UM Biochemistry Program Earns Highest Level of Accreditation

December 12, 2019

UM News Service

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Biochemistry Program has earned full seven-year accreditation from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for its bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry. UM boasts the only ASBMB-accredited biochemistry degrees in Montana.

In their accreditation review of UM programs, ASBMB noted UM biochemistry faculty, citing their strengths both in teaching and research in addition to the program’s strong experiential learning component.

Stephen Lodmell, UM’s Biochemistry Program director, said ASBMB’s full accreditation of the program is acknowledgement of the University’s exemplary undergraduate training in the sciences. 

Pepper Pennington, UM biochemistry student, works on a project in Dr. Bruce Bowler's lab. UM's Biochemistry Program recently received the highest level of accreditation by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.“It is truly satisfying to earn accreditation from ASBMB,” he said. “It’s a notable recognition of the rigor, breadth and depth of our programs.” 

Lodmell said the accreditation process required the program to critically evaluate and fine-tune curricula to “emphasize theoretical and practical biochemistry skillsets” while at the same time helping students hone their critical thinking, problem-solving and communications skills that are the hallmarks of broadly educated UM undergraduates.

The accreditation gives UM biochemistry majors the opportunity to take an exam administered by the ASBMB each spring to have their degrees certified or certified with distinction. The exam tests fundamental biochemical knowledge and emphasizes critical thinking skills. Since 2016, UM’s biochemistry bachelor degrees have had provisional accreditation by ASBMB, and the percentage of UM students taking the exam whose degrees were certified or certified with distinction significantly exceeded the national average.

 UM’s new bachelor’s degree in computational biochemistry, which combines modern concepts and methods in both computer science and biochemistry, also earned a three-year accreditation by ASBMB.   

UM’s Biochemistry Program, housed in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is an interdisciplinary academic program jointly staffed and administered by the Division of Biological Sciences, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides a rich environment for UM’s biochemistry majors that propels them to success, preparing them for future careers in basic biomedical science, the pharmaceutical industry and bioinformatics. About 50% of UM biochemistry majors pursue further education in graduate or medical school.

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Contact: Stephen Lodmell, director, UM Biochemistry Program, 406-243-6393, stephen.lodmell@umontana.edu.