Pomona College is unusual among liberal arts colleges in having a concentration dedicated to the study of molecular biology, one of the most rapidly advancing areas in the natural sciences. This interdisciplinary major is supported by faculty in both the biology and chemistry departments and was made possible by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Under the auspices of the grant, a new faculty position in molecular biology was created and the College obtained state-of-the-art equipment for teaching and research.
Molecular biology seeks to understand the processes involved with and regulating the biochemistry of cells, gene expression, and cell structure and function. Gaining first-hand experience in research is a major goal of the concentration, and students have access to the sophisticated equipment resources of the biology and chemistry departments. In their Junior year, majors enroll in Molecular Biology Laboratory, where they use the latest recombinant DNA and molecular biology techniques such as DNA and protein gel electrophoresis, Southern and Western blots, chromatin immunoprecipitation and polymerase chain reactions. In upper level courses or in their research projects students get hands on experience in microarray technology, quantitative PCR, NMR, pulse field gel electrophoresis, protein purification, etc.