The new interdisciplinary Chemical Biology Program at Saint Louis University 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 & Sciences and the Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacology & Physiology in the School of Medicine.
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. Locally, 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 training of scientists with diverse skillsets 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 & Pharmacology (BS)
Chemical Biology is the application of chemistry towards solving biological problems. Pharmacology is the study of the action of drug molecules. The BS degree in Chemical Biology & Pharmacology is an interdisciplinary degree in which students gain a strong foundation in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The degree is customizable to meet the students 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 (MA)
Non-thesis Master’s program that requires 30 credit hours at the graduate level, primarily in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. This degree is intended foreither (1) part-time students who want a coursework masters, which can be partially completed at night, or (2) full-time research students who want to eventually transition into a SLU Ph.D. program.
- Chemical Biology (MS)
Thesis-based Master’s program requires 30 credit hours at the graduate level, primarily in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The MS 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 2 years.
- 5-year Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program
A 5-year course schedule is provided to a SLU undergraduate that demonstrates how to complete an undergraduate BS degree in Biochemistry or Biology, together with a Master’s degree in Chemical Biology. This program will provide excellent preparation for a career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The following options are available:
BS Biochemistry/MA Chemical Biology
BS Biochemistry/MS Chemical Biology
BS Biology:Biological Chemistry & Molecular Biology / MA Chemical Biology
BS Biology: Biological Chemistry & Molecular Biology / MS Chemical Biology