Welcome to Biochemistry

Biochemistry is the study of all living systems at the molecular level. It looks at the chemical and physical basis of life and how these living systems interact with their environments.

The Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Biological Sciences jointly offer a multi-disciplinary major in biochemistry for the 40-course Bachelor of Science (BSc). You can also select a general major in the sciences and choose biochemistry courses as options.

Biochemistry will help you develop a strong background in the basic sciences and extensive laboratory skills. Thereby, it provides background for a diverse range of careers in the life sciences, including professional programs such as medicine and veterinary medicine. 

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is home to many advanced instruments which enable cutting-edge research. These tools include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infra-red, Raman, UVvisible, atomic absorption spectrometers, macromolecular x-ray diffractometer, isothermal titration calorimeter, and a surface plasmon resonance spectrometer.

Program Highlights

Athan Zovoilis

UofL scientists add to knowledge of RNA-based mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease

UofL researchers who found a new molecular mechanism involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice have confirmed the same mechanism is at work in patients with the disease. In both cases, the use of high throughput sequencing techniques that study the DNA readout of brain cells helped identify a class of biomolecules, called SINE RNAs, that are produced in different patterns in AD patients versus healthy individuals. These findings will help guide the way for future studies to identify early indicators of AD before symptoms occurs, as well as targets for therapeutic intervention.

The study, led by Dr. Athan Zovoilis, a Canada Research Chair in RNA Bioinformatics and Genomics, was recently published in EMBO Reports, a peer-reviewed scientific journal for molecular biology that ranks among the 10 per cent of most-cited journals. The research was a collaborative effort between the Southern Alberta Genome Sciences Center (SAGSC), the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN) and the Calgary Brain Bank at the University of Calgary.

SAGSC logo

Careers in Genomics & Bioinformatics – Career Transitions/Career Exploration Session

Attention HIgh School Students

TUE, APR 27, 2021 from 4:30 PM TO 6:00 PM

Have you heard of genomics and bioinformatics? Do you want to join the 4th industrial revolution?

Registration is now open through Career Transitions at

Since the sequencing of the first human genome in 2001, genomic technologies have enabled us to characterize and quantify biological molecules, such as DNA and RNA, which has made a huge impact across many fields such as medicine, agriculture and environmental management. To tackle with the vast amounts of generated biological information generated by the use of genomics, bioinformatics emerged as a specialization of data sciences that focuses on the analysis of such large data sets.

Genomics and bioinformatics are part of the 4th industrial revolution, which includes technologies that merges hardware and software with biology, creating many new educational and employment opportunities that will shape our world in the next decade. Universities and companies are increasingly leveraging genomics and bioinformatics, rapidly transforming the nature of human labour by increasing reliance on technology and computer algorithms and, thus, the field faces a huge surge in demand for skilled genomicists and bioinformaticians and consists of an attractive career path for young Albertans.

Trushar Patel

PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Trushar Patel

On Thursday, March 25, 2021, chemistry & biochemistry professor, Dr. Trushar Patel, presented How not to get viral: Understanding the communication between viruses and humans, as part of the PUBlic Professor Series.

Dr. Patel's goal is to obtain detailed insights into how viral nucleic acids interact with host proteins by employing interdisciplinary approaches. Information on the specific sites of host proteins that communicate with viral nucleic acids will ultimately allow the development of therapeutics that prevent host-viral communication. These interactions are essential for the survival and replication of the virus - stopping the interactions is thus of benefit for treating viral infection. Patel's research program is timely given recent global incidences of viral outbreaks and, in many cases, the lack of available treatment and the failure of currently available drugs designed to target viral components. In this PUBlic Professor Series talk, Patel provided an overview of human-viral communications and discuss some of his recent work.

Bo Amy Marielle

Early research opportunities lead to publications for U of L students

Two University of Lethbridge students can add publications to their resumés after they took advantage of getting involved in research early in their university education. Not only have they published papers in major journals, they’ve also collaborated with other departments within the U of L and internationally.

Marielle Stoutjesdyk, an undergraduate student in the Department of Physics, and Amy Henrickson (BSc ’17), a master’s student in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, work in Dr. Borries Demeler’s lab. Demeler is a Canada 150 Research Chair for Biophysics and director of the Canadian Center for Hydrodynamics, which uses analytical ultracentrifugation to analyze molecules in solution. Photo from left to right are Dr. Borries Demeler, Amy Henrickson and Marielle Stoutjesdyk.


ARRTI researcher earns $642,600 CIHR grant to investigate complex process of ribosome formation

Long-term goal is to inhibit interactions between small RNAs and ribosomal RNAs thereby depriving cancer cells of protein factories.

Understanding one of the fundamental building blocks of life may also hold the key to unlocking new targets for the treatment of cancer. The University of Lethbridge’s Dr. Ute Kothe and her team will look to unravel the complex process of forming ribosomes, the body’s protein factories, through RNA research in a new five-year project that has received $642,600 in funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

Identifying Critical RNA-RNA Interactions during Ribosome Biogenesis is the title of the project that will be based at the U of L and within the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI), but also include collaborators at the Universities of Sherbrooke and McGill University in Quebec, as well as three German institutions.

Vaccines bring hope to a pandemic-stricken world

News of vaccines under development to combat the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have provided many people with the first sense of optimism for a future beyond the pandemic, and Dr. Trushar Patel, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Canada Research Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics, counts himself in that crowd.

“We should be very positive and hopeful,” says Patel. “I’m so excited because, in the next few months, we will likely have an explosion of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. There are about 48 vaccines in Phase 1, 2 and 3 trials. We have about 160 candidates in pre-clinical trials. We are looking at about 200 vaccines at different stages of development and they use different platforms.”

Career Bridge: Centre for Work-Integrated Learning and Career Development

Career Bridge


Put Your Knowledge to Work 

Whether you’re looking for a more in-depth learning experience by assisting with research projects on campus or by testing your knowledge in a real-life work setting, we can help! The University of Lethbridge is proud to offer you an exceptional opportunity to explore professional development through academic programs and services designed to give you a competitive edge in a fast-changing world.

You have a bright future — experience it via Career Bridge at uLethbridge!

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