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Did You Know

UAF chemistry professor Kelly Drew is studying how arctic grounds squirrels hibernate in hopes of developing a way to help humans in remote areas that are in need of medical attention go into a stasis. The European Space Agency invited Drew to report on her research as they want to send people on a 6-month journey to Mars and would like to put them in a state of stasis – to conserve food and keep people from getting on each other’s nerves.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Chemistry is the study of matter and its properties. Chemists look at how and why substances combine or separate to form other substances, and how substances interact with energy. Biochemistry focuses on these processes within living organisms.

A major in chemistry can help you in careers fields like toxicology, biotechnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forensic science, neuroscience, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and atmospheric science.

Why study chemistry and biochemistry with us?

  • The American Chemical Society approved our B.S. degree in chemistry
    Through a variety of classes, you can explore chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry or forensic chemistry.
  • We have strong graduate programs leading to Ph.D. degrees in Biochemistry and Neuroscience as well as a M.S. degree in chemistry.
  • Alaska makes a great lab. Our students and faculty are studying topics related to the Arctic, Alaska’s environment and wildlife, and subjects related to resource extraction.
  • Our program is housed in a building with state-of-the-art labs and the Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory, which has an electron microprobe and an electron scanning microscope.
  • Our faculty have diverse expertise from tracking air pollutants to studying how to better extract rare earth minerals in the mining process. Some faculty are helping the military with different research projects including how to create self-decontaminating paint that the military can use for soldiers quarters abroad.
  • There are undergraduate research opportunities. We have a research class, but you can also apply for scholarships through programs on campus to fund independent research projects.

Our classes allow you to explore

  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Macromolecules
  • Metabolism
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Nuerochemistry
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Teaching chemistry at the middle or high school level
  • Inorganic and organic chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • How to use analytical equipment
  • Aquatic chemistry
  • Molecular modeling
  • Chemical oceanography
  • Receptor Pharmacology
  • Environmental geochemistry
  • Crystallography and diffraction
  • Biosynthesis of Plant Natural Products
  • And more …

Some of the questions researchers on campus are asking

  • How is the metal in discharged bullets transported and dispersed in a range of soils? How are the bullets oxidizing and weathering? This project is with the US Department of Defense.
  • What happens to pollutants in the Arctic including organics and mercury and what effect will climate change have on them and how they interact with the Arctic environment
  • How can industries better extract the rare earth mineral tellurium, which is used in “green technologies” like solar panels

Institutes, programs and labs that foster our student and faculty research

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