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Department of Biochemistry

Biochemistry deals with the chemistry of life, and as such it draws on the techniques of analytical, organic, and physical chemistry, as well as those of physiologists concerned with the molecular basis of vital processes. All chemical changes within the organism—either the degradation of substances, generally to gain necessary energy, or the buildup of complex molecules necessary for life processes—are collectively termed metabolism. These chemical changes depend on the action of organic catalysts known as enzymes, and enzymes, in turn, depend for their existence on the genetic apparatus of the cell. It is not surprising, therefore, that biochemistry enters into the investigation of chemical changes in disease, drug action, and other aspects of medicine, as well as in nutrition and genetics.

The term biochemistry is synonymous with two somewhat older terms: physiological chemistry and biological chemistry. Those aspects of biochemistry that deal with the chemistry and function of very large molecules (e.g., proteins and nucleic acids) are often grouped under the term molecular biology. Biochemistry is a young science, having been known under that term only since about 1900. Its origins, however, can be traced much further back; its early history is part of the early history of both physiology and chemistry.

Medical biochemistry is biochemistry related to human health and disease. Its applicative arm is clinical chemistry, a field that focuses on the methodology and interpretation of chemical tests performed to support diagnosis and treatment. Medical biochemistry seeks to advance the understanding of chemical structures and processes that constitute health and disease, and underlie transformations between these two states. Clinical biochemistry is an important applied sub-discipline of medical biochemistry, also known under the names of clinical chemistry, pathological biochemistry or chemical pathology. Clinical biochemistry is concerned with methodology and interpretation of biochemical tests performed on body fluids and tissues, to support diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of disease.

Word from Head of the Department:

Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry at IMTU! How do cells work? How do dysfunctional molecular interactions result in diseases? And how could we design molecules to cure those diseases? Biochemistry is the science that explains life at a molecular level and finds solutions to complex health disorders.

Biochemistry provides the diagnostic platform for medicine. To make it simple, a doctor decides the medicine that needs to be prescribed based on the biochemical examinations of blood constituents. For example, if there are low amounts of hemoglobin in the blood, the patient is considered anemic. So the doctor prescribes Iron tablets or supplements. Similarly glucose levels are checked before deciding on the diabetes medication.

Excess or lack of certain metabolites (biochemicals) will be the reason for many medical conditions. Thus it is important to know if all organs are performing their functions optimally before concluding on a person’s health condition. So biochemistry is an absolute need for medicine. Biochemistry therefore, plays a considerable part, both overt and implied, in a large proportion of clinical activities. It was concluded that students must expect to find uses and demand for biochemical knowledge throughout their clinical curriculum.

At IMTU Basic Medical Biochemistry, Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is taught for MBBS, BSc Medical Laboratory Technology & BSc Nursing programmes.

Vision & Mission:
  • Vision : To provide leadership in training of Medical Biochemistry to health care professionals from diverse fields to excel in the teaching, molecular diagnostic techniques and research to guide the course of education, industrial development, research capacity development and public service nationally in Tanzania and internationally.
  • Mission : To achieve distinction in provision of education, research capacity developement, scholarship and public service through production of quality graduates to service Industry, Research Institutions, Academia and other related sectors.
Core Values:
  • Uphold professionalism in training, research and consultancy.
  • Promote innovativeness and creativity in biotechnological research.
  • Promote quality customer service.
  • Promote sensitivity to conservation of environment in all our activities.
  • Promote honesty integrity and tolerance among staff and students.