Welcome to the website of the Department of Biochemistry, home to 17 faculty, 13 associate and adjunct professors, 40 graduate students and 27 research scientists and postdocs studying the chemistry of life! Inside, you will find information about our research projects, courses we teach, and events we host.

A Message from the Head

The Department of Biochemistry has a long tradition of outstanding research and graduate training, and has a strong commitment to delivering a high quality undergraduate program.  The research being carried out by faculty members covers a broad spectrum of cellular and molecular biochemistry, and if you are a potential trainee looking for a research opportunity, I am sure that you will be able to find a good match for your interests. 

If you are an undergraduate student still trying to determine which discipline to study in and want to find out what biochemistry is all about, I encourage you to arrange for a meeting with either myself or another faculty member.  We’d be happy to share our passion for biochemistry with you, inform you of the possible career options that a biochemistry degree provide, and answer any other questions you have.

Undergraduate Program

Master biochemical and molecular biological techniques. Discover the practical applications of biochemical research to Medicine, Agriculture, Industry and Biotechnology. Unravel how living systems function in normal and disease states. These opportunities and more are available to you when you choose Biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan.

What is Biochemistry?

“Biochemistry seeks to explain life in chemical terms. The basic goal of the science of biochemistry is to determine how the collections of inanimate objects that constitute living organisms interact with each other to maintain and perpetuate life.  Although Biochemistry yields important insights and practical applications in medicine, agriculture, nutrition and industry, it is ultimately concerned with the wonder of life itself."
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Second Edition

Career Opportunities

Research: A variety of technical positions are available in academia (e.g., universities), industry (e.g., biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies), government laboratories (e.g., agricultural and food agencies and police forensic laboratories) and healthcare system (e.g., hospitals). Teaching: Biochemists are involved in teaching at high schools, universities and technical colleges. Communications:Some biochemists work as science writers for textbooks and prepare technical reports for industry. Business: Biochemists play an important role in the management, sales and marketing in science-based companies, such as pharmaceutical firms. Regulatory/Law: Many biochemists are employed by regulatory bodies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration, to develop government policies and patent law. A Stepping Stone...Biochemistry provides excellent preparation for students considering studies in a wide variety of disciplines, including graduate studies and research (M. Sc. and Ph. D), medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nutrition, veterinary medicine, education and law.

The U of S Advantage

Outstanding Faculty: The Department of Biochemistry has 17 faculty members with expertise in nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, enzymology, metabolism, cell biochemistry, plant biochemistry and structural biology.  Their research interests encompass topics such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases as well as, bioethanol, nanotechnology, structural studies of proteins by NMR and X-ray crystallography, and cell cycle in plants.  Funding for research is obtained competitively from CIHR, NSERC, SHRF and other funding agencies.  The wealth of expertise in the Department of Biochemistry is enriched by the affiliation of professors who are members of other colleges and departments (e.g., Chemistry, and Plant Sciences), centres (e.g., Saskatchewan Cancer Centre) and research agencies {e.g., Canadian Light Source (CLS), the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), and Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI)} located on the university campus. These affiliated professors participate in the teaching and training of undergraduate and graduate students. Research Facilities:In 2012, the research laboratories of the Department of Biochemistry will be relocated to the newly renovated Health Sciences Building with state-of-art research facilities. The University of Saskatchewan is a home to several high-impact research centers that include the VIDO, PBI, Saskatchewan Cancer Center, Saskatchewan Structural Science Center, Agricultural and Ag-Food Canada and dozens of biotechnology firms within Innovation Place.
The city of Saskatoon is the proud home of two of Canada’s largest investments in science infrastructure, the CLS and the newly opened International Vaccine Center (InterVac). 

Saskatoon is at the cutting edge of medical and agricultural research. Biochemistry is a core discipline within all these pursuits. The concentration of these research institutions on the campus, together with our own university laboratories provide our students unique research opportunity and advantage.  Many of our graduates find employment at these organizations, and elsewhere.

Choose Your Program!

Biochemistry is a core life science discipline that provides students with fundamental knowledge in the diverse areas of science and research.  Individual students programs vary with courses ranging from animal and plant metabolism, molecular and cellular biochemistry to biotechnology and bioinformatics.

A Major in Biochemistry

Students majoring in biochemistry can choose from one of the following degrees: B. Sc Three-Year, B. Sc. Four-Year and B. Sc. Honours.  A student may choose to combine the Biochemistry Program with courses from other departments and colleges to complete a degree program that is either diverse or specialized.  Double Honours program with Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Physics or other programs may be arranged. Interdisciplinary programs with biotechnology and biomolecular structure studies are also available.

Getting Involved!

Join the Biochemistry Students Association and participate in various activities to enrich the student experience. These include a career night, tutorial sessions, mentoring and social events.  Meet, interact and socialize with fellow students and professors.

Memberships for the 2014-15 academic year will be available in September.

  • If you are interested in joining the BSA Exec, or want a description of the positions, please email: uofsbsa@gmail.com.

The BSA is a really rewarding experience and a great way to meet your peers and professors (it also looks fabulous on a resume!)

Visit us on facebook or check out our website for some awesome events coming your way!

  • The Dr. Louis T.J. Delbaere Memorial Scholarship - Recognizing students who have demonstrated the potential and interest to pursue career in Biochemistry. $1,000. Application

Graduate Program

Biochemistry is a multidisciplinary program of scientific research which involves the study of enzymes, metabolic pathways, and the synthesis, structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids. This program contains a strong emphasis on biochemical and molecular biological techniques and on conceptual training in biochemical experimentation. Modern-day biochemists carry out research in a wide variety of areas that include creating genetically-engineered crops that are resistant to environmental pressures, perfecting forensic techniques, elucidating structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids, developing drugs for human and animal health, and bioethanol production.

