Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Chem 438 - Introductory Biochemistry - Spring 2013

Lecture Notes 1: January 23

Introduction

Syllabus

Tentative Schedule

Who am I?

How to succeed:

We are using an online homework/learning system from sapling learning. The homework will count 100/600 points for the course. You should be able to get 100% if you pay attention and put in the time.

Discussion is also worth 100/600 points. 50% of your points will be based on Discussion attendance, with the other 50% based on working with your group to prepare weekly summaries of the discussion.

These two items give you 1/3 of the course points for conscientious participation.

I am planning to base my exams partially on the sapling homework and text testbank- so you should be rewarded by keeping up with these assignments.

Finally, I will be posting my lecture notes as I have traditionally done, but I also plan to explore some other methods other than lecture, so what is on the notes may expand what I actually said in class.

Don't rely on/be seduced by on-line notes, most students find taking their own notes to be a valuable learning exercise—you have to be engaged to learn effectively!.

Discussion:

We will look at Discussion this Friday in the Discussion sections as I am still working on some details. Important info will be posted on:

Homework:

I am using an online homework/learning system this semester from sapling Learning. You can get it directly from sapling learning. Student instructions for getting started on sapling are on my Moodle site.

Course intent:

You will be expected to do some synthesis and problem solving in doing this course.

Biochemistry focuses on a limited range of areas within the manifestation of life, but as we shall see this range is still vast:

  1. The chemical properties and 3-D structures of biomolecules.
  2. The interactions of biomolecules with each other and with inorganic molecules and ions.
  3. The synthesis and degradation of substances by organisms.
  4. Energy use and storage by organisms.
  5. The organization and regulation of biochemical systems.
  6. The molecular mechanisms of the storage, transmission and expression of biological information.

In this course I will focus on these issues in eukaryotes, specifically humans, because I want you to understand a functional system with all of the regulation etc. it requires. We will look at eukaryotes because they involve intracellular compartmentation and humans because I want a system with multiple intercommunicating organs and cell types, and because the human system is probably the best understood eukaryote system.

We will not study biological information (#6 above) in depth since most of you will cover that in your Biology courses, particularly genetics.

The Elements of Life

First, we will start with the basic requirements of an idealized, simplest life form and ask why life should use the particular atoms and molecules we see dominating in living organisms.

Periodic Table of Biologically Important Elements
 

 H
 

 He

 Li

Be
 

 B

C

N

O

F

Ne

Na

Mg

 Al

Si

P

S

Cl

Ar

K

Ca

Sc

Ti

V

Cr

Mn

Fe

Co

Ni

Cu

Zn

Ga

Ge

As

Se

Br

Kr
         

Mo
               Sn    

I
 

The following observations may be made regarding the elements of life:

Life is largely a phenomena of hydrogen and the second period of the Periodic Table. That is, the major component elements (red) in all known organisms are from these periods. Why these four elements?

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Last modified 23 January 2013