Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Biochem and Medical Genetics Program Info
The Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics is the result of a merger of the Department of Human Genetics and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in June 1999.
Fields of Research
Work undertaken by faculty members and their trainees is frequently multidisciplinary and crosses many pillars of health research including basic and clinical sciences and population health. Various aspects of the molecular and biochemical basis of Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, cancer biology, lysosomal storage diseases, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, neuromuscular and cardiovascular diseases are being investigated. Model systems are being created in mouse, C. elegans, and S. cerevisiae. Areas of research include development, signal transduction, steroid hormone receptor action, chromatin structure, transcription and gene regulation, biosynthesis and transport of membrane proteins, membrane lipid metabolism, arachidonate metabolism. Other areas of research include dysmorphology, the molecular basis of genetic disease, prenatal diagnosis and screening, as well as community genetics. For specifics, please click on our Faculty info page.
The administrative office and some faculty are housed on the 3rd floor (24,000 square feet) of the Basic Medical Sciences Building located at the Bannatyne Campus of the University. Research resources include preparative and ultracentrifuges, visible and ultraviolet spectrophotometers, spectrofluorometers, luminometers, liquid and gamma scintillation spectrophotometers, high pressure liquid chromatography, radiochromatogram scanners, instruments for gas, liquid, paper and thin-layer chromatography and electrophoresis, phosphoimagers and a variety of modern instruments for molecular biology. The department is well-equipped with bacteria/cell/tissue culture facilities and coldrooms and has access to state-of-the-art transgenic mouse modeling facilities.
Pre-M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
A minimum three-year bachelor’s degree with a 3.5 GPA (4.5 scale), or equivalent, in the previous 60 credit hours of university study, or equivalent (normally 2 years). In addition, during this period there should be no grade less than C+ in any biochemistry, genetics, or life science course deemed relevant to the proposed course of study.
M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Admission requirements are those of the Faculty of Graduate Studies found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section of this Calendar.
The applicant must have an appropriate background in biochemistry, genetics, or a closely related subject area, with a minimum 3.5 GPA (4.5 scale), or equivalent, in the previous 60 credit hours of university study, or equivalent (normally 2 years). In addition, during this period there should be no grade less than C+ in any biochemistry, genetics, or life science course deemed relevant to the proposed course of study.
Admission will depend upon the availability of a Faculty Member to supervise the student and resources to support the student's research.
In rare cases, applicants with GPA's lower than 3.5 may be admitted to this department, based upon individual circumstances and the support of their prospective advisors. Students in this situation should consult with their prospective advisor and the Chair of the Graduate Student Admissions Committee.
Program Requirements are those of the Faculty of Graduate Studies found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section of this Calendar.
Second language reading requirement: none
Expected time to graduate: 2 – 3 years
Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
1) A thesis-based Master’s degree (of at least 2 years in duration), or equivalent, in biochemistry, genetics, or a closely related field, from a Canadian university is required for direct admission to the Ph.D. program. In addition, a cumulative GPA of 3.5 (4.5 scale), or equivalent, in the courses taken during the Master’s program is required.
Generally, there is no direct entry into the Ph.D. program for students with Master’s degrees from non-Canadian universities. Applications will be assessed by the admissions committee on an individual basis; in most cases students with Master’s degrees from international universities are admitted into the Master’s program in this department. They may subsequently request for a transfer into the Ph.D. program, if eligible, based on the procedures outlined in Section 59.
2) Admission will also depend upon the availability and willingness of a Faculty Member to supervise the student and resources to support the student's research
Program requirements are those of the Faculty of Graduate Studies found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section of this Calendar.
Second language requirement: none
Expected time to graduation: 4 – 5 years
Direct entry from the Bachelor’s degree to the Ph.D. degree in this department would only occur in exceptional circumstances. Prospective students would be expected to have extensive research experience, in addition to an outstanding academic background, to be considered for this route. Once admitted, these students must complete at least 18 credit hours of course work in addition to their thesis research.
Transfer to a Ph.D. program:
Students registered for a Master’s degree who has made excellent progress over the first ~20 months in their program may be considered for transfer to the Ph.D. program. The transfer process, as outlined in the BMG Graduate Student Academic Guide, must be completed within 24 months of the student’s commencement in the Master’s program.
Such transfer will be considered only when:
1. Both the student and the advisor request, in writing, that the student transfers to the Ph.D. program. This request should be made to the Chair of the Graduate Student Affairs Committee.
2. At least 12 credit hours of course work, exclusive of the mandatory ‘Research Seminar’ course, have been successfully completed (GPA >3.5).
3. The student is able to demonstrate a high potential for success in the Ph.D. program. This will be shown by their research and course work accomplishments to date, as well as their ability to communicate and defend their findings and future plans in both a written and an oral format, as outlined in the BMG Graduate Student Academic Guide.
The Transfer to Ph.D. examining committee will consist of the student’s advisory committee and the Chair of the Graduate Student Affairs Committee, or his/her designate, as Chair.
A student can request transfer from the Master’s to the Ph.D. program only once. Students who do not transfer may apply to the Ph.D. program after completing their Master’s program.
NOTE: Admissions are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Graduate Student Admissions Committee and are based upon transcripts, English proficiency (if required), letters of recommendation, and evidence that the applicant’s Master’s program was thesis based. Prospective students must have a thesis advisor before they will be considered for admission to the department.