What is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry is the part of science concerned with the chemistry of living organisms. It stands at the crossroads between physical science (chemistry and physics) and life sciences (botany, zoology, microbiology, and genetics).
Biochemistry is the study of the structure and behaviour of the complex molecules found in living organisms and the interaction of these molecules to form cells, tissues and whole organisms. Exciting new fields such as molecular biology, bioengineering, and bioinformatics are part of modern biochemistry.

What do Biochemists do?

Biochemists work at unravelling the complex chemical reactions that form the basis of life. Topics studied by Biochemists include biological processes such as cell development and cell growth as well as the chemical basis for inheritance and disease. The roles of specific molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, vitamins, and hormones in specific biological processes are investigated. The knowledge gained and methods developed by biochemists are applied in medicine, agriculture, food production, and in many chemical and health-related industries.


The South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biochemical Society (UK)
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS)
The  International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB)

Biochemistry Lecturers


Dr Frans O'Neill

Dr Frans O'Neill

Programme Director
+27 51 401 7553

Prof Trudi O'Neill

Prof Trudi O'Neill

+27 51 401 2122

Prof Dirk Opperman

Prof Dirk Opperman

+27 51 401 2714

Prof Osthoff 2 (2)

Prof Gary Osthoff

+27 51 401 2216

Prof Martie Smit

Prof Martie Smit

Academic Head of Department
+27 51 401 2219

Dr Gabre Kemp

Dr Gabré Kemp

+27 51 401 7464

Precious Letebe

Precious Letebele

+27 51 401

Dr Carmien Tolmie

Dr Carmien Tolmie

+27 51 401 2396

Leon du Preez

Dr Leon du Preez

+27 51 401 2472


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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