BIO401: Biochemistry

Course Syllabus for "BIO401: Biochemistry"

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Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and compounds, such as cellular makeup, that bring about life in organisms.  It is a combination of multiple science fields; you can think of it as general and cell biology coupled with organic and general chemistry.  Although living organisms are very complex, from a molecular view, the material that constitutes “life” can be broken down into remarkably simple molecules, much like the breakdown of our English language to the English alphabet.  Although there exists thousands upon thousands of molecules, they all breakdown into four core components: nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids, and carbohydrates.  As we can make hundreds of thousands of words from just 26 letters, we can make thousands of different biomolecules from those 4 components.  For example, the human genome, containing the necessary information to create a human being, is really just one very long strand of 4 different nucleotides. This course is structured around that approach, so we will begin by discussing each of these 4 components in detail and how they create the biomolecules necessary for life.  As there are grammatical rules to every language, each component has its own set of rules, and we will learn how these rules play important roles in regulating the ways these molecules combine and form structures.  We will continue on by looking at how these formed biomolecules interact and produce many of life’s necessary processes.  Metabolism, for example, is the set of chemical processes that produce energy and compounds necessary for other life processes to occur.  It utilizes carbohydrates as its main energy source, depends on proteins as its main catalysts for reactions to occur, utilizes nucleotides to make proteins, and uses lipids for multiple purposes, including signaling and energy storage.  We will end the course with a brief look at the most commonly used techniques in biochemistry research.  These techniques are vital to understanding how new biochemistry knowledge is obtained.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the structure of the following basic biomolecules: nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates.
  • Diagram how these basic biomolecules are used as building blocks for more complex biomolecules.
  • Differentiate between reactions that create biomolecules.
  • Describe how these biomolecules are used in specific cellular pathways and processes.
  • Analyze how feedback from one pathway influences other pathways.
  • Explain how energy is utilized by a cell.
  • Indicate how biomolecules and pathways are regulated.
  • Describe how enzymes play a key role in catalysis.
  • Assess which biochemical technique should be used to study a given biochemical problem.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt,.xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.