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Faculty of Chemistry



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Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Biochemistry studies life at the molecular level. Modern biochemistry and molecular biology are the key to making continued advances into how living beings function and the two disciplines have become one of the leading exponents of what is known as the knowledge-based economy.

While Biology is a course that gives a general overview of all the biological sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology adopts a more in-depth approach. Graduates have a greater capacity for research, particularly, but not exclusively, in the field of health. A biotechnologist has essential knowledge of the biosciences and a technological understanding of both recombinant DNA technology and the engineering and development of processes.

Together with the degree in Biotechnology, the degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is part of a joint programme in the Biosciences (60 ECTS credits in the first year, and another 60 between the second and the third years). Once students have completed the first year, the subjects they have studied will be recognised so that they can pursue further studies in the same branch of knowledge, either at the URV or at another university.
 

Description: Graduate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Branch

Science

Minimum duration

4 years

ECTS credits

240

Basic training

60

Compulsory credits

123

Optional credits

27

Bachelor's thesis

12

Work Experience

18

Places

40

Taught at

Faculty of Chemistry (Campus Sescelades)

Languages of instruction

Catalan and Spanish

Specializations

Molecular Nutrition: The purpose of this specialization is to study aspects of molecular nutrition that are first introduced in the third-year subject Nutritional Biochemistry. The course focuses on the biochemical, metabolic, physiological and epigenetic functions of the nutrients and non-nutritive components of food, the synergies between diet, health and susceptibility to diseases, and genome-nutrient interactions.

Forensic and Clinical Biochemistry: In this specialization basic concepts of biochemistry and molecular biology are applied to medical diagnosis, the monitoring and prevention of diseases, and research. Forensic analysis is also studied, with particular emphasis on molecular pathology, human genetic variability, and other aspects of human genetics and epigenomics, immunology and microbiology.

Recommended profile

Those students who wish to begin the specialization in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology must have a solid understanding of the core subjects of the course (chemistry, mathematics and physics) and especially biology. They should also be able to speak and write the official languages of the URV and have essential computer skills and a basic command of a foreign language, preferably English.

Work experience

The work experience programme brings students into contact with the workplace for the first time. This increases their employability and gives them the chance to work in companies and public or private institutions in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. Students are assessed by the company-appointed tutor and a university lecturer.

Objectives

The degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology aims to provide professionals who have the conceptual tools and techniques needed to understand and generate new knowledge from the molecular point of view on energy and information transformation processes carried out by living beings in order to function.

Graduates in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology must:

  • Be able to evaluate and understand the various molecular mechanisms and chemical transformations responsible for a biological process and have a clear perception of situations which, although different, show analogies, which means that known solutions can be applied to new problems.
  • Be familiar with laboratory work, instrumentation and experimental methods, be able to conduct experiments, and/or design applications and describe, quantify, analyse and critically evaluate results.
  • Be aware of the scientific and technical literature, and clearly perceive current developments and possible future developments.
  • Clearly see the ethical, social, economic and environmental impacts of professional activity.
  • Be able to communicate key aspects of professional activity to other professionals in the same or similar fields, and also non-specialists.

Bachelor's thesis

In the bachelor’s thesis students must demonstrate that they have acquired the skills and competencies necessary for graduates in Chemistry by drafting, presenting and defending a thesis. Both the content and structure (definition of objectives, introduction and/or justification, experimental section, analysis and discussion of results, conclusions and bibliography) will be assessed, as will the ability of the future graduate to communicate in orally and in writing. The types of thesis include:

  1. Research or experimental development.
  2. Bioinformatic research or development
  3. Literature review.
  4. Teaching

Competencies

Graduates will:

  • Understand and be able to apply their basic knowledge of physics, mathematics and chemistry to biochemistry and molecular biology.
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  • Have advanced knowledge of the biochemistry, kinetics and mechanisms of enzymes and metabolism.
  • Have a comprehensive knowledge of organisms at the molecular, cellular and metabolic level.
  • Understand the principles, instrumentation and applications of the main techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology.
  • Be able to design and implement experimental laboratory protocols, particularly in the areas of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology, and assess risks and safety.
  • Know how to find, collect, analyse and interpret information in the leading biological databases: genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and other taxa. Work with public bibliographic data and use the basic bioinformatic tools.
  • Analyse and interpret data and experimental results.
  • Understand the structure and function of the molecules that make up living things: basic components and polymer structures.
  • Appreciate the complexity and diversity of organisms through the study of molecules, cells and physiological processes, genetics and evolution.
  • Appreciate the potential and speed of changes in biochemistry.
  • Be able to work in a biochemical laboratory (including safety, handling and disposal of waste and annotated record of activities).
  • Use their molecular knowledge to interpret normal physiological or pathological organism.
  • Be able to describe how living things extract, transform and use energy in their environment.

Career opportunities

This degree qualifies students for the following professional activities:

  • Research at universities, public and private research centres, and pharmaceutical, chemical, food, health and cosmetic companies.
  • Development of technological applications of biochemical processes in the food, chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical or health sectors.
  • Biochemical, genetic, immunological and microbiological studies in the laboratory and development of applications for clinical diagnosis.
  • Production engineering and product development.
  • Water treatment and waste recovery.
  • Teaching in secondary, vocational and technical schools and universities as long as they complete a specific master’s degree or comply with any other requirements..
  • Civil servant.
  • Consulting.
  • Clinical analysis, molecular diagnostics, development and monitoring of new therapies in the biotech and biomedical industry.

Informació