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Courses

The following is a list of classes offered by the Department of Biochemistry. The most current information is available on Bear Tracks
 
BIOCH 200 Introductory Biochemistry
An introduction to the fundamental principles of biochemistry. Protein structure and function; lipids and the structure of biological membranes; nucleotides and the structure of nucleic acids; bioenergetics and the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids; the integration and regulation of cellular metabolism.
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 101 and CHEM 161 or CHEM 261
Notes:
(1) This course is designed for students who require a one-term introduction to the fundamental principles of biochemistry and for students who intend to take further courses in biochemistry.
(2) BIOCH 200 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in any of BIOCH 203, 205, or 220.
Coordinator: Dr. A. Wright
 
BIOCH 299 Research Opportunity Program
This is a credit/no-credit (*1.5) option in which you will be introduced to fundamental laboratory skills as part of a team in one of the department’s research laboratories. This option is normally taken after completion of one academic year at the University of Alberta, in a science program, and students will normally be enrolled in, or will have completed, BIOCH 200. Credit may be obtained in either Fall or Winter term, or both. This course is an excellent immersion for students wishing to explore their interest in, and aptitude for, medical research. It is also a useful introduction to research for those wishing to apply for a summer research studentship. Students will work under the close supervision of a graduate student in a specific research laboratory.
Coordinator: Dr. R. Milner
 
BIOCH 310 Bioenergetics and Metabolism
This course is designed to enable rigorous study of the molecular mechanisms in bioenergetics and metabolism. Topics include the principles of bioenergetics; the reactions and pathways of carbohydrate, lipid, and nitrogen metabolism, and their regulation; oxidative phosphorylation; the integration and hormonal regulation of mammalian metabolism.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 200, CHEM 102 and CHEM 263 with a minimum GPA of 2.70 for these three courses.
Note: This course may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOCH 203 or 205.
Coordinator: Dr. J. Parrish
 
BIOCH 320 Structure and Catalysis
This course is designed to illustrate, in detail, the relationships between structure and function in biological molecules. Topics include the structure of proteins; experimental techniques used to study proteins; selected illustrations of protein function; enzyme catalysis, kinetics, and regulation; structural carbohydrates and glycobiology; the structure of lipids; biological membranes and mechanisms of transport.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 200, CHEM 102, and CHEM 263 with a minimum GPA of 2.70 for these three courses.
Note: This course may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOCH 203 or 205.
Coordinator: Dr. J. Parrish
 
BIOCH 330 Nucleic Acids and Molecular Biology
This course is intended to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the biochemistry of nucleic acids. Topics include the structure and properties of nucleotides and nucleic acids; DNA-based information technologies; genes and chromosome structure; molecular mechanisms in DNA replication, repair, and recombination; RNA metabolism; protein synthesis and targeting; the regulation of gene expression.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 200, CHEM 102 and CHEM 263, with a minimum GPA of 2.70 for these three courses.
Notes: This course may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOCH 205.
Coordinator: Dr. J. Parrish
 
BIOCH 398 Research Project
This is a 3 credit course in which students work on a basic practical laboratory/research project in one of the department’s research laboratories. It is offered in both the Spring term (May-June) and the Summer term (July-August). The course is intended for students who have completed two or three years of study in a science program, and is designed to provide practical research experience within the context of a larger, active research program.
 
During the six weeks the course runs, students will spend 8 or more hours a day working in the laboratory, although the number of hours will vary from day to day depending on the experimental progress. There is no expectation that students will create a large body of experimental data, given the limited amount of time, but there is an expectation that they will clearly understand the goals of the project, its relevance to the overarching project in the laboratory or in the greater scientific community, and contribute some significant results. The course culminates in a poster session where all students in the course present and discuss their experiments and results with other members of the Department of Biochemistry.
 
For information, please contact Dr. J. Parrish.
 
BIOCH 401 Biochemistry Laboratory
 
This course is designed to facilitate the development of important laboratory skills in preparation for conduct of a reliable and high-quality research project (such as BIOCH 498 or 499). These skills include learning how to keep a good lab note book, practicing trouble-shooting whilst collecting experimental data, and conducting proper analysis and interpretation of experimental data. The course offers extensive hands-on experience with a wide range of biochemical techniques, including column chromatography for protein purification, SDS-PAGE, ELISA, Western blotting, enzyme activity assays, protein crystallography, subcellular fractionation, TLC of lipids, cloning bacterial DNA, PCR, Southern blotting, agarose gel electrophoresis, and expression and purification of a recombinant protein.
 
