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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Physical and Biological Sciences Department
Course Prefix and Number: CHEM 420
Course Title: *Biochemistry
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Basic concepts and foundations of biochemistry, including structure and function of macromolecules; bioenergetics; enzyme function and regulation; metabolic pathways. Designed to prepare pre-professional students for later studies. Students majoring in Biology or Chemistry must earn a grade of C or higher. Cross-listed as BIOL 420. Prerequisites: BIOL 110 and CHEM 310.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

BIOL 110 and CHEM 310.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

In-depth general biochemistry texts are suitable, such as:

Essential Biochemistry
By C.W. Pratt & K. Cornely (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)
Concepts in Biochemistry
By R. Boyer (John Wiley & Sons)
Principles of Biochemistry
By H.R. Horton, L.A. Moran, K.G. Scrimgeour, M.D. Perry, J.D. Rawn (Prentice Hall)
Course Objectives

• To examine fundamental principles that underlie eukaryotic biochemistry. • To understand the structure and function of biological macromolecules. • To understand the role of buffers in biological systems. • To investigate mechanisms of biosynthesis and degradation of biological macromolecules. • To understand the mechanisms that govern enzyme function, activity, and kinetics. • To calculate free energy changes in biochemical reactions. • To understand the inter-dependence of metabolic pathways within the body.

Measurable Learning Outcomes:

• Explain the importance of water in biological systems. • Describe the different types of electrostatic interactions that govern the macromolecules to interact with water and with each other. • Calculate the pH of a solution, given the concentration of hydrogen or hydroxide ions. • Determine which buffer system is best for a desired application; use the Henderson-Hasselbaclch equation to determine buffer composition, pH and buffering capacity. • Create and interpret a titration curve for a monoprotic, diprotic or triprotic buffer. • Apply the laws of thermodynamics to biochemical reactions; calculate changes in entropy and free energy; determine whether a chemical reaction will occur spontaneously under physiological conditions. • Explain the role of ATP and phosphoryl group transfer in metabolism. • Identify each of the 20 amino acids; relate changes in pH to changes in amino acid ionization state. • Describe the different levels of protein structure; relate structural characteristics to protein function; explain mechanisms of protein denaturation by different agents. • Delineate the different processes used to isolate, purify, and analyze protein; analyze the results of proteolytic digests to determine the primary structure of a protein; calculate specific activity during different stages of purification and relate it to the efficiency of each step in the purification process. • Recognize and name the different major categories of enzyme-catalyzed reactions; describe specific enzyme catalytic mechanisms; use the Michaelis-Menton equation and Lineweaver-Burk equation to calculate aspects of enzyme kinetics and inhibition; describe different types of enzyme inhibition and illustrate with specific examples. • Identify specific characteristics of lipids, especially storage lipids, membrane lipids, and steroids • Illustrate the steps in oxidative respiration; explain the operation of the citric acid cycle, including metabolites, key enzymes and their regulation. • Explain how the electron transport system operates, and how ATP synthesis occurs in the mitochondria. • Describe the pathways for catabolism and anabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins, including intermediate metabolites, hormonal regulation, and regulatory mechanisms for key enzymes. • Assess the relationships between the metabolic pathways for different macromolecules; identify common metabolites; interpret the effects that a given physiological situation, disease, or enzyme deficiency will have on these inter-related pathways.

Topical Outline:
  • Unifying themes in biochemistry
  • Water, pH, and buffers
  • Bioenergetics
  • Amino acids, peptides, and proteins
  • Enzymes
  • Carbohydrate characteristics and metabolism
  • Aerobic metabolism
  • Lipid characteristics and metabolism
  • Nitrogen fixation, synthesis and degradation of nitrogenous molecules
  • Integration of metabolism
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Julie Estabrooks Date: September 8, 2010
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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