Biomedical sciences

Biomedical scientists study how the body works, investigate how disease or injury interferes with normal function, and develop new treatment strategies that help restore function. Skilled in using a variety of cutting-edge technologies, biomedical scientists have been responsible for major health advances including the development of vaccines, antibiotics and stem cell therapies.

Our flexible course design means you can shape your course to suit your interests and career aspirations, choosing from five major areas of study: anatomical sciences, cell and molecular biotechnology, human biochemistry, human physiology, and infection and immunity.

You can also specialise in two fields, giving you a competitive advantage and greater career flexibility, by undertaking a double degree, combining your biomedical sciences study with a business, law or mathematics degree.

Study areas

Anatomical sciences

The term ‘anatomy’ stems from the Greek phrase ‘to cut up’ and is the science of structure of the human body. Anatomy is a broad field with many subdisciplines of study, ranging from systemic anatomy (the investigation of functional organ systems such as the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive and skeletal systems), microscopic anatomy (involving the study of tissues known as histology) to imaging anatomy (the study of internal structures in a medical imaging context). You will have the opportunity to study all these branches of anatomy at QUT!

Starting from first year, you will be introduced to the language of anatomy, where you will learn how to effectively communicate with other biologists and health professionals through the application of anatomical terminology. Each semester you will build on your knowledge by exploring new fields within anatomy such as embryology, neuroscience, forensic anatomy and human dissection, and will have the opportunity to develop hands-on practical skills using traditional resources such as human donor material and innovative 3D technologies.

The human body is a fascinating place. With new medical advancements constantly emerging, not only is the study of anatomy timely, but it is essential for anyone planning a career in health sciences.

Career pathways

Laboratory technician, research scientist, medical device sales, forensic scientific services, higher degree research, postgraduate studies (e.g. physiotherapy, dentistry, ultrasonography), entry to medicine, teaching (higher education).

Cell and molecular biotechnology

You are a very complex organism, built from around 37.2 trillion cells, each with special structures and functions that work together for the several decades of your life and make you who you are. Cells are built from macromolecules called proteins, lipids and carbohydrates and these interact to build structures with amazing functions for energy production and storage, new protein production, movement, communication and to allow response to environment changes.

Molecular biology is a specialised branch of biology that studies the composition, structures and interactions of these cellular molecules and is studied alongside cell biology, which focuses on cellular structures made using these molecules (organelles and the like), the molecular pathways and cell life cycles.

Underpinning all of this is genetics. Our DNA sequence, kept within the nucleus, provides the instructions that orchestrate cell behaviour and make us who we are, dictating things like the colour of our eyes, our complement of fingers and toes, and even how we comfortably cross our arms and legs.  The techniques of molecular biology proved a toolkit for tinkering with the DNA to determine the function of genes and the proteins they encode, for discovering the genetic basis of human diseases and potentially then to develop new treatments for even very complex human diseases like cancers, diabetes and neurodegeneration.

Career pathways

Laboratory technician, laboratory scientist, biomedical research scientist, biotech industry research and development, higher degree research, entry to medicine, science communication.

Human biochemistry

Ever wondered how it all works? Studying biochemistry gives you the insight into how biological molecules interact with each other, whether that’s drugs on your brain cells, enzymes breaking down fats, or being able to communicate to a patient how their disease is impacting their body and how the drug they are taking will make them better. Biochemistry helps you to understand the fundamental molecular dynamics of physiology, cell biology, and immunity, and then some!

The journey into biochemistry begins in your first year where there is no expectation that you have studied biology or chemistry. Our expert academic team will support you throughout your degree as you study biochemistry and provide you with the latest content, the most interesting laboratory training, and a great boost towards reaching your career goals.

MYTH BUSTED: Biochemistry is not chemistry and is not a scary subject. Everyone can do biochemistry because you are doing it right now – our bodies and cells are in a constant dance of biochemical changes. How and why these changes occur is what learning biochemistry can do for you.
Biomolecules are a part of who you are. Embrace biochemistry and embrace the power of the molecular knowledge that comes with it!

Career pathways

Laboratory technician, laboratory scientist, pharmacology, biomedical research scientist, biotech industry research and development, higher degree research, entry to medicine.

Human physiology

Physiology is indeed an explanation of life. What other subject matter is more fascinating, more exciting, more beautiful than the subject of life?” - Arthur C. Guyton, Physiologist

Human physiology aims to understand the biology of life at the molecular, cellular, tissue and systems level. Crucially, understanding how our bodies respond in health and in disease, and when challenged by our external environment, provides a bridge to improved diagnosis and treatment of disease. Research that illuminates our understanding of physiological, and pathophysiological, processes provide an essential bridge to translational and personalised medicine.

The importance of a deep understanding of human physiology has never been as evident as it has in recent days as the world grapples with the COVID19 pandemic. Scientists and clinicians around the globe have been at the forefront in the race to understand, combat and ultimately defeat this disease and have drawn on both our current knowledge of physiology and skill in exploring the unknown aspects of disease.

Career pathways

Physiologists utilise their training to understand and improve human health and find rewarding career pathways in medicine and other allied health professions, clinical physiology, research, education and industry.

Infection and immunity

Now more than ever we can see the impact on society of an infectious pathogen for which we have no defences – no vaccines, no treatments and no natural immunity. The battle against diseases caused by pathogens is never ending, and as they change and fight back against our defences, we need to learn fast and develop new defences. This is where you can start your career as a major player in the development of new vaccines, treatments, diagnostic tools and basic knowledge about how bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic pathogens function and cause disease.

Understanding how our immune system works and responds to pathogens is essential in understanding how they cause disease, as many conditions are the result of our immune responses as much as they are the result of an infection alone. An understanding of immunology is also essential in the development of treatments for the growing incidence of auto-immune diseases, cancers and chronic diseases such as asthma.

Our expert academic team are also expert researchers in immunology, bacteriology and virology, and will support you throughout your degree, providing you with the latest information, technology, the most interesting laboratory training, and a great boost towards reaching your career goals.

Career pathways

Laboratory technician, laboratory scientist, pharmacology, vaccine and drug development, biomedical research scientist, biotech industry research and development, higher degree research, entry to medicine.

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