Course Descriptions

Biochem 285 - Cellular & Molecular Biology

For sophomore-level majors in biology, microbiology, or biochemistry. Building upon concepts introduced in BIOLOGY 151/152, consideration given to structure and function at the cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels. Equally divided between aspects of molecular biology and cellular biology.

Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 151 or 161H or CHEM-ENG 220 with a grade of C or better; AND BIOLOGY 152 or 162H or CHEM-ENG 120 with a grade of C or better; AND CHEM 111 or 121 or 121H with a C- or better; AND CHEM 112 or 122 or 122H with a C- or better.

Biochem 291H - Honors Colloquium

Each week a different BMB faculty member presents their research and answers questions and engages in discussion initiated by the students.  There is an individual writing assignment for the course, and class participation is required.  Students host a speaker in groups of 3 -4 and coordinate with the speaker to obtain the title and abstract of the talk, prepare a short biography of the speaker in order to introduce the speaker to the class and lead the discussion.  The objectives of BIOCHEM 291H are to (1) familiarize students with the faculty in the department; (2) introduce BMB majors to the research foci within the department; (3) link faculty with students interested in performing undergraduate-level research; and (4) expose students to the style and form of technical writing they will encounter in the life sciences.

Prerequisite: BIOCHEM 275 or BIOCHEM 285 with a grade of 'B-' or better. Open to BIOCHEM majors only.

Biochem 311 - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Moving from single genes to whole genomes, this course focuses on the molecular basis of biological inheritance. In investigating genetic and genomic principles, we will emphasize the molecular mechanisms that convert the information stored in DNA into heritable phenotypes. Major topics are Mendelian genetics, epigenetics, and genomics. Students will also gain an introduction to the molecular techniques and approaches used to decipher genetic information. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to link Mendelian and more complex mechanisms of inheritance to the expression and function of the underlying DNA, RNA, and protein, in the larger context of cellular events and biological pathways. Students will also have the opportunity to breed dragons!

Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 151 or 161H with a grade of 'C' or better AND BIOLOGY 152 or 162H with a grade of 'C' or better.

Biochem 320 – Elementary Biochemistry

An elementary course not for Biochemistry majors. Survey of the structure and function of biological molecules, including carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Emphasis on relation to other life sciences. Topics include enzymology, special properties of biological membranes, hormones, vitamins, metabolic pathways, biotransformations and molecular biology.

Prerequisite: CHEM 250 or 261 or 265 with a grade of 'C-' or better.

Biochem 321 - Elementary Biochemistry Lab

This course is designed to provide an introductory experience to conducting experiments in a biochemistry laboratory. The course covers a broad spectrum of modern techniques and their underlying physical, chemical and biological principles. Biochemical tools and concepts are at the core of recent advances in medical/veterinary, forensic and food/agricultural sciences that have improved our lives. The main objectives of this course are for students to: become familiar with methods and instruments used in biochemistry laboratories, relate these basic biochemistry skills to a chosen field of study/interest, learn how to collect, record and analyze experimental data, present results clearly in graphic, tabular, and written formats, and perform experiments in an environment requiring teamwork.

Prerequisite: CHEM 250 or 261 or 265 with a grade of 'C-' or better AND BIOCHEM 320. Open to ANIMLSCI, PRE-VET, NUTRITN, FOODSCI seniors.

Resources for students enrolled in Biochem 321:

Biochem 376 – Intro Biochemistry Laboratory

The Introductory Biochemistry course covers fundamental biochemical and molecular biological laboratory techniques, supporting concepts, and data analysis. The aims of this course are 1. to provide students with practical knowledge and hands-on experience with some of the most common experimental methods used in biochemical and molecular biological research and 2. to introduce students to the fundamentals of scientific writing. Methods include reagent preparation, proper use of instrumentation, biochemical analysis, molecular biology techniques, and utilizing computers to analyze and present data. Laboratory safety is also emphasized.

Prerequisite: BIOCHEM 275 or 285 with a grade of B- or better. Open to BIOCHEM majors only.

