Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences

Programs in Biochemistry/Biotechnology, Biopharmaceutical Science and Chemistry

Chemistry

Chemistry (CHM) is a modern, dynamic and diverse field that involves investigating the substances that make up our physical world and how these substances change. Chemistry touches everything we come into contact with. As a result, it is a field with connections to almost all other areas of science and engineering. For example, chemists play a vital role in developing new drugs and materials for advanced electronic devices.

Chemists are also important players in such diverse areas as genetic engineering, forensic science and the oil and gas industry. More recently, chemists have been at the forefront of the nanotechnology field and emerging green technologies, particularly in the development of sustainable energy sources.

The Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences offers modern programs that provide advanced training in the traditional areas of chemistry, such as organic, inorganic, physical, computational and analytical chemistry. The Department also has specialized options in Advanced Materials and in Ecochemistry, unique to uOttawa. In addition to incorporating classroom teaching, programs offer practical laboratory training, with a focus on individual instruction.

Research

Highlights

  • #2 in Canada, in the top 75 worldwide
  • Only department in any discipline to have two Herzberg Award recipients: Professors Alper and Scaiano
  • Six Canada Research Chairs: Professors Baker, Scaiano, Shuhendler, Stolow, Newman and Musgaard
  • Five University Research Chairs: Professors Beauchemin, Keillor, Fogg, Murugesu and Bryce

How can you participate in this research excellence as a chemistry undergraduate?

Research Facilities

Research Areas

Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

From the synthesis of natural products and novel pharmaceuticals to the exploration and modification of biological processes with Chemistry, chemists bring us the next generation of health care treatments

Advanced Spectrometry

NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device), SSNMR (solid-state NMR), Time-resolved, In vivo imaging, Mass Spectrometry, Bioanalytical, Surface Science, Photochemistry, Near IR Imaging

Materials and Nanochemistry

From single-molecule magnets to functionalize organics for photocells and materials for CO2 capture, materials chemists provide the next generation of materials to build and shape our world.

Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry

Catalysis research develops new, greener ways to make the products we use everyday. New catalytic materials are developed from the molecular point of view by combining theory and experiment.

Plus, new catalysts and materials are being developed to aid in the development of new technologies such as biomass conversion, fuel cells and environmental remediation.

Chemistry Education

Studying the elements that influence various sorts of learning and how educators and students may best approach and improve science and science instruction at the post-secondary level.

Areas of Study
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Synthesis of Natural Products
  • Chemical Biology
  • Bioanalytical Science
  • Trace Analysis
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Chemistry Education

Cooperative education is available with this program.

What can I do with my studies in Chemistry?

Core courses in Chemistry
  • General / Organic I
  • Inorganic / Physical / Organic II / Analytical
  • Quantum Chemistry / Comp Chemistry / Spectroscopy / Transition Metals / Advanced Physical / Organic III
  • Instrumental analysis
  • Choice of core courses in Physical / Inorganic / Organic / Research Project

Biopharmaceutical Science

This interdisciplinary program, offered through the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, combines basic studies from areas such as molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology and organic chemistry and adds new courses designed especially for biopharmaceutical science (BPS) students.

The goal is to prepare students who, with further specialization, will be ready to work in an interdisciplinary environment at the interfaces between biology, chemistry and health-related sciences.

The Program

Why Biopharmaceutical Science (BPS)?

  • Undergraduate background in subjects core to understanding human disease and treatment
  • Only program of its type in Canada
  • The program has approximately 350 students
  • Prepares students for changing workplace and research and medical careers

Unique Interdisciplinary Program

  • Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry courses
  • Specialty BPS courses
  • Choose one of two streams
    • Medicinal Chemistry
    • Genomics
  • Co-op option
    • Available after 2nd year

Program Structure

Year 1: Common courses

  • BIO1130 Organismal Biology
  • BIO1140 Cell Biology
  • CHM1311 Principles of Chemistry
  • CHM1321 Organic Chemistry I
  • MAT1330 Calculus for Life Sciences I
  • MAT1332 Calculus for Life Sciences II
  • PHY1321 Principles of Physics I
  • PHY 1322 Principles of Physics II or GEO1111 Introduction to Earth Systems

Years 2 to 4: Common courses

  • BCH2333 Introduction to Biochemistry
  • BIO2133 Genetics
  • BPS2110 Intro to BPS
  • CHM2120 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHM2123 Organic Chemistry Lab
  • CHM2132 Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • MAT2379 Introduction to Biostatistics
  • PHI2396 Bioethics
  • BCH3120 General Intermediary Metabolism
  • BIO3170 Molecular Biology
  • BIO3151 Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • PHA4107 Introductory Pharmacology
  • BPS4900 Seminar

Special Senior BPS Courses

  • BPS4006 Honours Research Project
    • Medicine
    • Health Sciences
    • National Research Council
    • Government labs such as Health Canada or Agriculture Canada

Choosing your stream after 2nd year

  • First 2 years are the same for both streams
  • Decide after you have taken
    • Cell biology
    • Organic chemistry
    • Biochemistry
  • BPS2110 in 2nd year or later
    • Previews some advanced topics from both streams

Genomics Option

What is Genomics?

