On Thursday, September 14, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) approved a new degree program to be offered by the newly realigned Purdue University Fort Wayne (pending anticipated HLC approval of the IPFW realignment). The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry will be available for students beginning the fall 2018 semester.

“We are proud to bring this new degree option in Biochemistry to IPFW and the greater Fort Wayne region,” said Eric Link, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “This degree will provide students who wish to go to medical school, or who wish to focus their study of chemistry on the chemical foundations of life itself, with a degree pathway. With an array of interesting and challenging classes taught by exceptional faculty, we believe that the metropolitan region will truly benefit from having this biochemistry degree option right here in Fort Wayne.”

Purdue Fort Wayne will be the only university in northeast Indiana to offer the B.S. in Biochemistry. The creation of this degree program arose from the needs of the state’s life sciences sector, specifically medical device companies located in the northern Indiana region, including Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Micropulse, and Paragon Medical. Medical device suppliers in the region, including C&A Tool Engineering and Fort Wayne Metals, would also benefit. By offering this new degree program, both recruiting and retention will be easier for these companies as they will have direct access to locally produced talent.

“The new biochemistry degree sends a clear message to companies in northeast Indiana that IPFW is listening and is here to support and help grow life sciences companies,” said Brian Emerick, CEO of Micropulse. “As the regulatory requirements continue to increase in the medical device industry, the new degree will enhance our local talent pipeline and help our region’s companies grow and thrive.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook for biochemists and biophysicists forecasts an increase of 8.0% employment from 2014-2024. Employment across the state is expected to increase 10.7% according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The 2015 Employment Outlook Report of the Community Research Institute (CRI) indicated a similar trend locally, stating that approximately 9% (nearly 2,000) of the regional openings over the next decade will be linked to health care and life sciences fields.

“The orthopedic device business, which has been dominated by metal and polymer implants for decades, is increasingly becoming the musculoskeletal health business, which involves a number of different disciplines as companies seek more biologically based treatments,” said Brad Bishop, Executive Director of OrthoWorx. “The addition of this academic program in the region will support existing business and has the potential to provide the talent needed for emerging therapies.”

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership reports that employment in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing is almost 11 times more concentrated in Northeast Indiana than in the rest of the country.

“This biochemistry degree program will align well with the employment needs of our region, as healthcare is a top employment sector in Northeast Indiana,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “The new program provides us the chance to serve a new group of students, and we welcome the opportunity to attract students from outside the region and retain those currently living here.”

“The approval of this degree program will increase the visibility and status of biochemistry, the department, and the university as having offering that underpin one of the most vibrant sectors of the regional economy,” said Ronald Friedman, chair and professor of chemistry. “The program will prepare students for pursuit of an M.S or Ph.D. degree in biochemistry graduate programs or entry into the labor market.”

For additional information, contact Ronald Friedman at 260-481-6067 or [email protected]