Wilkes University


Wilkes University students looks through a microscope during a biochemistry lab.

Biochemistry explores questions at the intersection of the life sciences, biology, physical sciences and chemistry.

Wilkes' biochemistry majors receive a solid foundation in chemical and biological principles, preparing them for a broad range of career opportunities in biochemical or pharmaceutical industries, government laboratories and academia. Biochemistry major

Our well-equipped chemistry and biochemistry laboratory facilities offer exceptional instrumentation, with students gaining hands-on experience beginning in the freshman year. The department possesses a wide range of modern spectroscopic tools, a thermal analysis suite, and routine equipment for synthesis and analysis. In addition, students can access the bioinformatics center and genomics-molecular biology center in the Department of Biology and Health Sciences.

Cohen Science Center
The 72,500-square-foot Cohen Science Center opened in August 2013. It features state-of-the-art equipment and related laboratory space for hands-on, experiential learning – a hallmark of the Wilkes experience. The third floor is dedicated to research laboratories for biology, chemistry and environmental research, encouraging interdisciplinary connections and faculty-student interactions on teams.

“Green” features include:

  • polished concrete floors,
  • energy-efficient lighting and energy-saving windows,
  • partially vegetated roof, 
  • and responsibly harvested wood.

The building qualifies for silver-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a program of the U.S. Green Building Council.   

Chemistry Instrumentation
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry maintains a wide variety of chemical instrumentation and facilities:

  • 400-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer
  • Microwave reactor
  • Infrared spectrometer
  • High-pressure liquid chromatography
  • Gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer
  • Electrospray mass spectrometer
  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Circular dichromism spectrometer
  • Ultraviolet/visable spectrometer
  • Fluorimeter
  • Stopped flow fast kinetics instrumentation
  • Ozone generator
  • Parr hydrogenator
  • Calorimeter

Chemical Library
The department houses computer equipment for online access to the American Chemistry Society Archives and many other scientific online journals. Additional library resources are available in the main campus library, the Farley Library.

Chemical Stockroom
The Department maintains a large inventory of routinely used chemical items.

Wilkes' biochemistry majors find ample opportunity to participate in research and are required to complete a capstone senior research project. However, students can begin their involvement in an original research project as early as freshman year. Students can become involved as volunteers, paid technicians, interns or through enrollment in independent studies.

Ongoing research areas include:

•    biochemical investigations with enzymology and pharmaceutical applications,
•    materials science,
•    analytical chemistry,
•    computational chemistry,
•    coordination chemistry,
•    and bioinorganic chemistry.


Independent study allows students to collaborate in novel projects with many related disciplines, such as biology, pharmacy, computer science, and others. A wide range of research topics is currently being explored within the department. Ongoing and planned projects include organic synthesis, biochemical investigations (enzymology and pharmaceutical applications), materials science (amorphous alloy production and characterization), analytical chemistry, and computational chemistry.

Beyond class, chemistry majors can participate in numerous activities related to the major:

  • Active, award-winning Chemistry Club
  • Outreach programs with local schools
  • Travel to present research around the country
  • Travel to interesting science-related places (Corning Museum, Priestley House)
The department maintains an outstanding record of placement in graduate and medical programs across the country. Recent graduates have been accepted or awarded fellowships and scholarships for doctoral work at:
  • Drexel University School of Medicine,
  • New York College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine,
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University,
  • and Temple University College of Podiatric Medicine.
Other alumni have taken research positions in a variety of industrial and government laboratories
Wilkes University’s chemistry program is approved by the American Chemical Society.