Topics in Biochemistry: Fermentation

Netherlands & Belgium

On-Campus Start date: CD Mod course starting October 17, 2019
Experiential Component: December 27, 2019 – January 9, 2020

Program Highlights:

  • Chem In-depth electives (for Chemistry Major; Int Science Major, or NUTR;Food Science advising track)   
  • Fulfills EL Designation
  • Learn about Biochemistry of Fermentation in Food and Beverages
  • Tour local businesses (breweries, bread and cheese factories) that use fermentation
  • Taste-testing comparisons of foods prepared with different processes
  • Compare Fermentation processes in the US, Netherlands, and Belgium

 While abroad, you will….

  • Tour breweries and cheese farms that use fermentation (including Trappist Monastery)
  • Taste-testing of fermented food and beverages!
  • Participate in a cooking class
  • Become an apprentice chocolatier in a Belgian Chocolate Factory (Yes! Chocolate is also fermented)
  • Tour cultural sites in Amsterdam and Belgium including churches, WWI sites, and the Anne Frank House

Course and Program Information:

Course Name: Topics in Biochemistry: Fermentation

Course Number: CHEM 323B

Credit Number: 2 credits

Pre-requisite: CHEM 125 & CHEM 250

Designation: fulfills Experiential (EL)

Course Description:

From beer and pickles to cider and cheese, U.S. food industries that rely on fermentation are proliferating. This course will cover the use of fermentation processes in the production of foods, beverages, and chemical products. We will build on topics involving structure and reactivity of important biomolecules. Take a new class in Fall 2019 to learn about yeasts, bacteria and molds, study the science behind fermented beverages and foods and discover industrial-scale applications of fermentation in the US, Belgium and the Netherlands. We will build on topics involving structure and reactivity of important biomolecules to investigate biochemical pathways of fermentation and investigate the types of organisms. Students will explore the use of fermentation in the industries including tours of MN companies.  A study abroad component after the semester will include tours of several industries, cooking classes, and reflections on the different cultural contexts for brewing and industry.  

Program/Course Fee Cost & Financial Considerations:

The program/course fee is $4,375. The billing for the entire cost of this course is on the regular schedule with the CSB/SJU billing system for fall semester in July. Students participating in this course are eligible to apply all their state, federal, and institutional scholarships, grants, and loans to the cost of this course. While grants and scholarships do not increase based on the cost of the course, you may have access to additional loans.

The program fee includes:

  • Housing while the program is in session.
  • International Airfare & Local Transportation for program activities
  • All Breakfasts and 5 additional group meals while the program is in session.
  • Program-related excursions & entrance fees to museums & cultural attractions
  • CISI Medical & Evacuation Insurance

The program fee does not include:

  • Most Lunch & Dinner meal expenses (est. of $200)
  • Personal expenses (estimate of $250)
  • Non-program travel or activities


Students will stay in double-occupancy hotel accommodations while in the Netherlands and Belgium. Wifi is available at all hotel locations.

Program Director Information

Kate Graham Dr. Kate Graham is an associate Professor of Chemistry at CSB/SJU for 25 years and will be lead professor for this course. Dr Kate Graham’s PhD research at Cornell University and her undergraduate research program has involved extensive fermentation of bacteria and fungi for pharmaceutical purposes.  She has also led study abroad programs in previous Januaries. She enjoys baking and spending time outdoors (kayaking, snowshoeing, walking the dog in the woods).  Kate loves traveling so this trip will combine her interests in chemistry, baking, travel, and fermented foods and beverages!
E-mail: [email protected]

Ed McIntee Dr. Ed McIntee, Associate Professor of Chemistry at CSB/SJU for 18 years and will be the assistant director for the international portion of this course. Dr. Edward McIntee received his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. He did post-doctoral research in cancer chemoprevention and identification of tobacco specific biomarkers at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center before joining the College of Saint Benedict in 2001. He is married with four children.  His wife, Michelle, is a chiropractor in Monticello.  Dr. McIntee’s interest in fermentation lies mainly in the different compounds and their amounts that lead to the variety of flavors encountered in the fermentation products.  For instance, why are some wines dry and others sweet?    He enjoys cooking, experimenting in the kitchen and is always willing to try new spicy recipes.
Email: [email protected]