The major in biochemistry and molecular biology at Hope College has earned national accreditation from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

Hope is among only 14 colleges and universities across the country to have received the designation since the ASBMB established the accreditation program in 2013.  The college’s accreditation runs for the full, seven-year term available to colleges and universities, from June 1 of this year through May 31, 2021.  The ASBMB cited the curriculum, faculty research including grants received and publications, and excellent research opportunities for students as particular strengths of the program.

“Receiving accreditation from the ASBMB is a tremendous validation,” said Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, who is the Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker Professor of Biology and Chemistry and an A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Fellow at Hope, as well as director of the college’s biochemistry and molecular biology program.  “It affirms to students and their families, and to prospective graduate and professional schools and future employers, that the education achieved by our graduates meets the standards established by the leading national scientific association concerned with biochemistry and molecular biology.”

Hope established its major in biochemistry and molecular biology, which leads to a Bachelor of Science degree, in 2009 using guidelines developed by the ASBMB.  The major includes courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.

The major emphasizes the workings of the cell, processes that specialists in both biology and chemistry study.  Biochemists, for example, are interested in the wide variety of chemical reactions that occur in the cell, while molecular biologists are interested in the genetic storage, transfer and use of information, and both groups are interested in structure-function relationships.

A total of 29 students have graduated with the major so far, including 10 this past spring, and another 27 are in the next two graduating classes combined.  Hope students in the program have established a biochemistry club on campus, participate in national meetings of professional associations including the ASBMB, and have co-authored numerous publications in scholarly journals, and have received major awards including Beckman Scholars Program research awards, Goldwater Scholarships and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.  Alumni have gone on to a variety of graduate and professional programs.