The Department of Biochemistry at the Science Institute was formally established in 2000 when the Department of Chemistry originally set up in the early 1970's was split in two. In 1995, the Biochemistry Department that was then part of the Medical School had been integrated into the Department of Chemistry at the Science Institute. In 2008, the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry were again united in an effort to strengthen the framework supporting the increasing number of students working toward higher degrees. The Science Institute is a financially independent research establishment housing and running the natural science's research groups. The academic staff is formally employed by the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences.
Six professors are positioned at the Department of Biochemistry; five from the Chemistry unit of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences and one from the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition in the School of Health Sciences. In addition, several post-docs and graduate students are employed as research assistants long term. Several undergraduates work on their practical BSc projects in our laboratories from time to time.
Research themes include purification, characterization, and practical use of proteins from fish, mammals, and bacteria; structural basis of cold-adaptation as it relates to enzymes; use of cold-active enzymes for industrial use; genetics and expression of enzymes during fish larvae development; metabolic studies in relation to disease; medicinal chemicals from Icelandic plants; membrane proteins in lipid rafts; effects of membrane lipids on hormone receptors. Protein phosphatases.
Present chairman: Dr. Magnús M. Kristjánsson professor.