Biochemistry is a new Honors-level course which integrates biology with chemical engineering. This is an exciting career field that includes drug discovery, genetic treatment of disease, and also includes biotechnology as applies to plants and foods.
This course is ideal for a serious student wishing to broaden his/her horizons, and explore the Biochemistry field with this introductory high school course.
Every module contains labs and projects, providing the student with the opportunity to internalize the new concepts.
The major topics in the course are:
- Protein function, including oxygen transport, antibody function, and enzyme catalyzed reactions.
- Structure and function of carbohydrates and their importance in central metabolism.
- Lipids and biological membranes.
- Central aspects of metabolism and metabolic control.
- Nucleic acid biochemistry, with emphasis on recombinant DNA technology.
Module 1: Introduction
Module 2: Acids and Buffers
Module 3: Protein Structure
Module 4: Binding
Module 5: Enzymes
Module 6: Protein Purification
Module 7: Carbohydrates
Module 8: Lipids
Module 9: Metabolism
Module 10: DNA
The two main learning goals of the course are:
- Predicting how changes in structure affect function.
- Utilizing quantitative approaches to characterize structure-function relationships in biochemical systems.
The course begins with amino acids and transitions into protein structure and thermodynamics. Protein-ligand binding is treated for both non-cooperative and cooperative binding using immunoglobulins and oxygen transport as examples. The enzymatic function of proteins is explored using serine and HIV proteases as examples. Enzyme kinetics is treated using steady-state kinetic analysis. Enzyme inhibition is treated quantitatively, using HIV protease as a key example.
Carbohydrate and lipids are presented in sufficient depth to allow the student to fully understand major aspects of central metabolism. The discussion of metabolism is focused on energy generation, fermentation, and metabolic control.
The course concludes with an extensive section on nucleic acid biochemistry. The focus of this section is to provide the student with sufficient background so that they are literate in the recombinant DNA technologies as they relate to protein production using recombinant methods.
After a treatment of molecular forces and solution properties, the course builds on molecular and energetic descriptions of fundamental monomeric building blocks to develop a comprehensive understanding of the biological function of polymers and molecular assemblies at the molecular and cellular level.
In addition to multiple case studies, the course concludes with a capstone exercise that leads students through the steps required to produce recombinant proteins for drug discovery.
Prerequisites: Chemistry, Algebra I.
This course also includes the application of differential calculus. Students will be provided with interactive tools and calculators for graphing the functions.