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Welcome from the Chairman

I welcome you to the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait. In the Department, energetic academic members, support staff and graduate students participate in various activities and programs in research and education. Our faculty members are actively pursuing research related to the Metabolism, Oncology, Signal transduction, Membrane transport, Inflammation and Oxidative stress, and Lipid-steroid biochemistry to investigate basic mechanisms related to pathogenesis of diseases, and development of therapeutics.

The Department of Biochemistry actively participates in Biochemistry teaching and design of the current PBL-based undergraduate Medical and Dental curriculum, and also provide a leading role in teaching of Year-1 Pre-professional program of Health Sciences Center. The Department also runs a Biochemistry graduate program, and contributes to teaching and research supervision in other graduate programs including those in Molecular Biology, Physiology and Anatomy. Advanced training in our department includes graduate student research projects in various disciplines listed above which utilize Molecular biology and Cell biology.

The Department is equipped with state of the art facilities including a tissue culture facility, Capillary sequencer, DNA synthesizer and GC/LC-mass spectrometry instruments which facilitate study of life and disease processes at the molecular level.

I invite you to visit us and the research facilities in the Department. If you are considering advancing your education as a prospective graduate student, please read more about graduate program (below) and feel free to contact us at any time.

Islam Khan, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman


An underlying philosophy of Biochemistry is that “structure dictates function”. Biochemistry therefore focuses on study of the structure of biomolecules and other chemical substances and molecular processes that are intrinsic and essential features of living organisms. Biochemistry has profound relevance to all areas of Medical Science. Reflecting this importance, the Biochemistry Department has multiple responsibilities in the education of medical students including teaching in the Phase-I Year-1 Pre-professional Chemistry and Biology courses, Phase-2 Year-2 Foundation Biochemistry course, Phase-2 Year-3 and -4 higher level undergraduate biochemical topics in Organ System courses, elective courses, and selected biochemistry topics in the Phase-3 Medical Program. The Department also offers a M.Sc. Program in (medical) Biochemistry and participates in teaching the University-based M.Sc. Program in Molecular Biology and teaches topics in oral biochemistry for the Faculty of Dentistry.

Department staff members engage in research investigations in their areas of expertise and publish high quality research articles and abstracts. They also provide local hospitals with specialized clinical diagnostic services in the areas of inborn errors and chromosome disorders.

The Department currently has nine academic staff and fourteen support staff members including two teaching assistants. In addition to a common background in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the academic staff members have strengths in the areas of diabetic mechanisms, free radicals, colitis and digestive systems, RNA and gene expression, oncogenes and cancer treatments, membrane proteins and enzymes, and cholesterol and steroid hormones.

The vision of the Department is to develop as a center of excellence for teaching and research in Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and to provide a focus for development and application of advanced technologies for biochemical investigations of medical problems.


The aim of the Department is to instill among medical students a positive learning attitude to existing and new findings of biochemistry and molecular biology, through open-minded but critical thinking. This will facilitate their comprehension of the interrelationships between biochemistry and other medical disciplines, with a view to integrating and applying this knowledge to healthcare. A long-term objective is to foster a consistent spirit of self-improvement among students to understand and apply modern knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology to achieve their professional goals as practicing physicians or a medical scientists.


Education in biochemistry and molecular biology is an integral component of the undergraduate medical program; at the completion of the program these elements will have prepared the medical student be able to demonstrate:

  • Ability to apply biochemical principles to interpret and explain pathogenesis and manifestations of diseases;
  • Comprehension of membrane structure and function, with reference to cell compart mentation and homeostasis;
  • Understanding of protein structures and their relationships with enzymatic reactions and cellular functions;
  • Recognition of homeostatic dynamics through the concepts underlying inter-regulation of carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid metabolism, and human nutrition;
  • Understanding of current theories of the structure-activity relationships of nucleic acids, mechanisms of gene regulation, and principles of molecular biology and application of these principles in understanding normal and abnormal cellular activities;
  • Rational application of basic knowledge of protein synthesis, post-translational modification and targeting of proteins to their cellular destinations in the body;
  • Comprehensive understanding of basic principles of hormonal functions and intracellular signal transduction systems;
  • Knowledge of basic chemical constituents of biological fluids in health and disease, with the ability to recommend relevant and cost-effective investigations for their application in clinical diagnosis; /li>
  • Problem-solving ability in the application of biochemical knowledge to assess and improve human nutritional status , health promotion and disease prevention in the community;
  • Commitment to personal responsibilities for professional ethics and health and environmental protection.


The Biochemistry Department offers a 2-year, full-time, thesis-based MSc degree for candidates entering with a BSc degree in a wide variety of disciplines including Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology and other health-related Sciences.


The Program is focused on producing well-trained and highly skilled graduates who can contribute in teaching, clinical research and diagnostic services in clinics and hospitals in the State of Kuwait. Graduates are equipped with necessary scientific knowledge and research skills coupled with competencies in scientific writing and ‘hands-on’ experience of techniques commonly used in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology to facilitate their stepping into further postgraduate studies leading to the award of PhD degree.

Admission requirements

Applicants should have a 4-year bachelor degree from a recognized University with a 2.67 minimum grade average (on a scale of 4), and are required to submit a TOEFL score of minimum 500. Candidates fulfilling these requirements shall attend an interview which is conducted by the Graduate Program Committee, Biochemistry Department. A successful candidate is then approved by the Graduate Program Committee for admission. The candidates who are interested in joining the graduate program are encouraged to contact the College of Graduate Studies, Kuwait University well in advanced for application process.

Graduation requirements

The candidates are required to complete: 1. Twenty one credit-hours of course work that include 19 credit hours of compulsory courses, and 2 credit-hours elective course with minimum 3.0 GPA; 2. Successful completion of thesis work under a supervisor. For a graduate student to remain in the program, and to register for thesis work he/she must maintain a minimum 2.67 GPA. For the award of MSc degree in Biochemistry however a student is required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA together with a satisfactory report from an external peer referee on the thesis.

Thesis work

Thesis research is mandatory for this graduate program, A student who maintains a minimum 2.67 GPA may register for thesis research. A topic is assigned to the student who has to perform research work under the guidance of a faculty member as supervisor. In appropriate circumstances, a student may also be assigned a co-supervisor. Findings are presented in the form of a thesis which is evaluated by an external (overseas) expert peer reviewer, and a report is received. The candidate then has to describe his/her findings in a public presentation and defend the Thesis to an internal Examination Committee. The Examination Committee, after taking all aspects of student’s performance, report on thesis and recommendations from external reviewer submits a recommendation regarding the award of MSc degree to the College of Graduate Studies.

Research areas in the department

The Department provides opportunities for students to pursue research topics in the following major scientific areas:

  1. Ion transport in health and diseases
  2. Inflammation and oxidative stress
  3. Lipid Biochemistry
  4. Membrane Biochemistry
  5. Nutrition
  6. Oncology
  7. Purine Metabolism

Graduate program administration

The program is run by the Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Medicine, under the control of the Program Director who is assisted by Program Committee (below) which consists of four members, including the Program Director.

The Program Committee conducts and administers the Program in accord with the guidelines, bylaws and other stipulations made by the College of Graduate Studies, Kuwait University.

Committee Members (2012 - 2013)

1. Dr. James Craik, Program Director
2. Prof. Ludmil Benov, member
3. Prof. Moussa Alkhalaf, member
4. Dr. Aishah Al-Jarallah, member

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