Course Description: Biochemistry 551 is an integrated lecture, lab and seminar course that covers biochemistry-centered theory and techniques. The course is designed for upper-level undergraduate students majoring in Biochemistry. Students learn how to apply a broad range of biochemical, genetic, and physical techniques to modern biochemical research. Students also learn how to analyze and interpret the primary scientific literature, develop an understanding of the communication of data, and connect biochemical techniques to basic research.
Lectures introduce concepts and theory that are subsequently explored in detail in experiments. The virtual labs are designed to provide experience with techniques that are used in modern biochemical research through interactive online activities. The curriculum incorporates a research project beginning with the PCR amplification and cloning of the HCAII gene, which codes for the enzyme human carbonic anhydrase II (HCAII). As the semester progresses, students explore how to overexpress, purify and assay wild type and mutant HCAII protein. Experiments covered include PCR, spectrophotometry, gel electrophoresis, protein overexpression and purification, enzyme assays and fluorescence spectroscopy. Several times during the semester, at-home lab experiments are incorporated to provide hands-on experience to supplement student understanding of the virtual labs.
- Explain the theory of several fundamental biochemical techniques
- Form hypotheses based on biochemical principles
- Design and perform experiments to collect sound scientific data
- Critically analyze one’s own data as well as data from other sources
- Communicate scientific findings in both oral and written form
- Value the collaborative nature of biochemistry