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"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." 


Su Li Lee
recently finished her Psy.D. at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA.  She is currently Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Training at IPS.  You can visit her website here.

Su Li Lee graduated from AMU in 2006 with degrees in Biology and Philosophy and was the class valedictorian.
From the Peliska lab:
  Dr. Peliska's postdoctoral mentor, Dr. Stephen Benkovic of Penn State University recently received the National Medal of Science.  This is the highest award given by the US government (administered through the National  Science Foundation) recognizing individuals for their important contributions to science and society.
     Steve also received the 2011 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences which is  "
Awarded for innovative research in the chemical sciences that in the broadest sense contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity."    
     Congratulations to this outstanding scientist!  You can watch a brief video about his accomplishments here.


The Biochemistry Major will begin offering its first set of modules next semester (BICM 415):
Organic Chemistry and Mechanism of Enzyme Action.
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of HIV.

Dr. Peliska will be teaching both courses.

Students and Graduates

Joe Embry (2013) will be studying veterinary medicine at Texas A&M.  Joe was accepted into three schools of veterinary medicine.

David Hallenbeck (2013) was accepted into dental school at NYU.

Levi Embry (2012) is enrolled in Oklahoma State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Monica Walstein (2012), class valedictorian, is attending medical school at Creighton University School of Medicine.

Duy Nguyen (2012), finalist in the AMU President's award is attending medical school at St. George's University School of Medicine in England. 

Erica Derks (2012) is enrolled in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Maine.

Andrea Suazo (2012) is attending medical school at UNIBE Costa Rica school of medicine.

Mthabisi Moyo (2011) is pursuing his Ph.D at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Makandiwana Shoniwa (2011)
is pursuing her Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  She was accepted into medical school for the upcoming year.

Matthew Mullally (2011)
is attending the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry.

Josephine Vowels (2011)
is attending law school at the Catholic University of America.

Caroline Pierotti (2010) is studying nursing at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

William Guarno (2010) teaches high school science in Estero, Florida.

Andrew Mullally (2009) is attending the Michigan State College of Human Medicine MD program.   

Phillip Buckley(2009) is attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry starting in the fall.  He is a recipient of a prestigious  US Army Dental Health Professions Scholarship.

Dan Ade (2009) is attending Indiana School of Dentistry.

Laura Ascenzo (2009)
is an engineer at Newell Rubbermaid.

Anthony Jay(2008), is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry ay Boston University. 

Mary Selkey (2008) works at Allergan in Waco Texas.

Joreen Belocura (2008) attended AMU School of Law.

Rebecca Moses (2007) attended West Virginia School of Medicine.

Su Li Lee (2006), received her doctorate in clinical psychology and is currently a faculty member at IPS in Washington D.C.

Michelle Winter (2006) received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Kaitlyn Tutwiler (2006) received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

Jacob Blanchard (2006) is finishing his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Western Michigan University.

The Department of Biology and Chemistry is pleased to announce the introduction of a new Biochemistry major.  Chemistry and biology have long been considered separate disciplines, each applying its own technology and method to solve problems within their respective fields.  The boundaries between the chemical and biological sciences are rapidly dissolving as scientists increasingly use chemical tools and concepts to explore mechanism, structure and function in complex biological systems at the biochemical, genetic and organismal level.  Interdisciplinary approaches toward tackling important biological problems are the hallmark of science in the 21st century.

Along with these interdisciplinary challenges comes need to expose the student and future scientist to a broad background in chemistry, biophysics, genetics and molecular biology. The Biochemistry major at AMU will provide this rigorous and modern introduction to the chemical and biochemical sciences in an environment that incorporates both classroom teaching and independent research.  Together, these pedagogical strategies foster the development of independent thinking skills, complex problem solving skills, and the technical skills characteristic of the effective scientist. 

Broadly, our goal is to provide pre-professional training to those interested in pursuing graduate studies or embarking on a career in the biological, chemical or medical sciences.  Graduates should be highly competitive in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology marketplace.  In this regard, we can point to our already strong record in placing Biology graduates in top-tier graduate, medical school, dental school programs and industry/ academic research positions.  While this is an important practical goal, we also recognize that the natural and chemical sciences are not simply technological disciplines, but are truly liberal arts with which we seek to know truth for its own sake.
 Fostering a proper appreciation of the role the sciences play in our understanding the world around us, while providing students with the practical skills for a future career is at the heart of our educational philosophy.  

The program faculty are dedicated teachers and scholars, each with their own independent research programs in areas such as mechanistic enzymology, drug discovery and design, the development of artificial protein receptors, and vesicle transport.  Serious students are provided with the opportunity to participate in these research efforts alongside the faculty mentor.  The department is well equipped to handle the demanding needs of the teaching and research labs.  Students are exposed to hands-on experience of leading edge techniques in the biochemical sciences such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and capillary gas chromatography as well as modern methods in areas like protein purification, molecular biology, organic synthesis and computer modeling.  

Please browse our website and see what opportunities are available to you in the Biochemistry major at Ave Maria University.  If you have any questions concerning our program, or would like to visit our labs, feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.

James A. Peliska, Ph.D.
Department of Biology and Chemistry
Biochemistry Program Director




Department of Biology and Chemistry
Ave Maria University
5050 Ave Maria Boulevard
Ave Maria,  FL  34142