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, plant response to heat stress, protein folding
Z. Du, PhD—biochemistry and molecular biology
J. S. Hu, PhD—transgenetic disease resistance
D. Jenkins, PhD—biosensors
N. Jiang, PhD—biochemistry and specialized metabolism in plants
Q. Li, PhD—environmental biochemistry
P. V. Nerurkar, PhD—metabolic disorders and alternative medicine, signal transduction and gene regulation, gut microbiome, metabolomics, nanotechnological applicatio n in agriculture and health science
G. Presting, PhD—plant genomics, bioinformatics
W. W. Su, PhD—cell culture, biochemical engineering
J. Yang, PhD—animal molecular biology and biotechnology

Degrees Offered: BS in molecular biosciences and biotechnology

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand fundamental core science concepts and have the ability to apply their knowledge in the field of biotechnology.
  2. Have the knowledge and core sets of skills that span across basic Sciences and biotechnology, and Mathematics portions of (STEM) education.
  3. Understand and be able to identify ethical issues and social impacts associated with biotechnology, and practice ethical standards of integrity, honesty, and fairness in scientific practices and professional conduct.
  4. Can communicate orally and in writing in a clear, well-organized manner that effectively informs and clarifies scientific principles and lab techniques to others.
  5. Are able to solve problems using hypothesis development and experimental methods on biological systems.
  6. Are well prepared for employment in the critically important and dynamic biotechnology industry

The Academic Program

The Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology (MBB) program emphasizes education and training in biotechnology, one of the most rapidly growing areas of science. The cuttingedge tools of molecular biology, bioinformatics, genomics, genetics, cell biology, tissue culture, and biochemistry are transforming the environmental, medical, and agricultural sciences. In the field of biotechnology, these bioscience tools are harnessed to make products and solve problems faced by society. This field of study finds solutions to our most pressing problems in agriculture, the environment and medicine.

Students undertake a rigorous curriculum followed by handson research experiences during their senior year. The MBB program strives to offer a diversity of exciting opportunities that propel student success after graduation and in their future careers. It provides a strong foundation in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, and the life sciences. The MBB degree gives students an edge when competing for jobs or admission to professional and medical schools.

Students tailor their studies to meet their interests by choosing electives and senior research projects. Students participate in hands-on laboratory work culminating in research and a senior thesis. A sampling of senior research topics includes the following: environmental and microbial, plant, mammalian, insect and pathogen, and aquaculture and bioreactor biotechnologies. 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. For more information on MBB, please visit:

Undergraduate Study

BS in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology


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

The courses they must include in these requirements are:

  • PHYS 100/100L or 151/151L and 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 21 credits of MBB 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/Lab
  • BIOL 375 Genetics
  • 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 Organic Chemistry II/Lab
  • CHEM 372 Bioorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 461 Physical Biochemistry
  • MEDT 331 Clinical Lab Management
  • MBBE 375 Essential Biochemistry
  • MBBE 402L Principles of Biochemistry Lab
  • MBBE/BIOL 408 Molecular Cellular Biology II
  • MBBE 412 Environmental Biochemistry
  • MBBE 451 Synthetic Biology
  • MICR 351/351L Biology of Microorganisms/Lab
  • MICR 461/461L Immunology/Lab
  • MICR 463 Microbiology of Pathogens
  • 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
  • PHYL 142 Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • PHYL 301 Advanced 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/Principles of Plant Physiology Lab
  • TRMD 431 Principles of Medical Parasitology
  • ZOOL 101 Principles of Zoology
  • ZOOL 442 Introduction to Neuroscience