McMaster University


McMaster University



Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Welcome from the Chair

The Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences is a research-intensive and education-forward department supported by a community of faculty members, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate trainees. The department operates within the Faculty of Health Sciences, whose pioneering approach to research and education has helped situate McMaster University among the top universities in the world. We are champions for the vision of the faculty – to learn from what was, to challenge what is, and to embrace what could be. Our department enjoys a rich community feel, collaborative in spirit and practice, within a strong culture of collegiality among both students and faculty alike.

The integration of education, research, and community partnership is at the heart of what we do. Our undergraduate program in Biochemistry introduces students to fundamental concepts that underpin modern biomedical research and innovation. Students get to apply this knowledge first hand, through real-world laboratory research experiences that prepare them for fulfilling careers and graduate opportunities. Our newly created program in Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization is among the first of its kind – a combined undergraduate and graduate program designed for students with a passion for research and a desire to learn how new discoveries are commercialized in today’s innovation-based economy. This program connects students with the health sciences commercial sector in new ways, by completing curriculum components while embedded within the very companies involved in drug discovery, development and marketing, commercialization, and entrepreneurial pursuits related to health innovation.

Our Graduate Program, leading to M.Sc., Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. degrees, offers rigorous leading-edge training designed for students who desire a rich, scholarly experience provided by an internationally competitive and research-intensive institution. McMaster is at the forefront of scientific discovery, yielding dramatic discoveries that uncover the inner workings of biological systems and that hold great promise for understanding the nature of human health and disease. Our graduate students are front-line contributors to this discovery engine, guided and mentored by some of the brightest minds in science who are research leaders in the fields of microbiology and infectious diseases, stem cell and cancer biology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, human genetic diseases, and more.

Our educational and research activities are augmented by state of the art infrastructure and partnerships with affiliated research institutes that create collaborative networks and hubs of activity to support cutting-edge research. Here, our faculty and trainees can dream big to tackle the most pressing problems in their field.

I welcome you to the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. As you explore our educational offerings and research-intensive programs, you are invited to contact us with any questions you might have.


Brian Coombes, Ph.D.
Chair, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences


Biochemistry 50th Anniversary


New Graduate Studies Webpage!


Graduate Application Procedure


New Program


BiochemRocks Summer 2018 Edition!

Biochem Rocks Aplication

The BiochemRocks app is now live!
Download the BiochemRocks app from the Apple and Google app stores today!




Yingfu Li


McMaster researchers have pioneered ground-breaking technology that could – for the first time – provide experimental evidence of how life was formed on the early Earth and show whether life could have emerged elsewhere in the universe.

McMaster’s new Origins of Life Laboratory which features a Planetary Simulator, a highly sophisticated climate chamber – the only one of its kind in the world – enables researchers to mimic the environmental conditions present on the early Earth, or on Earth-like planets, to explore how the building blocks of life were assembled and how these prebiotic molecules transitioned into self-replicating RNA molecules, the first genetic material found in all life today.

[Read full story]

Karun Singh

McMaster researchers unravel genetic mystery linked to complex brain disorders, including autism

A study led by researchers at McMaster University has pinpointed a gene that is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

Researchers found alterations of the gene thousand and one amino-acid kinase 2, known as TAOK2, plays a direct role in these disorders. This is the first comprehensive study that supports previous research suggesting the involvement of this gene.

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Ray Truant

New insight into Huntington's disease may open door to drug development

McMaster University researchers have developed a new theory on Huntington's disease which is being welcomed for showing promise to open new avenues of drug development for the condition.

Huntington's disease is caused by a mutation in the gene that makes the protein called huntingtin. A team of researchers led by McMaster has found there is a unique type of signalling coming from damaged DNA, that signals huntingtin activity in DNA repair, and that this signalling is defective in Huntington's disease.

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Jakob Magolan

A crash course in organic chemistry

Jakob Magolan is here to change your perception of organic chemistry. In an accessible talk packed with striking graphics, he teaches us the basics while breaking the stereotype that organic chemistry is something to be afraid of.

[View the TED Talk Here]

Faculty Member of the Month

Eric Brown

Ever wonder what healthcare would look like if there were no antibiotics? Where the use of antibiotics has been commonplace for almost eighty years, it is hard to imagine but we are seeing glimpses of this scenario now in modern medicine. Menacing drug resistant bacteria that are known in the clinical microbiology laboratory by their acronyms, such as MRSA, CRE and ESBLs (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and extended spectrum b-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae), are compromising treatments for bacterial infection.

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