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.
Professor and Acting Chair


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!




Brian Coombes

Coombes named acting chair

Brian Coombes has been named acting chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences.

The appointment is effective Sept. 1, 2017 until March 1, 2018.

Coombes, a McMaster alumnus, is a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences. He also holds the Canada Research Chair in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis and is a University Scholar.

He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University in 2006. His research focuses on enteric bacteria associated with acute and chronic human diseases.

Coombes succeeds former chair Karen Mossman, who was recently appointed the University's associate vice-president, research.


Matthew Miller

Being born during a flu pandemic may increase risk of death in another influenza pandemic: McMaster

While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

New data analysis suggests that people born at the time of the 1957 H2N2 or Asian Flu pandemic were at a higher risk of dying during the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic as well as the resurgent H1N1 outbreak in 2013-2014. And it is not the first time this has happened.

[Read full story]

Jonathan Schertzer

Grants advance diabetes and tuberculosis research

Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences, will receive just less than $1 million over five years for his work on obesity, diabetes and a better understanding of how bacteria in the gut can be used to stop or slow prediabetes.

[Read full story]

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

Karun Singh

Dr. Karun Singh joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences 5 years ago after completing his postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and his PhD studies at the University of Toronto. The overall goal of his research program is to use stem cell-based models to study neurological disorders and devise new therapies for these conditions.

[Read full story]

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