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Biological Chemistry Course Descriptions

Helpful Documents: Degree PlanProfessional Outcomes

Required Courses

Core Curriculum – Genes
Fall (1st half)
2.0 credit hours

Molecular genetics of model organisms; DNA replication, repair, and recombination; transcription; RNA catalysis, processing, and interference; translation; protein turnover; developmental biology; and genomics.

Core Curriculum – Proteins
Fall (1st half)
2.0 credit hours

The energetic basis of protein structure; stability; ligand binding and regulation; enzyme mechanics and kinetics; methods of purification; and analysis by spectroscopic methods.

Core Curriculum – Cells
Fall (2nd half)
2.0 credit hours

Cell structure; membrane biology; intracellular membrane and protein trafficking; energy conversion; signal transduction and second messengers; cytoskeleton; cell cycle; and introductory material in microbiology, immunology, and neurobiology.

Modern Methods in Protein Analysis
Spring (1st half)
1.5 credit hours

Protein analysis; mass spectrometry; equilibria; specificity, cooperativity, and regulation of macromolecular interactions; sedimentation velocity and equilibrium analysis; and related topics. These principles will be illustrated by the study of well-characterized examples from the literature. The course emphasizes quantitative analysis and reading and discussion of the primary literature.

Enzymes & Disease
Spring (2nd half)
1.5 credit hours

This course focuses on the roles of enzyme activity in human disease. Students will learn:

  • Enzyme theory
  • Quantitative methods to analyze enzyme activity
  • Mechanisms of enzyme inhibition.

Students will study the effects of enzyme mutations on metabolism and how changes in enzyme activity cause or contribute to human diseases. Factors affecting the ability of small molecules, vitamins, and cofactors to modulate enzyme activity in cells and living organisms will be discussed. Examples will be drawn from research programs on campus and from the recent literature in the field. Course grades will be determined based on class participation, journal article discussion and assignments, and performance on quizzes and/or exams.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics I
Fall (full semester)
1.0 credit hour

Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: goals of education in RCR; professionalism; collaboration; teambuilding and professional behaviors; everyday practice of ethical science; mentorship; data management and reproducibility; animal research; genetics; and human research.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics II
Spring (full semester)
1.0 credit hour

Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: codes of ethics and misconduct; building interprofessional teams; conflict of interest; sexual boundaries and professional behavior; applications of genetic testing; technology transfer and intellectual property; plagiarism, authorship, and citation; peer review; image and data manipulation.


See the full Degree Plan for specific elective requirements.

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