Molecular Biology and Genetics
Molecular biology and genetics is an area of biochemistry which seeks to understand and unravel complex molecular mechanisms and the behaviour of living organisms by focusing on their molecular structure and the interactions among the biomolecules which constitute all living organisms. Molecular genetics is concerned with the control and function of genes at a molecular level and how the genetic information is transferred from one generation to the next.
Specific topic areas include the structure, information content and replication of genetic material; the organisation and expression of encoding genes and the structure of gene products (proteins); genetic and protein engineering; macromolecular structure and interactions; cell differentiation and organism development; the basis of inherited diseases; biotechnology and medical diagnostic molecular biology; genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics.
View the study guide for this major.
What do molecular biologists do?
Molecular biologists are highly sought after in a wide variety of national and international research laboratories, in hospitals and industry. They work in organisations which include medical and agricultural research institutes; biotechnology companies; hospitals; diagnostic laboratories; universities; schools; the pharmaceutical industry; the biotechnology industries and the food manufacturing industries.
Molecular biologists are interested in the molecular changes which occur within organisms: the conversion of food to cellular components; the provision of energy to drive bodily processes; the chemical nature of genes and the way in which these define and control biological processes.
One of the most stimulating and positive aspects of molecular biology is the increasing interaction with medicine. Molecular biologists study the molecular basis of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis and AIDS, leading to definitive diagnosis and towards the development of cures.
Studies in molecular biology and genetics form an ideal base for graduate research in molecular biology and genetics or professional graduate entry programs, such as the university’s medical and dentistry programs.
What will you study?
In your first year, as a foundation, you will study chemistry, molecular biology and genetics and biology. In later years the focus moves towards biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, and biology units.
Some example units include:
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry - Genes; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry - Proteins; Human Molecular Cell Biology; Medical and Metabolic Biochemistry; Proteomics and Functional Genomics.
An honours year comprises a project within one of the research laboratories within the school, a small coursework module and participation in the school seminar program.
All units are available at advanced level to selected students. The advanced programs offer the opportunity to explore particular topics in greater depth within a small-group environment.
If you wish you pursue a career in research, you may choose to continue to postgraduate studies within the school in the PhD by research program.