BIOCH 401 is a 6-credit option which is offered in the Fall-Winter academic year and also in Spring term (May-June). It is required for Biochemistry Honors and Specialization students in their third or fourth year, but other interested students may enroll subject to space limitations.
 
For information, please contact Dr. A. Wright.
 
BIOCH 410 Signal Transduction
Principles of metabolic regulation by hormones and external agonists through signal transduction processes and protein modification. Biochemistry of cellular communication, coordination of carbohydrate, lipid, nucleotide and protein metabolism.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 310, 320, and 330, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes: Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 510).
Coordinator: Dr. D. Brindley
 
BIOCH 420 Protein Chemistry, Structure, and Function
Protein chemistry and purification. The intra- and intermolecular forces that determine protein structure. Principles of protein folding and dynamics. Enzyme mechanisms and ligand binding interactions.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 320, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes:     This course is intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 520).
Coordinator: Dr. C. Holmes
 
BIOCH 425 Proteomics
An advanced course focusing on the analysis of the protein function and protein-protein interactions within the context of the entire protein complement of a cell. Some aspects of protein structure as it pertains to the principles of protein-protein interactions will be covered along with genetic and biochemical methods for the analysis of protein complexes, protein interaction networks and system wide protein identification and dynamics. This course is intended for students in Honors or Specialization in Biochemistry. Students in other programs may be admitted subject to availability and with the consent of the Department.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 320 and BIOCH 330 with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in these courses.
 
BIOCH 430 Biochemistry of Eukaryotic Gene Expression
The organization and expression at the molecular level of information encoded in the nucleic acids of eukaryotic cells. The focus will be on genome structure and the regulation of gene expression at the levels of transcription, post-transcriptional processing, translation, post-translational modification and protein sorting. Recombinant DNA technologies and genetic engineering will be discussed as methods for studying the cellular processing of genetic information.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 320 and 330, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes: Intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 530).
Coordinator: Dr. M. Schultz
 
BIOCH 441 Structure and Function of Biological Membranes
Survey of the structure and function of biological membranes. Topics include the structure, properties and composition of biomembranes, characterization and structural principles of membrane lipids and proteins, lateral and transverse asymmetry, dynamics, lipid-protein interactions, membrane enzymology, permeability, and biogenesis.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 320, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes: Intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 541).
Coordinator: Dr. B. Lemire
 
BIOCH 450 The Molecular Biology of Mammalian Viruses
This course focuses on virus structure, replication, and interaction with host cells at the molecular level. Lytic viruses with single- or double-stranded DNA or RNA genomes will be discussed, as will the mechanisms of viral oncogenesis.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 320 and 330, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes: Intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 550).
Coordinator: Dr. J. Stone
 
BIOCH 455 Biochemistry of Lipids and Lipoproteins
Advanced course focusing on specific aspects of the regulation of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. Topics include the transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms governing the synthesis and degradation of important enzymes, lipids, and lipid transport molecules; the role of lipid mediators in signaling pathways and protein modification; the assembly and dynamics of lipoproteins and biological membranes; genetic disruptions of lipid regulatory proteins such as cell surface receptors leading to human disease.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 310, 320, and 330, or BIOCH 203 and 205, all with a minimum grade of B- or consent of Department.
Notes: Intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 555).
Coordinator: Dr. D. Vance
 
BIOCH 465 Methods in Molecular Biophysics
Survey of biophysical methods used in the characterization and structural determination of biological macromolecules, from ensemble measurements to single-molecule detection. Topics include mass spectrometry, optical spectroscopy, light microscopy, X-ray and neutron diffraction, electron microscopy, molecular dynamics and nuclear magnetic resonance. Emphasis is on using techniques in evaluating structure-function relationships through the discussion of representative macromolecular systems.
Prerequisites: BIOCH 320 with a minimum grade of B- or consent of the Department. This course cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOCH 460.
Notes: Intended for undergraduate students. Graduate students may not register for credit (see BIOCH 565).
Coordinator: Dr. H. Young
 
