William Paterson University Expands Offerings with New Bachelor’s Degree Program in Medicinal Biochemistry

A student learns from Professor Parminder Kaur's hands-on demonstration of a biochemical process

Professor Bhanu Chauhan, center, discusses utility of Schlenk line technique for nanoparticle synthesis in the lab

Spurred both by industry demand and student interest, William Paterson University will launch a major in medicinal biochemistry this fall, making it the first among area institutions to offer a program that focuses on the medicinal and clinical aspects of biochemistry.

“We are proud to present this new program at William Paterson University that addresses a currently unmet educational need in our area: a tailored degree program in the chemical sciences for students whose goals involve advanced education and/or professional work in health or clinical fields, or research and development settings,” says William Paterson University College of Science and Health Dean Venkat Sharma.

New Jersey is currently the top and highest-paying employer of biochemists nationwide, employing 6,350 in 2018 with an annual mean wage of $145,180, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Based on faculty expertise, the William Paterson University Chemistry Department developed and began offering medicinal chemistry courses as an elective choice several years ago. They found that the courses would fill up every time they were offered, and graduates successfully leveraged the knowledge and skills delivered in these courses for success in graduate, professional school and industry. With that, they decided to create and offer a whole new degree program in medicinal biochemistry, according to Bhanu Chauhan, professor and chairperson in the University’s chemistry department.

Students in the new program will be equipped with cutting-edge research and problem-solving skills that will make them well-prepared to excel in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical science, forensic science, neurobiology, and other healthcare areas.

“Moreover, the study and manipulation of the chemical composition and physical principles that are operative in living organisms is paramount for breakthroughs in a number of industries,” Chauhan says.

“For example, a thorough understanding of the chemical pathways by which complex biomolecules can be transformed into high-energy liquid compounds is critical for breakthroughs in renewable biofuels,” he continues. “A thorough understanding of chemical and physical characterization of biological energy transduction systems has been recently inspired the next generation of solar energy materials.”

The 55-credit program includes such course offerings as Modern Methods in Drug Design, Medicinal Chemistry, Analytical Instrumentation, and Nano-Chemistry and Technology.

For additional information, contact Professor Chauhan at chauhanBPS@wpunj.edu.