Learning Goals

The general learning goals of the Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry are:

  • Knowledge, comprehension, and application of information in core areas of biochemistry
  • Analysis and synthesis of information in these areas using oral and written communication
  • Analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of originally conceived and developed biochemical information in a specific area of research

Specific learning goals within the core curriculum include the following:   

  • Basic facts about the structure and functions of biological macromolecules: nucleic acids, peptides and proteins including structural and binding proteins; enzymes and enzyme kinetics
  • Structures and properties of organic molecules in cellular metabolism
  • Design of key metabolic pathways and their regulation
  • Molecular biology including mechanisms of DNA replication, repair, modification; RNA and ribozyme structure and function; comparison of eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems throughout
  • Ribosome structure and function; the genetic code
  • Membrane structure; receptors, transporters, ion channels
  • Cell signaling; protein trafficking
  • Bioorganic chemistry: the chemical properties of organic molecules relevant to biological systems; mechanisms of chemical reactions in which these molecules participate; corollaries with enzyme mechanisms
  • Physical biochemistry: chemical thermodynamics; chemical equilibrium and reaction free energy; modern methods for biochemical calculations; application of modern techniques for the analysis of macromolecular structure and function including spectroscopic methods, crystallography, separation methods, measurement of physical properties of macromolecules

Learning goals in advanced (second year) courses may include:

  • Enzymology (mechanisms/structural features in prokaryotic and eukaryotic examples)
  • Biophysics (structural biology; principles and techniques for structure determination)
  • Bioinformatics and Computer Coding