But studies at the interface of biology and chemistry had already begun in the middle of the 19th century.In 1877, Felix Hoppe-Seyler, a German chemist and physiologist, edited the first biochemical journal .This spawned a new phase in biochemical research: the isolation and physico-chemical characterization of enzymes.
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At the time, chemistry was located in the old Sanders Chemistry Building and biology was in New England Building.
In 1973, biology relocated to Olmsted Hall of the Biological Sciences, and in 1984 chemistry moved to the Seeley G. While interdepartmental in organization, the Biochemistry Program was multidisciplinary, requiring course work in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.
Programs in biochemistry first appeared in universities and medical schools and, prior to the 1980s, it was rare to find biochemistry programs in undergraduate institutions.
Anne Gounaris from chemistry and Anita Zorzoli from biology started the Biochemistry Program at Vassar in 1968/69, and the program was among the first to be offered by an undergraduate institution.Boyer reported that Beloit College was rumored to be one of the first undergraduate programs; however, Beloit’s biochemistry program was started in 1977, nine years after Vassar’s. Ellis came to Vassar in 1930 with a Ph D in chemistry from the University of Illinois.Her research was on essential amino acids, which she began in William C. Rose was an early biochemist who established the importance of amino acids in human nutrition and discovered the essential amino acids.In the foreword to the inaugural issue, he first used the term biochemistry.His research and this journal focused the early work of biochemists on chemical analysis of biological tissues and fluids.In the early 1920s, Mary Landon Sague had developed a course titled .Sague was a Vassar institution, teaching in the Chemistry Department for 44 years.At the January 1968 meeting of the faculty the biochemistry program was approved.This new program, the first multidisciplinary program at Vassar since Euthenics, didn’t seem to draw much attention in the that year probably because of other more pressing issues like the Vietnam War, a proposed marriage with Yale, coeducation, drug use, parietals, a boycott of California grapes, and registration of male students.The course requirements were numerous and spread out over several disciplines: biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.This interdepartmental program was one of the first biochemistry programs offered by an undergraduate institution.