  • Biochemistry
    • Molecules of living things
    • Structures of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids
    • Functions and roles of bio-molecules in living things
    • Design of new biologic substances
  • Molecular biology
    • Genetic methods for various purposes
    • Making proteins and other biological molecules
      • Biological molecules are large and have well-defined shapes that allow them to function in various ways:
        • Structure
        • Carry out reactions
        • Control cellular functions
    • Design of new biologic substances
  • Genomics
    • Genetic patterns and how they relate to biologic function

Medicinal Chemistry Option

What is Medicinal Chemistry?

  • Skills involved in the design and creation of new drugs
  • Organic chemistry
    • Molecular interactions
    • Molecular types
    • How to make molecules
  • Biochemistry
    • Molecules of living things
  • Pharmacology
    • Interaction between drugs and the body
  • Medicinal chemistry
    • Methods used in the design and development of new drugs
    • The Medicinal chemistry option:
      • Focus is on organic chemistry (small molecules)
      • Includes extra biochemistry and biology
CO-OP Option
  • Direct admission
    • Minimum high school grade of 80%
  • Apply at the start of 2nd year
    • Minimum uOttawa grade point average of 6.0
  • Four 4-month work terms (eight months and eight months)
    • University laboratories
    • Local companies
    • Government labs
    • Some find their own jobs:
      • Switzerland
      • Amsterdam
      • San Diego
      • San Francisco
      • Vancouver
  • Salary: >$8,700 per term
  • Advantages
    • See if you like the type of work
    • Contacts, mentors
    • Income
    • Chance to travel
    • Gain experience
  • Disadvantages
    • Extra time for degree
    • Shorter honours project
    • Less time off
Options After Graduation
  • Enter the job market
  • Graduate studies
    • Masters degree
    • PhD
  • Professional school
    • Medicine
    • Dentistry
    • Pharmacy
    • Ophthalmology
    • Law

What can I do with my studies in Biopharmaceutical Science?

Program and Suggested Course Sequences
Administrative and Academic Resources

Biochemistry and Biotechnology

The Biochemistry program is a highly interdisciplinary program combining chemistry and biology that trains students to understand the molecular basis of life. Students learn about how biologically important molecules like proteins, DNA, RNA, and drugs interact at a molecular level and how these interactions impact healthy and diseased cells.

The biochemistry program provides advanced training in all areas of biochemistry and has specialized options in biotechnology, microbiology and immunology, as well as emerging areas in biochemistry such as chemical biology and synthetic biology. In addition to classroom teaching, the biochemistry program has a significant laboratory component giving students individual, cutting-edge training in practical biochemistry.

Our graduates are highly sought after and many find employment directly after graduation in wide ranging fields from food industry to diagnostic medicine and the green economy.  The program is also ideal training for those interested in graduate studies such as MSc or PhD and those interested in health professional school training like medical school.

The Program

What is biochemistry (BCH)?

  • The chemical basis of life
  • Highly interdisciplinary combining chemistry and biology
  • Underpinning of modern biomedical science including CRISPR/Cas9 and COVID-19 diagnostic testing

The BCH program has five options:

  1. Specialization in Biochemistry
    • Comprehensive training in all areas of biochemistry
  2. Option in Microbiology and Immunology
    • Specialized training in bacterial and viral pathogens and the hosts response
  3. Option in Chemical Biology
    • Specialized training in using chemical tools to address biological problems
    • A major strength of uOttawa (top Chemical Biology researchers in Canada)
  4. Option in Synthetic Biology
    • Specialized training in redesigning organisms for useful purposes
    • One of two synthetic biology programs in Ontario
  5. Biotechnology program
    • A combined Biochemistry (BSc) and Chemical Engineering (BASc) degree
    • Takes five years but students get two degrees!

Program strengths

  • Common first two years for the Specialization in Biochemistry and the options
    • Provides foundational training in chemistry and biological sciences
  • 3rd and 4th years introduce advanced fields like chemical biology, proteomics, metabolomics, genomics, system biology, bioinformatics
  • Large practical laboratory component
    • Three advanced Biochemistry labs
    • Eight-month honours research project with a professor available in 4th year
  • Unique programs (Synthetic Biology option, Biotechnology program)
  • Professors are award winners and top researchers in the field
  • Degree can be done in French, in French Immersion or in English

Why uOttawa Biochemistry?

  • Outstanding, comprehensive biochemistry training
  • Unique training program with large laboratory component
  • Award winning professors
  • Prepares students for changing workplace in industry, basic research and medical careers
CO-OP Option
  • Direct admission
    • Minimum high school grade of 80%
  • Apply at the start of 2nd year
    • Minimum uOttawa grade point average of 6.0
  • Four 4-month work terms (eight months and eight months)
    • University laboratories
    • Local companies
    • Government labs
    • Some find their own jobs:
      • Switzerland
      • Amsterdam
      • San Diego
      • San Francisco
      • Vancouver
  • Salary: >$8,700 per term
  • Advantages
    • See if you like the type of work
    • Contacts, mentors
    • Income
    • Chance to travel
    • Gain experience
  • Disadvantages
    • Extra time for degree
    • Shorter honours project
    • Less time off
Options After Graduation
Administrative and Academic Resources
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