Resources for students enrolled in Biochem 376:

Biochem 394RI - Real World Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

This course offers students a novel learning experience involving participation in student teams that plan, implement and host one of three different Project Events in class during the semester. The Project Events promote active team-based learning in the context of a: 1) Project Debate about controversial issues in the life sciences such as the DNA fingerprinting and the death penalty, 2) Book Club Discussion about a science book with relevance to many societal issues and 3) Panel Discussion about career development that explores new career options for future BMB graduates. The course asks students to reflect on their learning experiences in college and explicitly explore how these experiences helped them to become better learners. Students learn to integrate new information about themselves into their future responses to new situations, an invaluable skill for solving challenging real-world problems. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for Biochem majors.

Prerequisite: BIOCHEM 275 or 285. Open to BIOCHEM primary majors only.

Biochem 423/523 – General Biochemistry I

Structure and function of biological molecules, especially proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Important concepts include bioenergetics, biological catalysis, and metabolic pathways as interacting regulated systems.

Prerequisites: BIOCHEM 275 or 285 with a grade of B- or better, CHEM 261 or 265 with a grade of C- or better, and CHEM 262 or 266 with a C- or better.

Biochem 424 – General Biochemistry II

An integrated presentation of the biochemistry and molecular biology of cellular interactions. Emphasis on accounting for complex cellular processes in terms of protein structure and regulation of gene expression. Topics include gene structures and techniques for studying them; replication; control of gene expression; post-translational processing; membrane associated energetics; behavior of transport systems; mechanisms of signal transduction; and interactions of cells with extracellular matrix and with other cells.

Prerequisites: BIOCHEM 423 with a grade of C- or better, and both CHEM 261 (or 265) and CHEM 262 (or 266).

Biochem 426 – General Biochemistry Lab for Majors

Research projects using modern techniques in experimental biochemistry and molecular biology. Experiments may include enzymology, protein purification, and gene expression and organization. Methods include spectrophotometry, polymerase chain reaction, DNA cloning, electrophoresis, protein detection by immunoblot, RNA hybridization, and computer analysis of DNA and protein sequence data.

Prerequisites: BIOCHEM 275 or BIOCHEM 285 with a grade of B- or better; BIOCHEM 276 with a grade of C- or better; and BIOCHEM 423 with a grade of C- or better. Open to BIOCHEM majors only.

Resources for students enrolled in Biochem 426:

Biochem 430H – Biochemistry Writing Seminar

This course is the upper-division requirement for BMB majors and focuses on further development of communication skills you will need regardless of your career path after graduation. To be an effective scientific communicator, you need to continue to hone your skills in three dimensions: message (content), presenter (speaker/writer), and audience (reader/listener). Thus, each section of this course will provide support for your continued improvement as a writer/speaker (presenter) and as a reader/listener (audience) using a specific topic (content) in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Prerequisites: Completion of the CW General Education requirements and BIOCHEM 423. Open to BIOCHEM primary majors only.

Resources for students enrolled in Biochem 430H:

Biochem 471 – Elementary Physical Chemistry

An overview of physical chemistry (thermodynamics, kinetics, statistical and quantum mechanics, and spectroscopy) emphasizing applications to biology including macromolecule structure and stability, ligand binding, enzyme catalysis, and membrane structure and transport.

Prerequisites: (CHEM 112, 122, or 122H), AND (PHYSICS 132, 152 or 182), AND (MATH 128 or 132) -- all with a grade of 'C-' or better.

Biochem 623 – Advanced General Biochemistry

Advanced treatment of selected topics in biochemistry, with readings taken from the current literature. Emphasis on experimental approaches and problem solving. Topics include protein structure-function, protein folding and modification, enzyme kinetics, and the study of metabolic processes (pathways and their regulation) with a molecular genetic approach. Students enrolled in this course are expected to have taken at least a one-semester course in upper division biochemistry and BIOCHEM 642.

Biochem 642 – Advanced Molecular Biology

Structure, biosynthesis, and function of nucleic acids and the translational apparatus. DNA replication; gene organization; chromatin structure; RNA transcription, regulation of gene expression; protein biosynthesis; mRNA, tRNA, and ribosomes.  For PhD students only.

Biochem 657 – Drug Design

This course will survey the current picture in pharmaceutical research, including how targets are selected, how the rational and combinatorial methods are harnessed, as well as how the industry is evolving in the post-genomic era. The instructors will provide background and introduce various topics, which will be discussed by a series of invited lecturers who are active in drug design and discovery. Prerequisites: One BIOCHEM class and one year of Organic Chemistry required.