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ASBMB Pre-Med Curriculum Recommendations

The following set of recommendations were compiled and written by ASBMB members Charles Brenner (University of Iowa) and Dagmar Ringe (Brandeis University) and were first published in the March, 2012 issue of ASBMB Today.  

  1. The introductory year of biology should be refreshed (if it hasn’t been already) to prepare students in cellular and molecular biology up to and including fundamentals of genetics and biological information transfer.
  2. The traditional, two-year sequence of general and organic chemistry should be streamlined to a single year of life-oriented chemistry that focuses on bonding and reactivity of molecules containing carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur and nitrogen.
  3. A one-semester biochemistry course should be required and a two-semester biochemistry course recommended for premedical students. The material must broadly introduce macromolecular structure/function and cellular metabolism.
  4. A single biology, chemistry or biochemistry laboratory course emphasizing research methods and statistics should be required. The content is expected to vary with the department offering the course. For example, a biology laboratory might utilize fluorescent reporters of gene function. A chemistry laboratory might consist of the traditional organic chemistry material or a bioanalytical unit that focuses on quantifying carbohydrate and lipid metabolites. A biochemistry laboratory might characterize enzymes. Each of these methods courses would be expected to cover statistics and data analysis.

The ASBMB welcomes feedback, comments and support from the academic community at large.  Please read the original ASBMB Today article, "Response to the New MCAT", and let us know your thoughts.