Biochemistry seeks to answer biological questions using the tools of chemistry; as such, it is an interdisciplinary program drawing upon resources from both the Biology Department and the Chemistry Department.
As efforts to reveal the complete structure of the genetic material of humans and other organisms near completion, biochemists in the foreseeable future will focus primarily on exploiting the wealth of information becoming available about the processes of life. Biochemists, like their colleagues in other areas of chemistry, increasingly use powerful, sophisticated instrumentation to clarify their understanding of the chemistry of life. In addition to the Chemistry Department's excellent inventory of general chemical instrumentation, the department also has a superb collection of instruments primarily dedicated to biochemistry.
A research experience is nearly an obligatory component of a quality undergraduate science education today. Biochemistry students at Centenary enjoy a wide range of opportunities to participate in research both on campus and at other sites. The nearby Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport (LSUHSC) employs many of our students in its laboratories, providing them with valuable research experience and a source of additional income.
Our biochemist, who holds an Eminent Scholars Chair in chemistry, involves students in a program of academic-industrial collaborative research that is directed at better understanding several enzymes involved in the metabolism of chitin. Since biochemistry is interdisciplinary, adequate preparation in the field requires course work in biology, biophysics, and mathematics, as well as chemistry. Biochemistry students thus have the opportunity to interact closely with a broad range of science faculty, each with unique expertise and research interests.
Many of our biochemistry majors enter medical school or other professional schools in health care areas. Two of our recent graduates have entered nationally recognized M.D./Ph.D. programs at Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Some have pursued graduate study at leading universities. The emerging biotechnological industry employs large numbers of biochemists at all academic levels, so students who do not wish to continue beyond the bachelor's degree level can find interesting and well-paying jobs.