Biochemistry I

CHEM 4401

Course Description

CHEM 4401 is the first half of a two-semester course that covers the structure and function of the major biomolecules (amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and polysaccharides) as well as the major metabolic pathways involved in their synthesis and degradation. This course has a laboratory component that covers basic biochemical techniques, the use of various biochemistry databases, and the analysis and preparation of biochemical data.

Course Objectives

Identify important biochemical functional groups, the types of bonds (hydrogen, ionic, hydrophobic, etc.) they typically form, and the impact these bonds have on biochemical structure, activity and function.

Recognize and describe the chemical and physical properties of water, its relationship to ionization constants, the pH of a solution, and its role in the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids.

Identify the major classes of small biochemical compounds (amino acids, carbohydrates, nucleotides, lipids), compare and contrast their chemical characteristics and biological roles.

Describe the primary features of protein structure and function, including ligand binding, enzyme catalysis and the regulation of enzyme activity.

Recognize the primary features of polysaccharide structure and function, and describe their major biological roles.

Recognize the primary features of nucleic acid (DNA, RNA) structure, compare and contrast their functions and major biological roles.

Describe the construction and function of biological membranes.

Identify and describe the basic mechanisms of biological signal transduction.

Perform basic biochemistry procedures, including: buffer preparation, spectrophotometry, chromatography, enzyme preparation, kinetic analysis and standard bioinformatics techniques.

Analyze experimental protocols, perform standard biochemical calculations, critique data, and prepare results for oral or written presentation.


Cells & Organelles


Common organic & biochemical reactions

The central role of water

Amino acids

Protein Structure

Protein function: ligand binding

Enzymes: general properties

Enzymes: Kinetics

Enzymes: Mechanisms

Enzymes: Regulation

Carbohydrates: structure, properties & functions

Nucleic acids: structure, properties & functions

Lipids: structure, properties & functions

Biological membranes


Powerpoint slides (Old)


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Amino Acid Abbreviations .pdf

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