As a graduate student within the Department of Biochemistry, you will be able to pursue studies in:

  • analytical biochemistry
  • cell biochemistry
  • cell biology and cancer
  • enzymes and metabolism
  • nucleic acids and gene expression
  • plant biochemistry
  • protein structure and molecular mechanism

The University of Saskatchewan - plus all of these affiliations hire biochemistry graduate students

  • Canadian Light Source (CLS)
  • Saskatchewan Cancer Agency Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC)
  • National Research Council Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC  PBI)
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease Association (VIDO)
  • Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM)
  • Canadian Light Source (CLS) )
  • Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
  • Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC)


  • A Master's degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in an academic discipline relevant to the proposed field of study; under no circumstances may a prospective student holding a Bachelor's degree be admitted directly into a Ph.D. program.
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e. coursework required in Master's program).
  • Demonstrated ability for independent thought, advanced study, and research.

Degree Requirements

GSR 960.0 and GSR 961.0 or GSR 962.0 if research involves human or animal subjects.

  • BIOC 990.0
  • BIOC 996.0
  • The advisory committee may recommend additional courses to address specific deficiencies of the student.
  • qualifying examinations
  • comprehensive examination
  • thesis defense
  • If the need arises, the advisory committee will set the residency requirement of a student as is appropriate.


  • Honours Baccalaureate (or equivalent) from a college or university of acceptable standing, and equivalent to the degree at this university with a specialization in Biochemistry or related discipline.

Degree Requirements

GSR 960.0 and GSR 961.0 or GSR 962.0 if research involves human or animal subjects.

  • BIOC 990.0
  • BIOC 994.0
  • Thesis defense
  • The normal requirement is that residency at the U of S is expected for the duration of the graduate program. If the need arises, the advisory committee will set the residency requirement of a student as is appropriate.

Step by Step Application

  1. If you intend to apply to graduate school here, it is absolutely required for you to first find afaculty member in our department who will agree in advance to being your research supervisor.  Please contact those individuals who you have an interest in working for as a graduate student.

  2. Check the Admission Requirements & Deadlines.  Note that the Department of Biochemistry no longer offers the PGSD.

  3. Once you have identified a faculty member who is willing to be your supervisor, you will have to formally apply to the graduate program through the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The graduate studies application fee is $90 and is NOT refundable.  Completion of the College of Graduate Studies and Research online application form requires original academic transcripts and formal proof of English proficiency to be supplied. 

  4. What you will need to complete your online application:

Your personal information, educational history (including dates and grades from schools attended), and the correct title of the program to which you are applying, and the names, positions and email addresses of your references.  If the three reference letters are not filled out using the GSR 101 form, your application will be deemed incomplete and will not be processed further.

A valid e-mail address.Visa or MasterCard for online payment of $90 application fee. This is non-refundable and your application will not be considered complete until the fee is paid. If you are unable to complete your credit card payment during your application, you can submit a Credit Card Payment Form The Credit Card Payment Form can be faxed to 306-966-5756, or scanned as a pdf attachment and e-mailed to CGSR Admissions Officer, or mailed to the address below. If you do not have access to a credit card, the $90 fee may be paid in Canadian dollars by cheque, money order or bank draft, payable to “College of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Saskatchewan". Payment can be mailed to: College of Graduate Studies, 105 Administration Place, Saskatoon SK, Canada S7N 5A2.

In addition to completing your online application, you must:
  • Arrange for your official transcripts to be sent to the program by your past post-secondary institution(s). Addresses for all programs can be found here. If your current degree is still in progress, you will need to arrange for your official final transcripts showing the awarding of your degree to be sent to your program.
  • Copies of transcripts are not acceptable as final admission documents, unless they have also been verified and stamped by your issuing institution.
  • Have your official English test results sent to program from the testing site. This is only for students who are not native English speakers.
  • Send any other required documentation to the department.  You will be sent an email notifying you that the College of Graduate Studies and Research has received your application. After you receive this, you may log back into the online application to view a complete list of documentation and tasks that you need to complete to be admitted. Follow these instructions and contact the department if you have any questions.
  • There is no formal deadline date for applications to graduate studies in Biochemistry at the U of S, as we accept applications year-round.  We also DO NOT require the GRE.
  • CGSR Awards Database

Search here for the most up to date information on awards plus externally administered awards that a graduate student may qualify for:grad.usask.ca/awards/index.html.

  • These awards will be offered to students who have outstanding academic records, show research promise and are registering for the first time in a thesis or dissertation-based graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan.Dean's Scholarship Program


  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships

GTA holders provide service in the form of demonstrating, instructing, marking, etc. GTA offers are made by departments and colleges in which graduate programs are offered.

  • Graduate Teaching Fellowships

GTF holders provide service in the form of demonstrating, leading tutorials, teaching, marking, etc. up to 12 hours per week for the September to April period. GTF awards are allocated by departments and colleges in which graduate programs are offered.

Dr. Ramji Khandelwal, Graduate Chair

Email: ramji.khandelwal@usask.caPhone: 306 966 4368

3D30.2 Health Sciences
107 Wiggins Rd, Saskatoon SK
Saskatoon SK S7N 5E5

Contact Us

Dr. Bill Roesler, Department Head
Email: bill.roesler@usask.ca
Phone: 306 966 4375
2D01.9 HLTH

Kyle Anderson, Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Affairs Chair
Email: kyle.anderson@usask.ca
Phone: 306 966 1244
3D30.1 HLTH

Margaret Strohan, Graduate Secretary
Email: margaret.strohan@usask.ca
Phone: 306 966 6379
Fax: 306 966 4298
2D01, Health Sciences