BIOCH 481 Design and Construction of Synthetic Biological Systems
This course explores both the opportunities and challenges of synthetic life by providing a practical and theoretical introduction to this new discipline through lectures, class discussion, assigned reading and case studies. Topics covered include: natural vs artificial design of genetic circuits and devices, experimental aspects of gene and gene network construction, metabolic network design and evaluation, and the role of computer modeling in design creation, testing and optimization. The availability of BIOCH 481 to students from non-biochemistry backgrounds emphasizes the highly interdisciplinary nature of the field.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in the Faculties of Science or Engineering and a minimum GPA 3.3 (or consent of the department).
Coordinator: Dr. M. Ellison
 
BIOCH 482 Design and Construction of Synthetic Biological Systems
Designed to prepare students for participation in the iGEM Competition (International Genetically Engineered Machines) through team-based problem solving. Teams composed of individuals from different programs are expected to: 1) Identify a relevant problem within the realm of synthetic biology. 2) Devise a credible and detailed plan to solve an aspect of the problem. 3) Demonstrate the feasibility of the design by computer modeling. 4) Evaluate the costs of success in terms of the financial, human and technological resources that are needed for the timely completion of the project. 5) Develop a plan to acquire the resources that are required for a successful outcome. 6) Produce a report and presentation. Although students are expected to exhibit a high level of independence and creativity, they can count on considerable guidance and support from participating faculty.
Coordinator(s): Dr. M. Ellison
 
BIOCH 495 Special Topics in Bichemistry
Covers specialized topics of current interest to advanced undergraduates in Biochemistry programs Consult the Department for details about current offerings.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor. Credit for this course may be obtained more than once.
 
BIOCH 497 International Directed Research Project
The research abroad program provides students registered in the biochemistry honors and specialization programs the opportunity to experience world-renowned research in a foreign country. Students will carry out a directed project in an international laboratory; furthermore they will also be given the opportunity to experience the rich culture that the host country has to offer. While students currently registered in biochemistry programs have the opportunity to study abroad they do not have the opportunity to carry out research abroad. This program allows students to register in a University of Alberta course and gain research experience in an international setting.
 
The objectives of this research abroad program are:
  • To give senior undergraduate biochemistry/science students “hands-on” experience with a wide variety of the techniques currently used in biochemistry laboratories;
  • To help students develop the skills and habits required by good research scientists;
  • To prepare students for individual, supervised research projects conducted within a laboratory in the biochemistry department (BIOCH 498 and 499); and
  • To give students the opportunity to experience a different culture and to expand their knowledge about how research is carried out in another academic setting.
For information, please contact Dr. A. Wright.
 
BIOCH 498 Advanced Laboratory
Supervised research within a laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, to be carried out over one term (Fall or Winter). The results of the research project will be presented in a final written report and an oral presentation.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 401 and consent of the Department.
Notes: Can be taken as a science elective but not as a substitute for required courses in Biochemistry. Can be taken for credit in addition to BIOCH 499.
 Coordinator: Dr. R. Milner
 
BIOCH 499 Honors Research Project
Supervised research within a laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, to be carried out over both terms of Fall/Winter. The results of the research project will be presented in a final written report and an oral presentation. This course is required for the Honors program, but can be taken as a science elective by students in the Specialization program.
Prerequisite(s): BIOCH 401 and consent of the Department. Students enrolled in this course will normally be in their graduating year in the Honors or Specialization programs in Biochemistry.
Coordinator: Dr. R. Milner
 
 
Undergraduate Certificate in Biomedical Research (Embedded)
The embedded Certificate in Biomedical Research is intended to recognize the work of students who have engaged extensively in the world-class biomedical research programs available at the University of Alberta. It will be available for the first time for students graduating in 2016.
 
The certificate requires completion of a structured series of laboratory courses, research courses, and independent research projects, and will officially ‘certify’ each participant’s acquisition of a broad range of research skills through these activities. Participants must contact their undergraduate program advisor prior to application for convocation, to ensure that requirements are met.
 
For information, please contact Dr. R. Milner.