||Course Offerings | Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Division of Science and Mathematics
Stephen Asmus (chair), Stephanie Dew, January Haile, Margaret Richey; students: Melissa Douglas, Chris Fleming
Centres program in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) is designed to provide a solid introduction to the cellular and molecular fundamentals of life. This program meets the needs of a variety of students: those who want to pursue biochemistry, cell biology, and/or molecular genetics in graduate school, those who want to pursue a career in the health professions (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, or allied health fields), and those biology, chemistry, or physics students who want to broaden and complement their course of studies.
The overall design of the BMB major is to "build up," starting in the first-year/sophomore years with a solid foundation in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, as well as biology. The "payoff" then comes in the junior and senior years, as we progress from macromolecules to cellular metabolism to molecular genetics to cell biology. At the same time, these junior-senior BMB courses introduce the student to most of the major experimental tools that are critical to this molecular understanding of life. Finally, students are exposed to a wide spectrum of research currently underway in this field, partly by a senior seminar on current research topics, and partly by the expectation that most BMB upper-class students will be involved in research participation, either at Centre or in several off-campus programs with which we are affiliated.
With appropriate post-baccalaureate work, the BMB major will prepare students for a wide variety of professions in the sciencescareers in medicine or other health sciences; biological and chemical research in academia, government, or private industry; and teaching.
Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation
Students contemplating a
major in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) should plan to take
CHE 135 in their first year or complete the CHE 131, CHE 132 sequence
by fall term sophomore year. They should also take BIO 110 in the first
year, either fall or spring term. They should then continue in their sophomore
year with CHE 241 and CHE 341. If CHE 132 is taken in the fall term of
the sophomore year, students should take CHE 241 spring term and CHE 341
fall term of the junior year. BMB 210, which has a corequisite of CHE
241, should be taken in the sophomore year, either fall or spring term.
In addition to these required courses, prospective BMB majors should carefully
consider the following list of recommended first-year/sophomore courses,
paying particular attention to other 100- and 200-level courses required
for the major, as well as to electives. Some of these courses, although
they could be deferred to later years, when taken in the sophomore year
can provide a more timely preparation for a particular upper-division
objective (such as taking graduate or professional school admissions exams,
or participating in off-campus studies).
Other recommended first-year/sophomore courses:
BIO 210, BIO 225, CHE 250, MAT 170, PHY 110 or 210.
Requirements for the Major
BIO 110; BMB 210; CHE 131and
132, or CHE 135; CHE 241and 341; MAT 140 or 170 or placement in 171 or
higher; PHY 110 or 210.
BMB 310, 320, 330, 340, 500;
BMB 316 and at least one of BMB 335, 345;
One of the following physical science courses: PHY 210 (if not used above), PHY 230, CHE 250, CHE 361;
One of the following biological science courses: BIO 335, 340, 345, 350,
355 and 455.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Courses
BMB 210 Introduction
to Cellular and Molecular Biology (four credit hours)
A study of the fundamental structures and processes which make life possible.
The cell is taken as the "common denominator" of all life. Central
topics in the course are the structure and function of macromolecules,
organelles and membranes, and the pathways of energy flow and information
transfer in the cell. Prerequisite: BIO 110, CHE 131 and 132 or CHE 135,
CHE 241 (CHE 241 may be taken concurrently). Laboratory work is required.
Note: Prospective BMB and BIO majors with strong backgrounds in chemistry
are advised to take BMB 210 in the fall of their sophomore year alongside
CHE 241; other students with weaker backgrounds in chemistry may be better
served by first completing CHE 241 in the fall and then taking BMB 210
in the spring of their sophomore year.
BMB 310 Macromolecules
A study of the four major families of biological molecules: polysaccharides,
lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. The course covers the composition
and configuration of these compounds, analysis of their physical and chemical
properties, and the molecular mechanisms of their functions in metabolism
and ultrastructure of the cell. Prerequisite: CHE 241 and BMB 210.
BMB 316 Biochemistry Lab Techniques
This laboratory course provides a broad introduction to techniques
used in biochemical analysis, incluing protein purification, enzyme kinetics
and the use of radioisotopes. Prerequisite: BMB 310.
BMB 320 Cellular Metabolism
A study of the intermediary metabolism of living cells. The principal
metabolic pathways studied are those which provide for synthesis, degradation,
and interconversion of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides.
Particular emphasis is given to respiration and photosynthesis as central
bioenergetic processes in the cell. Prerequisite: BMB 310 or permission
of the instructor.
BMB 330 Molecular Genetics
A study of the molecular basis of genetic control in living cells.
Primary areas of interest are the nucleic acid organization of genes;
their packaging within chromosomes; and the replication, modification,
mutation, repair, recombination, transcription, translation, control,
evolution, and engineering of genes. Prerequisite: BMB 310 or permission
of the instrucutor.
BMB 335 Laboratory in Molecular Genetics (one credit hour)
This laboratory course introduces molecular genetic research techniques.
Standard experiments in this field are performed, including: DNA isolation,
plasmid purification, restriction enzyme digests and mapping, gel elution,
ligation reactions, transformations, polymerase chain reactions, Southern
blots, DNA hybridization analyses and DNA sequencing analysis/bioinformatics.
Prerequisite: BMB 330 or concurrently.
BMB 340 Cell Biology
A study of eukaryotic cell structure and function at the molecular
level. Topics include modern approaches to studying cells, membrane structure
and function, intracellular compartments, protein sorting, exo- and endocytosis,
cell signaling, cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, cell and molecular
mechanisms of development, and cancer. Prerequisite: BMB 330 or permission
of the instructor.
BMB 345 Laboratory in Cell Biology (one credit hour)
This laboratory course introduces cell biology research techniques, including
cell culture, immunocytochemistry, fluorescence microscopy, and digital
imaging of microscopic images. Prerequisite: BMB 340 or concurrently.
BMB 500 Senior Seminar
A study of current research topics in biochemistry and molecular biology
through analysis of research articles and by presentations from visiting
lecturers. Students are expected actively to participate in discussion
and to present several formal talks. It is intended that all of the areas
covered in the BMB major will be represented by the topics and speakers
chosen. In addition, students write a research paper and give a presentation
on a topic of their own choosing. Open only to senior BMB majors.