Sample courses

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Biochemistry is the study of biological function at the molecular level. It seeks to interpret the complex processes that are governed by the basic laws of physics and chemistry and define all living organisms. Our department offers an integrated series of courses that provides students with an up-to-date view of modern biochemistry and molecular biology—ranging from evolution of genomes to structure-function relationships in macromolecules to the dynamics of metabolism.

BIOC 2300
Introduction to Biochemistry

This class surveys basic topics and concepts of biochemistry. The structures, properties and metabolic inter-relations of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids are considered together with an introduction to nutrition and metabolic control. Although the class will mainly focus on mammalian examples, some special aspects of biochemistry of microbes and plants will also be included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 1010 and 1011 (or equivalent), CHEM 1011 and 1012 (or equivalent), all with minimum grades of B-, or permission of instructor. (Students are advised to also take CHEM 2401 and CHEM 2441. CHEM 2441 does not satisfy the prerequisite requirement for BIOC 3200 and BIOC 3300).

BIOC 3300
Intermediary Metabolism

Topics to be covered in this class include synthesis and catabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and some nitrogen compounds. Metabolic regulation is emphasized, including factors influencing the rate at which compounds flow through selected pathways. Compartmentalization of, inter-relationships between, and environmental impact on metabolic pathways are considered. Laboratory exercises examine the techniques used to study metabolic pathways.

Prerequisites: BIOC 2300 and BIOC 2610 (both with minimum grades of B-), BIOL 2020 and BIOL 2030, CHEM 2401 and CHEM 2402, or permission of instructor.

BIOC 3400
Nucleic Acid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

This class focuses on the relationship of structure to function in RNA and DNA. Methods for studying the primary, secondary, and tertiary structures of nucleic acids are explored in lectures and in the laboratory. Topics covered include enzymic mechanisms for biosynthesis, rearrangement, degradation, and repair of nucleic acid molecules, and processes of replication and transcription. Nucleic acid biochemistry is emphasized as a basis for understanding storage and transfer of biological information.

Prerequisites: CHEM 2401 and CHEM 2402 or CHEM 2441, BIOL 2020 and BIOL 2030 (both with minimum grades of B-), BIOC 2300, or permission of instructor.

BIOC 3700
Biomolecular Chemistry

This class covers structural and functional properties of biomolecules, including the physical bases for their characterization, thermodynamic principles of protein folding and biomolecular interactions, and the kinetics and mechanisms of enzyme catalysis.

Prerequisites: BIOC 2300 (with a minimum grade of B-), CHEM 2401 and 2402, or permission of instructor.

BIOC 4306
Nutritional Biochemistry

Appropriate nutrition is essential for health and reflects the basic biochemistry of the organism. Changes in the human diet can impact health and disease. This class considers the principles of optimal nutrition in a biochemical context and the role of nutrition in disease etiology and treatment.

Prerequisites: BIOC 3300, BIOC 3400, BIOC 3700, or permission of instructor.

BIOC 4501
Medical Biotechnology I

This class covers fundamental principles of biotechnology from a medical perspective. Topics discussed include: recombinant DNA technology, polymerase-chain reaction-based applications, DNA microarrays, immunochemical techniques and applications, production of transgenic organisms, potential applications for embryonic stem cell and nuclear transfer cloning, and business and legal aspects of biotechnology.

Prerequisites: BIOC 3400 or permission of instructor.