, manipulate, and/or modify biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids towards specific ends. For example, SLU researchers are studying potential drugs which work to silence the expression of a protein that turns on a number of genes that lead to a rare form of muscular dystrophy that confines children to wheelchairs and shortens their lives.

SLU is only one of a few schools around the country currently offering a formal program in chemical biology. The St. Louis region has a growing biotech industry in the Cortex district and is anchored by larger pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as Bayer and Pfizer. These companies, and others around the country, need a strong pipeline of well-trained and diversified chemical biologists. As such, there will be an increasing demand for the training of scientists with diverse skill sets that straddle the fields of chemistry, pharmacology and biology.

Chemical Biology Degrees

Saint Louis University’s chemical biology program offers a variety of degrees at multiple academic levels.

  • Chemical Biology and Pharmacology (B.S.)

    Chemical biology is the application of chemistry toward solving biological problems. Pharmacology is the study of the action of drug molecules. The B.S. degree in chemical biology and pharmacology is an interdisciplinary degree in which students gain a strong foundation in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The degree is customizable to meet student's interests in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology or molecular biology. Key courses include organic chemistry, biochemistry, human physiology, molecular pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, and undergraduate research. This degree will give students exceptional training for careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, graduate school, medical school and pharmacy school.

  • Chemical Biology (M.A.)

    This non-thesis master’s program requires 30 credit hours at the graduate level, primarily in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. This degree is intended for either part-time students who want a coursework master's, which can be partially completed at night, or full-time research students who want to eventually transition into a SLU Ph.D. program.

  • Chemical Biology (M.S.)

    This thesis-based master’s program requires 30 credit hours at the graduate level, primarily in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The M.S. degree is designed for full-time students who will be doing research in a participating SLU department as well as writing and defending a thesis. In general, the thesis-based M.S. program is for full-time research students who want to finish with a master’s degree after two years.

  • Five-year Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program

    A five-year course schedule is provided to SLU undergraduates who want to complete an undergraduate B.S. degree in biochemistry or biology together with a master’s degree in chemical biology. This program provides excellent preparation for a career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The following options are available:

    B.S. Biochemistry/M.A. Chemical Biology
    B.S. Biochemistry/M.S. Chemical Biology
    B.S. Biology: Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology / M.A. Chemical Biology
    B.S. Biology: Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology / M.S. Chemical Biology