Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Chem 438
Introductory Biochemistry

MWF 1300-1350 FH 232

Tentative Syllabus - Spring 2010

Office: SA560a & GH 122c
Office Hours: MW 1400-1450 (SA 560a); TR 1500-1550 (GH 122c)
Phone: x 5719 & x 5136
Home: 822-1116

Lecture Schedule: See Biochemistry on my Web Page (
Texts: Horton, H Robert, Lawrence A. Moran, K Gray Scrimgeour, Marc D. Perry, and J. David Rawn. Principles of Biochemistry, 4th ed. Pearson Printice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2006)
Paselk. Biochemistry Pathway Diagrams. HUB

General: For those who need a review of organic chemistry, I have in my office: Rodwell, Organic Chemistry (A brief review). This is a good, very brief, review of most of what you should know about organic chemistry reactions prior to taking biochemistry.

My attitude towards texts is that they are references to repeat, expand, clarify (or confuse!), and otherwise aid you in your endeavor to understand biochemistry. I do not "require" that you buy a text - you're an adult, you should know what you require to "get through" a course. It's your decision. However, I strongly recommend purchasing a book. Horton et. al. will be the central text for most of this course. The text and I may sometimes disagree. If you discover such a disagreement let's discuss it - I may decide to go along with Horton, agree to disagree and accept both points of view, or try to convince you as to why I'm correct (perhaps newer literature has moved the field, etc.).

I have been posting my notes for some time. They are not perfect. Old errors may still exist, and new errors are introduced as new material is added and old material is updated. My students are my only editors-I rely on you to help me find mistakes! If you use the notes and think you've found an error please tell me via e-mail. My lecture notes from Spring 2007 are also available to you in my Course Archive with this caveat - there will be differences in what is covered, when it is covered, and of fact. However if you wish to use them to "preview" what is likely to be covered next, please feel free.

I have traditionally tried to emphasize thinking and problem solving in this course and intend to continue. Thus there may be exam questions with answers you haven't seen and there will be synthesis questions. You can pass the course without "getting" these questions, but you won't get an "A."

Discussion: Other than exam weeks there will be a discussions each week. The Discussion will be on-line - Participation is mandatory for these discussions! The Discussion is graded on participation and evidence you have done the reading, not brilliance or cleverness (you won't lose points for foolish or ignorant responses). Brilliance and understanding will be tested on exams.

Doing the Discussion on-line is an experiment this semester for me - details to come. And there will probably be some evolution over teh semester!

There will be a specific reading or/and computer assignment for each discussion (Case-study, journal article, etc.) which you are expected to read. I intend to provide these readings by the previous Monday on the Discussion schedule on the web, however, I am somewhat forgetful, so if you haven't found it by Monday before the discussion, e-mail me please!

You will be given about a week to do discussion problems. Be aware that discussion problems sometimes require a great deal of time and thought. Some questions may require meditation or a period of "slow fermentation in back of your mind." It is best to start work on them immediately so you can figure out how to budget your time.

A Word About Exams: Note the in-class exams dates and be certain you can make them:

Exam I (Weeks 1-6) -Friday, March 5, 1300-1350

Exam II (Weeks 7-12) -Friday, April 16, 1300-1350

Final Exam (Comprehensive): Monday, May 10, 1240-1430

I do not generally give make-up exams, but can sometimes make an accommodation if notified in advance. So if you think you can't make an exam, please call me in advance. If you can't reach me directly, leave a message on my voice mail or email. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE RECIEVED A RESPONSE FROM ME! Grading:

 Midterm exams:

 2 @ 100 pts. each

  200 pts.

based on writre-ups/participation

  100 pts

 Final exam:  

  200 pts.


 Total =

500 pts.


Grading Rubric

Withdrawal/Drop Policy (from HSU Academic Senate):

You may drop this course for any reason without record up through the fourth week. After the 4th weekand until the 13th week withdrawal requires a "serious and compelling reason (see below) and will be recorded as a "W." After the 13th week only catastrophic withdrawals (see below) will be given - a grade of "WC" will be recorded.

When contemplating a Withdrawal, you should also be aware of the new CSU policies (Executive Order 1037; August 1, 2009) that place significant new restrictions on course repeats and withdrawals for undergraduate students. As a summary:

  1. Students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester-units (between census and the final 20% of instruction, with a serious and compelling reason).
  2. Students may repeat courses only if they earned grades lower than a C.
  3. Students may repeat up to 16 semester-units with grade forgiveness.
  4. Students may repeat up to an additional 12 semester-units with grades averaged.

Incompletes (from CSU Executive Order 1037)

"The “I” symbol shall be used only when the faculty member concludes that a clearly identifiable portion of course requirements cannot be met within the academic term for unforeseen reasons. An Incomplete shall not be assigned when it is necessary for the student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered."

"A student may not re-enroll in a course for which he or she has received an “I” until that “I” has been converted to a grade other than “I”; e.g., A-F, IC."


Campus Resources for Students

Disabilities may interfere with your success in this class. If you need accommodations for a disability, please contact our campus Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and follow up with me as soon as possible. Our campus SDRC can assist you with the accommodation process and can be reached at (707) 826-5392 (TDD). The SDRC is located in the Learning Commons in the Libray basement..

Students with Disabilities

Student Support organizations

HSU Add/Drop Policy

Emergency Evacuation

Academic Honesty

Attendance and Disruptive Behavior


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Last modified 26 April 2010