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Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Alan M. Myers, Chair of Department
The department offers majors in biochemistry or biophysics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a major in agricultural biochemistry in the College of Agriculture.
Biochemists and biophysicists seek to understand life processes in terms of chemical and physical principles. They conduct research in the frontiers of biology such as metabolic networking; structure and function of enzymes, membranes, and hormones; computational approaches; genomic and proteomic technology; protein engineering; plant biotechnology; muscle structure and function; and the design and evaluation of drugs for the treatment of disease. Biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology provide the basis for much of modern biotechnology. Graduates have opportunities in industry, especially the biotechnology sector, in universities, veterinary medical, and medical schools, and government laboratories. Students who meet the necessary high scholastic standards have the opportunity to continue their studies in graduate school, medical school, or veterinary medical school.
Graduates of biochemistry, agricultural biochemistry and biophysics understand the chemical principles of biological systems including molecular biology. They have developed laboratory expertise in modern biochemical techniques, including the ability to analyze data and prepare scientific reports. Most have participated in undergraduate research and have developed the skills necessary for both written and oral presentations at a level that will serve the student both within the university and in postgraduate professional life. Graduates have the experience of interacting with persons of different disciplines and cultures. Students have the training in mathematics and physics to solve problems of broad scope in biological, biomedical and environmental sciences and to provide leadership in diverse scientific and technological arenas.
Agricultural Biochemistry Major in the College of Agriculture
For the undergraduate curriculum leading to the degree bachelor of science, see College of Agriculture, Curricula. Agricultural biochemistry is recommended to students interested in the areas of agriculture requiring strong preparation in biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, or in preparation for the study of veterinary medicine. Employment opportunities exist in agrochemical industries, and animal and plant biotechnology.
Biochemistry or Biophysics Majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
For the undergraduate curriculum leading to the degree of bachelor of science, see Liberal Arts and Sciences, Curriculum. Biochemistry and biophysics are recommended to students whose career interests involve advanced study or employment in biochemistry or biophysics, or in related areas of the biological or medical sciences.
Undergraduate majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in biochemistry usually have the following basic courses or their equivalents in their programs: BBMB 101, 102, 404, 405 (or 501, 502), 411, 461 or 551; Chem 177M, 177N, 178, 211, 211L, 321, 322, 322L, 331, 332, 333L, 334L; Math 165, 166, 265 or 266 or 267; Phys 221, 222; Biol 211, 211L (or 212L or 313L), 212, 313, 314, and a minimum of 4 additional credits of biological science courses from biology, botany, genetics, microbiology, and zoology. Undergraduate research, BBMB 499, is strongly recommended.
Undergraduate majors in biophysics usually include the following basic courses in their programs: BBMB 101, 461 or 551; Chem 177, 177L, 178, 211, 321, 321L (or 322L or Phys 311), 322, 331, 332, Math 165, 166, 265, 266; Phys 221, 222, 324 (or 321), and 232 or Com S 205; Biol 211, 211L (or 212L); Biol 212; and 9 additional credits in 300 or higher level courses in biochemistry, biophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, or physics. BBMB 404, 405 and Biol 313 are recommended in meeting this requirement for students preparing for careers in molecular biophysics. Students wishing a strong preparation for graduate studies are advised to take undergraduate research and further mathematics courses such as 385 and 465.
These lists of courses should not be regarded as statements of fixed requirements or as complete outlines of the work necessary for the major. They are given solely for the convenience of students or advisers who wish to estimate the amount of basic study that may be needed.
Biochemistry and biophysics majors are advised to meet the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences foreign language requirement with courses in French, German, or Russian.
See also the B.S./M.S. program under Graduate Study.
The department offers minors in biochemistry in both the College of Agriculture and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which may be earned by credit in BBMB 404, 405, 311 (or 411), and 451 (or Chem 321), plus additional supporting 300 level courses in chemistry or biochemistry for a total of 15 credits.
