Welcome Biochemistry Alumni! We hope you enjoy your lifetime membership in the Hokie Nation and return to Virginia Tech and Biochemistry to be of service to those who come after you.
We are thankful for the support that our alumni give us. If you are interested in staying connected, getting involved, and keeping in touch with the department, view these options below and reach out to Biswarup Mukhopadhyay for next steps.
Our developing Advisory Board is helping us to enhance career opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students in the department. Email our Interim Department Head, Peter Kennelly, if you're interested in sharing your expertise and serving on our board.
Share your career insights with students in our Undergraduate Careers class. You can participate from anywhere in the world! All you need is an internet connection. Contact our undergraduate advisor, Amy Rasor, if you're interested.
Make sure we have your up to date contact information so you don't miss Virginia Tech news and events. Sharing changes is quick and easy. Visit the Alumni Relations Hokie Portal to submit your updated information. If you are having difficulties with process, you can also email your updates to email@example.com. Make sure you include your full name and class year.
Join us for our Biochemistry Seminar Series! Every Monday at 4 PM ET, our Department hosts a biochemistry seminar, and we have transitioned online in response to the pandemic. If you'd like to attend, please reach out to our Academic Program Coordinator, Lisa Jones, to be added to our Canvas site to have access to all of our seminars. If you'd like to host a seminar and talk about careers or discuss other professional development topics, contact professor Biswarup Muhkopadhyay.
Meet our Current Advisory Board
Jenna Hess Brown
Careers & Featured Biochemistry Alumni
Our B.S. Biochemistry degree program is accredited by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). The department gives a certification exam each year so that students can earn a certified degree from the ASBMB, which is a valuable credential for students as they embark upon their careers. The careers listed in this word cloud were highlighted by ASBMB as career paths for biochemists. While many of our alumni have become medical doctors, veterinarians, or have earned a PhD, there are also many who are working in the chemical or biotechnology industry, or in a variety of other careers.
Click below to view a sample of VT-Biochem alumni who have diverse careers. All of these individuals started with a B.S. in Biochemistry.
- Amy Adams, Clinical Project Manager at Leidos Health
- David Ackerman, DVM, Veterinarian
- Virginia Ackerman, Principle Consultant, Custom Regulatory Services (Bioregulatory affairs)
- Jim Buckmaster, CEO Craigslist
- Ryan Burnette, PhD, Director, Biosafety & Biosecurity Programs
- Bil Clemons, Professor of Biochemistry, Cal Tech
- Patricia Erickson, PhD, Professor of Biology, Salisbury University
- Ray Hetherington, Technical Service Manager at Hexpol Compounding
- Chase Hetzel, Management Consultant, Huron
- Rachel Kerwin, PhD, Postdoc at Michigan State University working on plant specialized metabolism
- Sierra Suarez Friend, Intern at Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy Intern at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
- Pyae Hein, PhD, Scientist, Dragonfly Therapeutics
- Adrienne Helbock, Forensic Chemist
- Ray Miller, Senior Global Product Manager at GenScript
- Steven Murphy, D. O., Orthopedic surgeon
- Jamille Robinson, M.S., Product Formulator and Owner at Phoenix Deep Rooted LLC
- Nathan Saucier, MD, Interventional Nephrologist
- Tyler Stewart, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
- Julie Ta, Business Operations Leader, Genentech
- Christina Tise, MD, Stanford Medical Genetics Residency program
- Anh Tran, Senior Research Associate at Novozymes Biologicals, Inc.
- Molly Wilson, CALS Recruiting Coordinator, Virginia Tech
- Marcus Wilson, Pharm D., Co-Founder and President of Health Core
- Anita Yang, PharmD Candidate at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Dr. Bil Clemons attended Virginia Tech in 1995 as an undergraduate where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, he was able to gain research experience in the lab of Dr. Walt Niehaus working on enzymes from Cryptococcus. Dr. Clemons attributes the fundamental training that he received in our department to his preparedness for graduate school which allowed him to thrive. During his graduate work, his work contributed to the solving of the first atomic resolution structure of a small ribosomal subunit.
Currently, Dr. Celmons is a Professor of Biochemistry in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. His lab has three major focuses: (1) the exploration of all aspects of the tail-anchored protein targeting pathway through structural characterization the proteins involved in both yeast and the more complicated human systems, (2) understanding the connection between the amino-acid and nucleotide sequence of an integral membrane and its expression level, and (3) researching chemical reactions that involve glycans at the membrane, specifically peptidoglycan biosynthesis and N-linked glycosylation.
Dr. Clemons says this of his time at Virginia Tech, “Biochemistry at Virginia Tech prepared me with a strong foundation in the tools I would need to pursue a successful academic career. Being a Hokie is central to my identity and I’m proud to wear my colors worldwide. I’m extremely grateful for the dedication the faculty showed to inspire and support my budding ambitions.”
Mr. Wyatt Chocklett graduated from Virginia Tech with a Masters in Biochemistry in 2009 from the lab of Dr. Pablo Sobrado. While at Virginia Tech, he received the 2009 Virginia Academy of Science Award for Outstanding Student Research, the 2009 James F. Earhart Scholarship to present at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, as well as contributed to two publications in ACS Biochemistry and Proteins & Proteomics. After Virginia Tech, Mr. Chocklett pursued a MBA from Wake Forest University. His current position is the Chief Operating Officer at the Doctors Hospital of Sarasota in Florida.
Mr. Chocklett describes his experiences at Virginia Tech, “My experience at VT challenged me in many ways and has been invaluable to my career. I was challenged to completely immerse myself in the subject. I was able to pursue research that interested me, while also being exposed to world class faculty and facilities. I learned how to critically think, manage my time and priorities, and work in teams. Most importantly, I learned how to communicate to a variety of audiences in a way that was meaningful, yet easy to understand. After a few bumps my first year, I dedicated myself to helping launch the study of flavin monooxygenases in the Sobrado laboratory. Soon after my second year, Dr. Sobrado encouraged me to follow my passion and helped prepare me for business school. I'm truly grateful for the exposure and support I received in just a few years at VT.”
Ryan Burnette (’99 B.S., ’04 Ph.D.) is the Vice President of the Life Sciences department at Merrick & Company. As a biochemistry graduate, he's been able to get involved in influential projects around the world for the last 15 years, including during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
""I recently led a team to help execute the rapid conversion of a drug production that was approaching demolition into the major production site for a COVID-19 vaccine production facility as part of Operation Warp Speed. In 77 days, we went from an old building to stockpiling vaccines for distribution throughout the U.S,” Burnette said.
Kendra Jacomo ('11 B.S.) is a Senior Research Associate at Moderna, Inc.
"My time at Virginia Tech prepared me for the challenging yet rewarding career I have working for Moderna.
Ut Prosim is a motto that Virginia Tech instilled in me and I live it each day by helping to serve the world with therapeutics. It's times like these that make my career feel that much more meaningful as I can see the impact I'm having in the world," Jacomo said.