Biochemistry

Course Description

Biochemistry (CHM 3341) is a traditional upper-division course for science majors (chemistry and biology). Finding an appropriate lab manual has been a big challenge. Most that I have examined suffer from one or another shortcoming such as the need for expensive equipment or the (to me) excessive focus on protein chemistry, enzymology, and molecular biology, with little or no attention to carbohydrate or lipid chemistry. So I am constructing what for me is a feasible set of exercises that is as thorough as my limited budget and armamentarium of equipment allow. For the record, the latter includes several pH meters and Spectronic 20s, a couple UV-VIS spectrophotometers, two clinical centrifuges, a Fisher microfuge, a refrigerated centrifuge (Beckman-Coulter Avanti J-30I with JA-30.50Ti rotor), a Bio-Rad electrophoresis system for SDS-PAGE minigels, and assorted small water baths and micropipetters. I don't imagine my exercises will necessarily fit your situation, but make of them what you like. You may note a glaring omission: the following contains no exercises in DNA biochemistry. If anyone knows of a meaningful exercise that demonstrates some molecular biological procedures for less than, say, $100, let me know.

Though I've taught this course many times, the lab curriculum continues to evolve. By now I think I'm getting pretty close to a satisfactory set of exercises. I've separated my discussion into two groups: those exercises I like and will continue to use and those that I have tried but, for various reasons, have not kept. Below are my descriptions of each exercise with comments about their good and bad points. I would appreciate your comments and welcome your questions.

Exercises I use more-or-less regularly:

Exercises I have used in the past:

Finally:

To find my commentary on any of these exercises, click on its title. Please address comments, suggestions, or questions to my e-mail address below.

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Last modified 2/21/08