English proficiency requirement: Majors in agricultural biochemistry must complete Engl 104 and 105 and one course in speech fundamentals with a grade of C or better in each of these courses, and complete a communications intensive requirement equivalent to 3 credits from courses within the major. Majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must complete Engl 104 and 105 and one of the following with a grade of C- or better: (a) Engl 305, 309, or 314; (b) a written report in BBMB 411, or 499.
The department participates along with other biological science departments including GDCB and EEOB in offering interdepartmental majors in Biology and Genetics. Biology courses that are staffed in part by department faculty members include Biol 101, 313, 314, and 313L (See Biology).
Prerequisite to graduate work is a sound undergraduate background in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.
All graduate students are required by the department to teach as part of their training for an advanced degree.
The department offers a B.S./M.S. program in biochemistry that allows students to obtain both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in five years. The program is open to students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and in the College of Agriculture. Students interested in this program should contact the department office for details. Application for admission to the Graduate College should be made near the end of the junior undergraduate (third) year. Students would begin research for the M.S. thesis during the summer semester after their junior year and are eligible for research assistantships.
Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: 403, 404, 405, 411, 420, 451, 461.
Visit our departmental website at www/bb/iastate.edu
Courses primarily for undergraduate students
BBMB 102. Introduction to Biochemistry Laboratory. (0-2) Cr. 1. S. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in Chem 177 and 177L. Topics in the scientific background of biochemistry, such as macromolecules, metabolism, and catalysis. May include laboratory experiments as well as literature readings and discussion. A significant component is practice in scientific communication. For students majoring in biochemistry, agricultural biochemistry or biophysics or considering one of these majors.
BBMB 311. Biochemistry Laboratory. (1-3) Cr. 2. F.S. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in 301 or Biol 314. Emphasis on isolation, characterization, and quantification of biological substances. Not acceptable for credit toward a major in biochemistry or biophysics. Only one of BBMB 311 or Biol 314L can be counted toward graduation.
BBMB 404. Biochemistry I. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Chem 332. A general overview for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in agricultural, biological, chemical and nutritional sciences. Chemistry of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, vitamins; protein structure; enzymology; carbohydrate metabolism. Credit for both 420 and the 404, 405 sequence may not be applied toward graduation. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 405. Biochemistry II. (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: 404. A general overview for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in agricultural, biological, chemical, and nutritional sciences. Metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleotides and lipids; formation, turnover, and molecular relationships among DNA, RNA, and proteins; genetic code; regulation of gene expression; selected topics in the molecular physiology of plants and animals. Credit for both 420 and the 404, 405 sequence may not be applied toward graduation. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 411. Techniques in Biochemical Research. (1-8) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in 404 or 501,Chem 210 or 211. Introduction to laboratory techniques for studying biochemistry, including: chromatographic methods; electrophoresis; spectrophotometry; enzyme purification; enzyme kinetics; and characterization of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 420. Physiological Chemistry. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Chem 332, BBMB 301 or Biol 314. Structure and function of proteins; enzymology; biological oxidation; chemistry and metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleic acids; protein synthesis and the genetic code; relationship of biochemistry to selected animal diseases. Biochemistry of higher animals emphasized. Not acceptable for credit toward a major in agricultural biochemistry, biochemistry or biophysics. Credit for both 420 and the 404, 405 sequence may not be applied toward graduation. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 430. Procaryotic Diversity and Ecology. (Dual-listed with 530; Same as Micro 430.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2007. Prereq: Micro 302, Micro 302L. Survey of the diverse groups of procaryotes emphasizing important and distinguishing metabolic, phylogenetic, morphological, and ecological features of members of those groups.
BBMB 440. Laboratory in Microbial Physiology, Diversity, and Genetics. (Same as Micro 440.) See Microbiology.
