Welcome to Biochemistry!

Nov 2nd, 2012


Students from the 2012 graduating class
Welcome to Biochemistry!


The Department of Biochemistry is now 45 years old!  It was established in 1967 by Dr. L.A.W. Feltham who served as Head until 1973.  In his memory, the department conference and social room is named for him as is one of our undergraduate scholarships.  Our current Head is Dr. Phil Davis.

As a department, our home base is the fourth floor of the Science Building A-wing, which is where you can find the department office as well as the department’s undergraduate advising office and one of our two teaching labs.  We also have space on the first floor – that’s where our other teaching lab is located – on the third floor, in the Biotechnology building, and a couple of offices are in the Earth Sciences building. 

We currently have 19 faculty members, a number that’s been fairly constant for the past ten years. Two of our faculty hold prestigious Canada Research Chairs, one in Human Nutrition and one in Membrane Proteins.  Both are doing important research related to human health and disease.  Our other faculty carry out research that covers areas of molecular biology, development and differentiation, human nutrition and metabolism, biophysical and structural biochemistry, and food science. 

The department attracts a high number of majors to its two principal undergraduate programs – Biochemistry, and Biochemistry(Nutrition). We have an Advising office where a staff member helps students plan their programs and is able to assist them if academic difficulties arise.  Some ‘rewards’ are available in the way of scholarships and bursaries that have been established for biochemistry students.  And, at the end of each academic year, we hold a luncheon for family and friends of that year’s graduates during Convocation.  Our undergraduates have a very successful Biochemistry Society with its own space in the department.  They organize mixers several times a year as well as an end-of-year semi-formal dinner and dance. 

We graduated our first MSc student in 1970.  Since then, we have added a PhD in biochemistry, as well as M.Sc. and PhD programs in food science to our graduate offerings.  Our programs and our faculty research have attracted graduate students not just from Newfoundland and Canada but all over the world.  Our graduate students have organized their own Society and have inaugurated a very successful summer research symposium, now in its second year.

Lastly, successful research, teaching, and indeed the running of any department, depends on its staff.  We are blessed in that regard with a small, but highly dedicated, cadre of staff who look after our department office, our teaching labs, our infrastructure, and who support the research efforts of individual faculty.