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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Professors E. Dawley, R. Dawley, Hess, Kohn, Small, Tortorelli; Associate Professors Bailey, Ellison, Goddard, Lobo, Lyczak, Popescu, Roberts (Co-Coordinator), Williamsen (Co-Coordinator); Assistant Professors Dale Cameron, Favero, Koeppe, Reig, Round.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) is an interdisciplinary major that includes courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Students pursuing this major will explore the chemical interactions that underlie life’s diversity. Courses in the major will cover the theoretical basis of knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology and the experimental strategies used by scientists in these fields. Laboratories will foster creative experimental work by students and familiarize them with current techniques and equipment used by biochemists and molecular biologists. It is the goal of this program to prepare majors for graduate study in biochemistry and molecular biology, post-baccalaureate study in the health sciences, and careers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Requirements for Majors

A major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) consists of the following components:

Courses Required of All Majors:

  • BCMB-202, 307, 351, 452W
  • BIO-101Q, 102Q, 201W
  • CHEM-105/105LQ 106/106L, 205/205L, 206/206L; (CHEM-151/151LQ can be taken instead of CHEM-105/105LQ and 206/206L)
  • MATH-112, PHYS-111Q/111L or PHYS-121Q/121L

Advanced Biology or Chemistry Course (one of the following):

  • BCMB-350, BIO-328, BIO-345, BIO-346, CHEM-315, CHEM-322, CHEM-310, CHEM-408W, or CHEM-447W

Advanced Chemistry Laboratory (one of the following):

  • CHEM-309L, CHEM-315L, or CHEM-322L

Advanced Molecular Biology Course (one of the following):

  • BCMB-426W, BCMB-429W, BCMB-433W, BIO-425W, BIO-449W, or BIO-459W

Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory (one of the following):

  • BCMB-493, BIO-328 (in conjunction with BIO-328), BIO-426L (in conjunction with BCMB/BIO-426W), BCMB-429L (in conjunction with BCMB/BIO-429W), or BCMB-433L (in conjunction with BCMB-433W)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors fulfill the capstone, writing, and oral presentation requirements in the major by completing BCMB-452W and one of the Advanced Molecular Biology Courses.

Departmental Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Students successfully completing BCMB-491/492 may be awarded honors but no additional credits will be given. Description of the honors program, including qualifications, is detailed in this catalogue.

Courses

BCMB-202.  Foundations in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  Faculty

Discussion of milestones and current topics in biochemistry and molecular biology. Students will be introduced to key BCMB skills and resources. The intended audience is BCMB majors. Co- or Prerequisites: BIO-201W, CHEM-205/205L and CHEM-206/206L (or CHEM-151/151L). One hour per week. One semester hour.

BCMB-291.  Introduction to Research  Faculty

Laboratory and library work, under the direction of a faculty member, designed to introduce the student to fundamental research procedures and data interpretation in the context of a research project. Upon completion of the work, a formal presentation must be given. This course may be taken more than once. At the time of registration, written consent of the instructor is required. Three hours of laboratory per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

BCMB-307.  Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences  Dr. Popescu, Dr. Ellison, Dr. Koeppe

A study of thermodynamics, transport properties and kinetics as applied to biological systems. Prerequisites: CHEM-206; MATH-112; PHYS-111Q. Three hours per week. Three semester hours. (LS if taken with CHEM-309a.)

Note: Students may not receive credit for both BCMB-307 and CHEM-309.

BCMB-350.  Selected Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty

A course offered periodically in an area of special interest to students by a faculty member or a visiting lecturer. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Three hours per week, plus either intensive writing or three hours of laboratory, depending on the topic. Four semester hours. (LS, if lab associated with course.)

BCMB-351.  Biochemistry I Dr. Roberts, Dr. Koeppe

The study of properties, structure, synthesis and function of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Enzyme catalysis, metabolism of biomolecules, and the biochemical basis of selected physiological processes are also included. Prerequisites: BIO-201W and CHEM-205, 205L, 206, and 206L, or permission of instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory. Four semester hours. (LS.)

