MBiochem Biochemistry: 2 students per year.
Mark Howarth, MBiochem DPhil
Biochemistry is the study of life at the molecular level. The College admits 2 undergraduates every year to read Biochemistry. It is essential to have A-level or equivalent in Chemistry plus another science or Mathematics. A-level Biology is not required because part of the first-year course provides the necessary biological background, although it is useful. Similarly, students without A-level Mathematics reach the level necessary to understand the quantitative aspects of biochemistry by taking the first year Mathematics & Statistics course. Both pre- and post A-level applications are welcome.
The course begins with a general introduction to biochemistry in the first year, when five courses are taken, and gradually becomes more advanced and wider in scope. Throughout the course, tutorials provide an opportunity to explore and discuss the material encountered in lectures and practical classes. An important aspect of the Oxford course is the project in the fourth year, which allows students to explore both laboratory-based research and specific recent advances in biochemistry in detail. Undergraduates choose the project themselves working either within the Biochemistry Department or in related institutes such as Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Pathology or abroad under the Erasmus scheme. Under the supervision of a group leader, students will design their own experiments, and will learn to plan research programmes and present results and ideas – orally and in written form – to other workers in the field.
Dr Howarth’s research is based upon developing new chemical and biological approaches to the imaging, diagnosis and killing of cancer. In particular this involves engineering of antibodies to form covalent bonds to their targets, to improve analytical detection sensitivity and to understand the dynamics of receptors on the surface of tumour cells.
For further information, see the department’s website at www.bioch.ox.ac.uk
Further advice on A-levels, AS levels and equivalent qualifications for students interested in applying to Oxford is available at www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/courses
For information about international qualifications please go to www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/int