BBMB 451. Physical Biochemistry. (2-0) Cr. 2. F. Prereq: Chem 331, Phys 112 or 222; a previous course in calculus is helpful but not required. Selected topics in physical chemistry in the context of applications to problems in biology, biochemistry and food sciences. Not acceptable for credit toward a major in biochemistry or biophysics. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 461. Topics in Biophysics. (2-0) Cr. 2. S. Prereq: 451 or Chem 321 or Phys 304. Biological phenomena viewed as problems in physics, with a focus on structure determinations and macromolecular characterization. Nonmajor graduate credit.
BBMB 490. Independent Study. Cr. arr. F.S.SS. Prereq: College of Agriculture: junior or senior classification and permission of instructor; a maximum of 9 credits of 490 may be applied toward graduation; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: permission of instructor. H. Honors
BBMB 499. Undergraduate Research. Cr. 1 to 5. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of staff member with whom student proposes to work. Research under senior staff guidance.
Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduate students
BBMB 502. Comprehensive Biochemistry II. (4-0) Cr. 4. S. Prereq: 501. Chemical composition of living matter and the chemistry of life processes. Metabolism of lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides; membrane biochemistry; biosynthesis of DNA, RNA, and proteins; gene regulation; selected topics.
BBMB 503. Bioinorganic Chemistry. (Same as Chem 503.) See Chemistry.
BBMB 520. Genetic Engineering. (Same as GDCB 520.) See Genetics, Development and Cell Biology.
BBMB 530. Procaryotic Diversity and Ecology. (Dual-listed with 430; Same as Micro 530.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2007. Prereq: Micro 302, Micro 302L. Survey of the diverse groups of procaryotes emphasizing important and distinguishing metabolic, phylogenetic, morphological, and ecological features of members of those groups.
BBMB 531. Structure and Reactivity of Biomolecules. (3-0) Cr. 1. F. Five weeks. Prereq: Chem 332. Special properties of reactive groups prevalent in biomolecules and reactions commonly encountered in biochemical studies. A study of reaction types and mechanisms in biochemistry.
BBMB 541. Computational Biochemistry. (1-0) Cr. 1. F. Prereq: A previous course in biochemistry is recommended. Computer applications in biochemical research.
BBMB 542. Introduction to Molecular Biology Techniques. (Same as GDCB 542.) Cr. 1 per module. F.S.SS. Prereq: Graduate classification. Workshops in basic molecular biology techniques and related procedures. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
BBMB 551. Molecular Biophysics. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Chem 322. An examination of physical methodsfor the study of molecular structure and organization of biological materials, with emphasis on applications. Spectroscopy, hydrodynamic methods, nuclear magnetic resonance, and X-ray diffraction.
BBMB 581. Seminar. (1-0) Cr. 1. F. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Short presentations by students and discussion on assigned topics. For entering graduate students.
BBMB 590. Special Topics. F.S.SS. Cr. arr.
BBMB 593. Workshop in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Cr. 1 each time taken. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Graduate workshops in selected topics in biochemistry and biophysics. Credit in this course does not meet the requirement for advanced graduate electives in Biochemistry.
Courses for Graduate students
BBMB 607. Plant Biochemistry. (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. F., offered 2006. Thornburg, Nikolau. Prereq: 405 or 502. Description of unique aspects of plant biochemistry including lipid metabolism, cell wall structure, secondary metabolism, phytoalexin biosynthesis, and plant defenses.
BBMB 615. Molecular Immunology. (Same as Micro 615, V MPM 615.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2006. Prereq: 405 or 502. Buss. Current topics in molecular aspects of immunology: T and B cell receptors; major histocompatibility complex; antibody structure; immunosuppressive drugs and viruses; and intracellular signalling pathways leading to expression of genes that control and activate immune function.
BBMB 622. Carbohydrate Chemistry. (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. S., offered 2006. Robyt. Prereq: 404 or 501. Structure, occurrence, properties, function, and chemical and enzymatic modifications of monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins.