BCMB-381.  Internship  Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience with a primary focus on a laboratory research project. Before beginning the internship, the student must submit a proposal to be approved by the faculty internship advisor. Upon completion of the work, written and oral presentations must be made to the program faculty. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Prerequisites: BIO-201W and CHEM-206L. Graded S/U.Three semester hours. (I.)

BCMB-382.  Internship  Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience with a primary focus on a laboratory research project. Before beginning the internship, the student must submit a proposal to be approved by the faculty internship advisor. Upon completion of the work, written and oral presentations must be made to the program faculty. Open to rising juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Prerequisites: BIO-201W and CHEM-206L. Graded S/U.Four semester hours. (I.)

BCMB-391.  Research/Focused Inquiry  Faculty

Laboratory and library work, under the direction of a faculty member, designed to introduce the student to fundamental research procedures and data interpretation in the context of a research project. Upon completion of the work, a formal presentation must be given. This course may be taken more than once. At the time of registration, written consent of the instructor is required. Six hours of laboratory per week. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

BCMB/BIO-426W.  Molecular Biology  Dr. Lobo

A survey of gene structure, transcription, translation, regulation, and replication, as well as the theory underlying laboratory techniques used in their study. Laboratory experiments will include DNA and protein isolation, enzymatic manipulations, electrophoresis, and nucleic acid hybridization in an attempt to clone and analyze a bacterial gene. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory. Four semester hours. (LS.)

BCMB/BIO-429W.  Structural Biology  Dr. Roberts

An introduction to the principles of protein and DNA structure, X-ray crystallography, structure visualization and interpretation, and bioinformatics. The use of these concepts to understand biological function at the level of individual molecular interactions and at the level of complex processes will be demonstrated through specific biological examples. Laboratory work will emphasize structure-determining techniques and use of scientific databases and protein visualization software. Prerequisite: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (LS)

BCMB/BIO/NEUR-433W.  Molecular Neurobiology  Dr. Kohn

A study of the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal function. The course includes molecular properties of neurons, release of neurotransmitters, receptors in synaptic transmission, effects of drugs, synaptic plasticity, and neurological disorders. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (LS.)

BCMB-452W.  Biochemistry II  Dr. Koeppe, Dr. Roberts

The study of diverse, complex interactions among biomolecules introduced in BCMB-351, considering both natural (in vivo) and artificial (in vitro) contexts. Cellular mechanisms underlying the regulation of biomolecular interactions and their relevance to selected areas of discovery are also included. This course (together with BCMB-426W, 429W or 433W) fulfills the capstone, oral and writing requirements of the major. Prerequisite: BCMB-351. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory. Four semester hours. (LS.)

BCMB-491.  Independent Research  Faculty

Independent laboratory and library investigation in biochemistry and/or molecular biology, with oral progress reports and a research paper presented to the program faculty. This course may be taken more than once. At the time of registration, written consent of the research advisor is required. 12-14 hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (I.)

BCMB-492W.  Independent Research  Faculty

A continuation of BCMB-491 with a final seminar and thesis describing research work. Emphasis is placed on oral and written presentation, as well as advanced laboratory techniques. Prerequisites: BCMB-491, BCMB-452W (or concurrently). 12 -14 hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (I.)

BCMB-493.  Molecular Biology Research  Faculty

A course taken by a student who wishes to fulfill the molecular biology laboratory major requirement in a research setting. Work is done within a BCMB-391, BCMB-491, BCMB-492W or Summer Fellows research project. Beyond fulfilling the requirements of the research course, the student must demonstrate an understanding and facility with multiple techniques commonly used in the molecular biology laboratory. A student enrolls in this course the semester after successfully completing the requirements. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Permission of research advisor and BCMB coordinators. Zero semester hours.

*Note: Students must complete the associated research component (BCMB-391, BCMB-491, BCMB492W) prior to their last semester.