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Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology Program

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Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology Program

Gilmore 211
3050 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822-2279
Tel: (808) 956-6997
Fax: (808) 956-3706
Email: acadaff@ctahr.hawaii.edu
Web: www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/MBB.aspx

Participating Faculty

H. Ako, PhD (Coordinator)—biochemistry, aquaculture
A. M. Alvarez, PhD—bacterial diseases
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
E. S. Ken, PhD—bioremediation, bioenergy
C. M. Kinoshita, PhD—bioremediation
P. S. Leung, PhD—biotechnology economics
Q. Li, PhD—environmental biochemistry
R. M. Manshardt, PhD—tropical fruit breeding and genetics
P. Nerurkar, PhD—metabolic disorders, signal transduction, alternative medicine
G. Presting, PhD—plant genomics, bioinformatics
H. Spafford, PhD—insect biology and conservation
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

Program Goals

  • 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.

Among 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
  • NREM 310
In addition, students must complete the following major core requirements:
  • MBBE/BIOL 304
  • ANSC 446 or PEPS/TPSS 371 or BIOL 375
  • MBBE/BIOL 401
  • MBBE 402
  • MBBE/BIOL 408
  • MBBE 483
  • MBBE 499


Students are required to take 18 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:

  • BE 150 Introduction to Biological Engineering
  • BE 373 Transport Phenomena
  • BE 410 Biomass Conversion to Biofuels and Bioenergy
  • BE 420 Sensors and Instrumentation for Biological Systems
  • BE 431 Environmental Biotechnology
  • BE 440 Bioremediation Principles and Practices
  • BIOL 407 Molecular Cell Biology I
  • BIOL 408 Molecular Cell Biology II
  • BOT 101/101L General Botany
  • BOT 470/470L Plant Physiology
  • CHEM 273/273L Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • MICR 351/351L Biology of Microbes
  • MICR 461 Immunology
  • MICR 475 Bacterial Genetics
  • MICR 485/485L Microbes in the Environment
  • MBBE 412 Environmental Biochemistry
  • PEPS 363 General Entomology
  • PEPS 405 Plant Pathogens and Disease
  • PEPS 421 Foundations of Pest Management
  • PEPS 422 Biocontrol of Invasive Species
  • TPSS 453 Plant Breeding
  • TPSS 440 Tissue Culture and Transformation
  • ZOOL 320/320L Vertebrate Zoology

MBBE Courses

PEPS Courses