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Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert
301B Sims Science Bldg
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2246 (fax)

CHEM520X: Essentials of Biochemistry (Spring 2017)

Course Specifics:

Instructor:       Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert
                          Office:  Sims 301B
                          Office hours:  MWRF 11-12 and by appointment
                          Phone:  323-4928

Meeting Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 5:00 - 6:15PM
Location: Sims 112

Textbook: Biochemistry, 8th edition by Berg, Tymoczko, Gattto and Stryer (required) Since many of you will be taking the MCAT, PCAT or DAT this summer, purchase AND read the textbook. You will need the book to help you study for those exams once the semester is complete.

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, physical 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 third of the semester learning the basics of biological molecules: amino acids, proteins, sugars, polysaccharides and nucleic acids. In the second third of the semester, we will learn about the rules governing enzymatic function. Finally, in the last part of the semester, we will look at the key reactions and processes that allow cells to convert the static information contained within the genome into functional proteins that allow the cell to adapt to its environment.

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. Most importantly, this course will not rely on your ability to memorize information, but will require you to memorize information and apply it to new situations. Go ahead and plan to work on the material for this class at least 10-15 hours a week.

Week Date Topic  

10 Jan

Course Introduction

Chapter 1: Biochemistry: An Evolving Science

12 Jan

Chapter 2: Protein Composition and Structure


17 Jan

Chapter 4: DNA, RNA and the Flow of Genetic Information

19 Jan

Chapter 7: Hemoglobin: Portrait of a Protein in Action

Link to Powerpoint of Lecture

Link to audio recording of lecture

(80 Mb file! The lecture lasts 1 hour 24 minutes, but it is enthralling, trust me. My cat couldn't leave the room he was so engaged in the topic. He was locked in the room and asleep, but I took that as complete engagement.)


24 Jan

Review for Exam 1

26 Jan

Test 1


31 Jan

Chapter 8: Enzymes: Basic Concepts and Kinetics

2 Feb

Chapter 9: Catalytic Strategies


7 Feb

Chapter 10 Regulatory Strategies

9 Feb

Chapter 11: Carbohydrates


14 Feb

Chapter 12: Lipids and Cell Membranes

16 Feb

Chapter 13: Membrane Channels and Pumps


21 Feb

Chapter 14: Signal Transduction Pathways

23 Feb

Review for Test 2


28 Feb

Test 2

2 Mar

Chapter 15 Metabolism: Basic Concepts


7 Mar

Chapter 16: Glycolysis and Gluconeogenesis

9 Mar

Chapter 17: The Citric Acid Cycle

10 13 Mar - 17 Mar
Spring Break
11 21 Mar

Chapter 18: Oxidative Phosphorylation

23 Mar

Chapter 22: Fatty Acid Metabolism



28 Mar

Review for Test 3

30 Mar

Test 3




4 Apr

Chapter 28: DNA Replcation

6 Apr

Chapter 29: RNA Synthesis and Processing


11 Apr

Chapter 30: Protein Synthesis

13 Apr

Chapter 31: The Control of Gene Expression in Prokaryotes


18 Apr

Review for Test 4

20 Apr

Test 4

Final Exam: Saturday, 29 April at 11:30 AM in Sims 112

Grading for the Course

Homework Problems
Because we cover so much material during the semester, you will have small homework assignments due on the review days before each exam. These assignments are due at the start of the class session.  If you show up late to class, DO NOT COME TO THE FRONT OF THE ROOM AND TURN IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT!  Wait until class is over and turn it in.

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. Exams 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.

Final Grade

Homework Assignments: 4 x 50 points = 200 points
Tests: 4 x 100 points = 400 points
Final Exam: 200 points
Total Number of Points for Course: 800 points

Grading Scale:

A: >93% of the total Points
A-: 90.0 - 92.9% of the total points
B+: 87 - 89.9% of the total Points
B: 83 - 86% of the total Points
B-: 80 - 82.9% of the total points
C+: 77 - 79.9% of the total Points
C: 70 - 76.9% of the total Points
D: 60 - 69.9% of the total Points
F: <60% of the total Points

Technology in the Classroom

No cellular phones may be used when class is meeting. Once class starts, all cellular telephones must be turned to silent mode for the duration of class. Should your cellular telephone ring while the class is meeting, you will be asked only once to silence it. A second violation of this policy will result in immediate removal from that class session. Anyone caught using these devices during class without prior permission will immediately be asked to leave the class. Anyone caught texting, using Facebook or other forms of social media during class will be immediately ejected from class. This policy is non-negotiable and will be enforced without exception. ANY and ALL violations of these rules will result in forfeiture of all earned bonus points and violators will also be ineligible for future extra credit opportunities.

Student Code of Conduct

As noted in the Student Conduct Code: “Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.” The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in the “Student Conduct Code Academic Misconduct Policy” in the online Student Handbook.

Time Management and Your Role as a Student

As members of the Winthrop community of life-long learners, you are expected to treat your role as a student with the utmost respect and seriousness. Properly mangaging your time and effort is a big part of that and I urge you to begin working on assignments as early and often as possible. Not only will your life be a lot less stressful because you aren't trying to cram everything in at the last minute, but you can also identify things that you are having trouble understanding with enough time to ask me for help. If you know that you have a scheduling conflict with an assignment due in this course, please come talk to me about it as soon as possible. I will do everything I can to work with you, but I expect you to shoulder your responsibilities as part of the partnership.

Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education.  If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 323-3290.  Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.