BBMB 632. Kinetics of Enzyme Action. (2-0) Cr. 1 or 2. 8 or 16 weeks. Alt. S., offered 2007. Fromm. Prereq: 501. The one-credit version stresses the fundamentals of enzyme kinetics. Topics include integrated rate equations, methods for deriving initial-rate equations, inhibition, product effects, and methods for verifying kinetic mechanisms. The two-credit version covers the same material plus additional topics such as allostery, hysteresis, isotope effects, and complex kinetic mechanisms.
BBMB 640. Signal Transduction. (Same as GDCB 640.) See Genetics, Development and Cell Biology.
BBMB 642. Mechanisms of Enzymatic Catalysis. (2-0) Cr. 1. First 8 weeks. Alt. F., offered 2006. Prereq: 404, 420, or 501. The chemical basis of enzymatic catalysis with emphasis on mechanisms of substrate recognition, general acid-base catalysis and stereoelectronic factors.
BBMB 645. Molecular Signaling. (3-0) Cr. 2. Alt. S., offered 2007. Nilsen-Hamilton. Prereq: 405, 420, or 502. Molecular mechanisms of cellular signaling including receptor activation, desensitization and cross talk, signal transduction pathways, and nuclear receptors. Discussion includes a variety of cell surface receptors and their hormone; growth factor and extracellular matrix activators; protein kinases; caspase and transcription factor downstream signals; lipids, gases and cyclic nucleotides as regulators of cell signaling. Course content includes current literature, student and instructor presentations and research proposal writing.
BBMB 652. Protein Chemistry-Chemical Methods. (2-0) Cr. 1. 8 weeks. S. Prereq: 404 or 501. Chemical reactions as a means of determining protein structure and biological function.
BBMB 653. Protein Chemistry-Physical Methods. (2-0) Cr. 1. 8 weeks. S. Prereq: 404 or 501. Protein structure determination as a means of understanding biological function.
BBMB 660. Membrane Biochemistry. (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. F., offered 2006. Prereq: 405 or 502. Protein and lipid constituents of biological membranes. Structure and topography of membrane proteins. Selected topics concerning the membrane proteins involved in diverse biochemical processes, such as energy transduction transport across membranes, neurotransmission and signal transduction.
BBMB 661. Current Topics in Neurobiology. (Same as Neuro 661, GDCB 661.) Cr. 2 to 3 each time taken. F. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Topics may include membrane biophysics, ion channel mechanisms, cellular communication, hormones and behavior, neural integration, developmental neurobiology, neuroanatomy and ultrastructre, sensory biology, social behavior, techniques in neurobiology and behavior.
BBMB 670. Molecular Biology of Muscle. (Same as An S 670.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2006. Huiatt, Robson. Prereq: 405, 420, or 502. Ultrastructure of muscle; chemistry, structure, function, and molecular biology of muscle proteins. Molecular aspects of muscle contraction, development, and turnover. Cytoskeletal proteins and dynamics.
BBMB 675. Nucleic Acid Structure and Function. (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: 405 or 502. In-depth discussion of nucleic acid properties, structures and structure/function relationships. Interactions between nucleic acids and proteins will be emphasized.
BBMB 676. Biochemistry of Gene Expression in Eucaryotes. (Same as MCDB 676.) (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. S., offered 2006. Prereq: 404 or 501, 405 or 502 or GDCB 511. Analysis of the biochemical processes involved in expression of eucaryotic genes and the regulation thereof, including RNA polymerase, transcriptional regulatory proteins, enhancers and silencers, chromosome structure, termination, RNA processing, RNA transport, RNA turnover, translational regulation, protein turnover.
BBMB 681. Advanced Seminar. Cr. 1 each time taken. F.S. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Student presentations.
BBMB 682. Departmental Seminar. Cr. R. F.S. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Staff and visitor research.
BBMB 696P. Seminar in Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology. (Same as GDCB 696P.) See Genetics, Development and Cell Biology .
BBMB 698. Seminar in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. (Same as MCDB 698.) See Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
BBMB 699. Research. Prereq: Permission ofinstructor.