Agricultural Science 218
1955 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822-2279
Tel: (808) 956-8384
Fax: (808) 956-3542

Participating Faculty

J. P. Bingham, PhD—peptide biochemistry
D. Borthakur, PhD—molecular genetics of bacteria and their interactions with plants
D. A. Christopher, PhD—plant molecular biology, regulation of gene expression
J. S. Hu, PhD—transgenetic disease resistance
D. Jenkins, PhD—biosensors
C. M. Kinoshita, PhD—bioremediation
Q. Li, PhD—environmental biochemistry
R. M. Manshardt, PhD—tropical fruit breeding and genetics
P. Nerurkar, PhD—metabolic disorders, signal transduction, alternative medicine
D. Owens, PhD—plant biochemistry, enzymology, plant natural products
G. Presting, PhD—plant genomics, bioinformatics
W. W. Su, PhD—cell culture, biochemical engineering
A. Wieczorek, PhD—molecular systematics, public education on biotechnology
J. Yang, PhD—animal molecular biology and biotechnology
J. Zhu, PhD—plant and biotechnology transformation biotechnology

Degrees Offered: BS in molecular biosciences and biotechnology

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand fundamental core science concepts and ability to apply their knowledge in the field of biotechnology;
  • Have the knowledge and core sets of skills that span across basic sciences and biotechnology, and mathematics portions of (STEM) education;
  • Understand and identify ethical issues and social impacts associated with biotechnology, and practice ethical standards of integrity, honesty, and fairness in scientific practices and professional conduct;
  • Communicate orally and in writing in a clear, well-organized manner that effectively informs and clarifies scientific principles and lab techniques to others;
  • Able to solve problems using hypothesis development and experimental methods on biological systems; and
  • Well prepared for employment in the critically important and dynamic biotechnology industry.

The Academic Program

Biotechnology is dramatically influencing the agricultural, environmental, and pharmaceutical sciences. Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology (MBB) is an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program designed to educate students in the exciting and growing field of biotechnology, which promises to be a predominant science of the 21st century. MBB graduates will be qualified for employment in agricultural, pharmaceutical, environmental clean-up, forensics, and biotechnology industries; to work in government agencies, environmental groups, and consulting forms; to teach secondary education, or to embark on graduate studies to prepare for advanced research and teaching positions.

The program provides a thorough foundation in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, and the life sciences. It serves as excellent and rigorous training for graduate and professional school.

Students tailor their studies to meet their interests by choosing electives, senior research projects, and a laboratory in the following subjects: environmental and microbial biotechnology, plant biotechnology, insect and pathogen biotechnology, and aquaculture and bioreactor biotechnology. Students participate in hands-on laboratory work culminating in research and a senior thesis. Graduates are competent for employment using modern methods such as molecular diagnostics, forensics, tissue culture, genetic engineering, microbial detection, bioremediation, algal bioenergy, marine biotechnology, proteomic, bioinformatic, and genomic analyses. They will have the skills for employment in the burgeoning biotechnology industry and for entering graduate or professional school.

Undergraduate Study

BS in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology


Students must fulfill the General Education Requirements of UH Manoa and the college.

The courses they must include in these requirements are:

  • PHYS 100/100L or 151/151L; 152/152L
  • CHEM 161/161L; 162/162L; 272/272L
  • BIOL 171/171L; 172/172L; 275/275L
  • MATH 215 or 241
  • NREM 220 or ECON 130
  • NREM 310

In addition, students must complete the following major core requirements:

  • MBBE/BIOL 304
  • MBBE/BIOL 401
  • MBBE 402
  • MBBE 483
  • MBBE 499


Students are required to take 24 credits of electives in the various sciences related to their interests in the environment, animals, microbiology, plants, the health sciences, crop protection, or aquaculture. The following are the approved list of electives:

  • ANSC 445 Genetics and Animal Breeding
  • ANSC 446 Genes and Animal Biology
  • ANSC/OCN 450 Aquaculture Production
  • BE 150 Introduction to Biological Engineering
  • BE 260 Mass and Energy Balances
  • BE 373 Transport Phenomena
  • BE 410 Biomass Conversion to Biofuels and Bioenergy
  • BE/FSHN 411 Food Engineering
  • BE 420 Sensors and Instrumentation for Biological Systems
  • BE 431 Environmental Biotechnology
  • BE 440 Bioremediation Principles and Practices
  • BIOL 325/325L Biology of the Vertebrates
  • BIOL 375/375L Genetics/Lab
  • BIOL 407 Molecular Cell Biology I
  • BIOL/MCB 472 The Biology of Cancer
  • BOT 101/101L General Botany/Lab
  • BOT 420 Plant Form and Function
  • CHEM 273/273L Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 361 Physical Biochemistry
  • CHEM 372 Bioorganic Chemistry
  • MBBE 375 Essential Biochemistry
  • MBBE 402L Principles of Biochemistry Lab
  • MBBE/BIOL 408 Molecular Cellular Biology II
  • MBBE 412 Environmental Biochemistry
  • MICR 351/351L Biology of Microbes
  • MICR 461/461L Immunology/Lab
  • MICR 470 Bacterial Molecular Pathogenesis
  • MICR 475/475L Bacterial Genetics/Lab
  • MICR 485/485L Microbes and Their Environment/Lab
  • MICR 490 Virology
  • PHRM 201 Introduction to General Pharmacology
  • PHRM 203 General Pharmacology
  • PHYL 141 Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • PEPS 363 General Entomology
  • PEPS 371 Genetics: Theory to Application
  • PEPS 405 Plant Pathogens and Disease
  • PEPS 410 Sustainable Soil and Plant Health Management
  • PEPS 421 Foundations of Pest Management
  • PEPS 422 Biocontrol of Invasive Species
  • PEPS 430 Plant Disease Management
  • TPSS 440 Tissue Culture/Transformation
  • TPSS 453 Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • TPSS 470/470L Plant Physiology
  • TRMD 431 Principles of Medical Parasitology
  • ZOOL 101 Principles of Zoology
  • ZOOL 442 Introduction to Neuroscience