CHEM204: Bioorganic Chemistry

Course Syllabus for "CHEM204: Bioorganic Chemistry"

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Bioorganic chemistry studies the chemistry of organic biomolecules.  It is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that combines organic chemistry and biochemistry.  Please recall that organic chemistry investigates all molecules that contain carbon and hydrogen, and biochemistry focuses on the network of molecular pathways in the cell.  Bioorganic chemistry employs organic chemistry to explain how enzymes catalyze the reactions of metabolic pathways and why metabolites react the way they do.  Bioorganic chemistry aims to expand organic-chemical research on structures, synthesis, and kinetics in a biological direction. This one-semester course will cover several advanced chemistry topics and will discuss the chemistry behind biological processes.  The course begins by introducing you to the mechanisms behind the most common biological chemical reactions (Unit 1).  You will then take a closer look at the metabolic processes of biomolecules.  You will apply your knowledge of the structural features of organic molecules to biomolecules (Unit 2).  The next four units will cover the chemistry of metabolic processes in the cell: lipid metabolism (Unit 3), carbohydrate metabolism (Unit 4), amino acid metabolism (Unit 5), and nucleotide metabolism (Unit 6).  This course will also discuss the medical significance of the relevant deficiencies of these pathways.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Identify and characterize lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids, and nucleic acids.
  • Recognize chiral organic molecules, and explain their biological significance.
  • Explain the process of electrophilic and nucleophilic reactions, redox reactions, and enzyme catalyzed reactions.
  • Define the role of coenzymes and allosteric regulators in enzyme catalyzed reactions.
  • Compare and link terpenoid and steroid biosynthesis.
  • Compare and contrast the biosynthesis and the break down of biomolecules in the cell.
  • Predict the products of substitution, elimination, condensation, and redox reactions.
  • Design enzyme catalyzed reactions that lead to high-energy compound products.
  • Explain why certain lipids and amino acids are essential while others are not.
  • Determine the significance of fermentation during anaerobic metabolism.
  • Explain why certain metabolic pathways are called “cycles.”
  • Explain what happens if a eukaryotic cell lacks oxalic acid, ribulose bisphosphate, or ornithine.
  • Compare and contrast the Citric Acid Cycle and the Calvin Cycle.

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.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√   Have completed the following courses: CHEM101: General Chemistry I, CHEM102: General Chemistry II, CHEM103: Organic Chemistry I, and CHEM104: Organic Chemistry II   

Course Information

Welcome to CHEM204.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 
Course Designer: Marianna Pintér, PhD; Rachel Lerebours, PhD

Primary Resources:  This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Please pay special attention to Units 1 and 2, as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the latter units.  You will also need to complete:

  • Subunit 1.1 Assessments
  • Subunit 1.5.4 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.1.1 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.1.2 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.2.1 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.4.1 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.4.2 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.5.1 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.5.2 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.6.1 Assessment
  • Subunit 2.6.3 Assessment
  • The Final Exam

Please note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the problem sets within the above-listed assessments.
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 142.5 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and to then set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 25.75 hours to complete.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (estimated at 4.5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (estimated at 3.75 hours) on Tuesday night; subunits 1.3 and 1.4 (estimated at 3 hours) on Wednesday night; etc.
Tips/Suggestions: As noted in the “Course Requirements,” there are prerequisites for this course.  It is essential to review CHEM103: Organic Chemistry I and CHEM104: Organic Chemistry II before you begin this course.  If you find the discussion of the clinical significance of metabolism fascinating in this course, you might consider taking BIO305: Genetics.

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