Course Specifics:

Instructor: Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert

Office: Sims 301B

Office hours: T 10:00-11:00, F 10:00-11:00 and by appointment

Phone: 323-4928


Meeting Times:

Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00 - 9:15 AM, Sims 112

3 credit hours

Textbook: Biochemistry, 9th ed by Berg, Tymoczko, Gatto and Stryer

Course Outline and Objectives:

We will cover the following topics during the semester:

Course Outline:

Biochemistry is the branch of science focused on studying the structure, function and interactions of the molecules found in living systems. Its very name tells you that it is a hybrid discipline incorporating biology, organic chemistry, physcial chemistry and even physics into the study of the chemical reactions and interactions that allow life to exist. The goal of this course is to familiarize you with the vocabulary and concepts necessary to understand how living cells function at the molecular level. We will spend one half of the semester learning the basics of biological molecules: amino acids, proteins, sugars, polysaccharide, lipids and membranes. In the second half of the semester, we will put these basic building blocks into motion and study membrane transport, signal transduction, glycolysis and the citric acid cycle.

This is a 500 level course, which means that the concepts we will discuss are advanced and will require you to spend a lot of time and work outside of the classroom to fully understand and apply them. To ensure that you do not fall behind, the bulk of the points in the course will come from online homework assignments in Sapling plus, specifically Reading Quizzes and Homework problems. These assignments are not meant to overburden you, but rather to help you learn as we go and to prevent you from trying to cram before each exam.

This class is meant to push you to your limits and will help you tie together concepts and information you have learned in general chemistry, organic chemistry and various biology courses you have taken during your college career. Every bit of effort you put into this class will be rewarded with a better understanding of the role of chemistry in biological systems and will be reflected in the grade you earn for the course. Go ahead and plan to work on the material for this class at least 10-15 hours a week.

CHEM520 Section 001 Tentative Course Schedule

For specific dates and assignments, please visit the "Course Schedule" page from the link in the top right

Week Topic
1 Course Introduction and the Importance of water
2 Amino acids and Protein Structure
  Exploring proteins and proteomes
3 Computational biology
4 Hemoglobin: Structure and function
5 Test 1
6 Enzyme Kinetics
  Catalytic strategies
7 Regulatory Strategies
8 Test 2
9 Carbohydrates
10 Spring Break
11 Lipids and Membranes
12 Signal Transduction
13 Metabolism
14 Glycolysis and the Citric Acid Cycle
15 Test 3

Grading for the course

Reading Quizzes

Because of the sheer volume of material covered this semester (13 chapters in 15 weeks!) you must approach this course differently than you would other courses. You must read the textbook, ideally BEFORE coming to lecture, so that you have a better grasp of what you don't understand. Once we have wrapped up the lectures on a given chapter, you will be expected to have read the chapter and answer some basic questions about the material. These are not meant to be punitive, but are meant to help you stay on track and avoid falling behind. All Reading Quizzes will be returned to me by the start of class on the due date via Rocketbook.

Homework Problems

Homework assignments (11 in total) will be due throughout the course, usually the week after finishing a topic. The goal of these assignments is to help you review the material covered in the chapter so that you know what to spend the most time on during the in-class test review or while you study for the test. All homework assignments in this class will be completed and returned to me using Rocketbook pages. The assignments must be completed by midnight on the due date.


Four tests will be administered during the semester. Understanding concepts from the beginning of the semester will be crucial to understanding concepts discussed at the end of the semester, so while the tests are not strictly cumulative, students are always responsible for material learned throughout the semester. Each exam will be worth 100 points. Tests will be taken during the class meeting time indicated on the Detailed Class Schedule webpage.

Final Exam

A cumulative final exam will be given on the scheduled date at the end of the semester.

Extra Credit Opportunities

Throughout the semester you will be given several opportunities to earn extra credit points. These opportunities will be challenging and are meant to be difficult. Failure to complete the assignment exactly as instructed will result in no points being awarded. Extra credit assignments are always non-negotiable: You do the assignment completely, you do the assignment well and you do the assignment in the manner it was intended to be done or you do not get any bonus points.


Test 1 (7 February, 2020)

Test 2 (2 March, 2020)

Test 3 (4 April, 2020)

Each test will have a value of 100 points

Final Exam 8:00AM Saturday, 29 April, 2020

The final exam is cumulative and you must make at least a 50% on the exam to pass the course. The final exam will cover the entire course and will have a value of 200 points

Total Possible Points

Total Possible Points = 1075 Points


A: 90 - 100%

B+: 87 - 89%

B: 80 - 86%

C+: 77 - 79%

C: 70 - 76%

D: 60 - 69%

F: <59%