Message to Freshmen

Prospective Students in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

We are pleased that you are considering a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. This major will prepare you for a successful career in one of the fastest-growing fields in modern science. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about the major, the career paths it leads to, and why you should choose UNR and our program.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is the study of the processes of life at the molecular level. A biochemist seeks to understand the details of how cells grow, divide, and communicate with each other. We investigate the biochemistry of all kinds of living things: humans, other animals, plants, insects, microorganisms. Understanding these processes enables the development of new treatments for disease, leads to better crop production and provides innovative ways to control insect pests and pathogens. Becoming a biochemist requires a combination of classroom instruction in the chemistry, biology and physics of living organisms, with hands-on training in modern laboratory research.
As a student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, you will receive an excellent education: all courses offered by the department are taught by full-time faculty, who receive an average rating of 9.4 out of 10 on student evaluations on national surveys. We provide not only classroom and laboratory instruction but also close mentorship from faculty advisors and senior students. Four of our faculty have won awards highlighting their teaching abilities.

All of our seniors spend two semesters working in a research laboratory on a thesis project highlighted by an end of the year poster exhibit, a unique feature of our program. Even before their senior year, many of our students will have become active members in our research laboratories, or will be part of our iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine competition) team, competing against undergraduate researchers from prestigious national and international institutions.

Our program is designed to meet the needs of students with many interests. Many of our graduates go on to professional school (medical, dental and pharmacy schools are popular choices) and we have designed our program to exceed the coursework necessary for preparation for these careers.

A number of our graduates go on to pursue PhD and MS degrees in scientific research, while others seek immediate employment in biotechnology or other science-related fields. You may be aware that some of UNR's programs have been cut or condensed due to budget constraints. Please be assured that the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the graduate and undergraduate programs remain intact. All faculty will stay the same; all courses will stay the same; your advisors will stay the same and your experiences in the department will be as strong as ever.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my ten years as chair of a Department that offers outstanding undergraduate opportunities to our students and look forward to another 10 years of growth. It has been a pleasure to watch our undergraduates mature into outstanding future scientists, physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other careers in the life sciences.

Gary Blomquist

I welcome you to consider our major.


Gary Blomquist, Professor and Department Chair