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


50th Anniversary Edition of BiochemRocks!

Biochem Rocks Aplication

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




Felicia Vulcu

Mysteries of DNA explained in McMaster's Massive Online Open Course

The public conversation is loaded with references to DNA through news and drama featuring criminal investigations, home-testing kits that tell us about our health and ancestry, and new advances in science.

DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It's the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms, yet many people don't know much about it at all.

Two biochemists of the Faculty of Health Sciences are working to put those mysteries to bed through a new public course, called DNA Decoded, which is available to everyone.

[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.

[Read full story]

Eric Brown

Two faculty members named Distinguished University Professor

Two outstanding faculty members have been recognized as Distinguished University Professor.

Dr. Harriet MacMillan (Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Pediatrics), and Prof. Eric Brown (Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences) have been conferred the title.

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Jakob Magolan

Organic chemist building better drugs joins Faculty of Health Sciences

Jakob Magolan is excited when he talks about the research opportunities that an organic chemist can bring to the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

The inaugural Boris Family Chair in Drug Discovery and new faculty member of the Faculty of Health Sciences says his specialization in building synthetic molecules can enable his laboratory to contribute to many of McMaster's biomedical research efforts.

[Read full story]

Faculty Member of the Month

John Whitney

Dr. Whitney’s interest in research was sparked at a young age in a high school classroom when he first learned about the Krebs cycle. It became apparent to him that there was a branch of biology that had a mechanistic and chemical side. This lead to his interest in learning about biochemical mechanisms and how they explain the existence of living organisms at the molecular level, which inspired him to pursue a BSc in Biological Chemistry from the University of Guelph followed by a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.

[Read full story]

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