BCHM317/319 - Introduction to Biochemistry Laboratory

Course Description:

The BCHM 317 labs have been designed to introduce the experimental nature of Biochemistry.  Fundamental techniques of biochemical research are illustrated through a range of experiments demonstrating various aspects of biochemical theory and practice. In the fall term these include; pipetting exercises; acid-base titrations on amino acids; protein assays; ion-exchange and thin-layer chromatography; protein purification procedures, including affinity chromatography; electrophoresis of proteins; enzyme purification and kinetics; immunodiffusion and immunosorbent assays. In the winter term, experiments include: the isolation and characterization of genomic DNA, purification and analysis of plasmid DNA, amplification of DNA by the polymerase chain reaction, restriction endonuclease analysis; measurements of mitochondrial respiration and electron transport; the protein chemistry of disulfide bonds. Students in this course will (i) work cooperatively in pairs, or teams of four; (ii) encounter a variety of equipment used in biochemical studies; (iii) gain proficiency in working with samples on a microliter and microgram scale; (iv) learn how to appropriately treat and interpret a variety of experimental biochemical data; and, (v) acquire skills in the presentation of experimental results in the form of written laboratory reports.

 

The experiments are designed to complement BCHM 315/316; however, because of time and scheduling considerations, it is not always possible for lecture and laboratory components to match each other chronologically.  The experiments are designed to illustrate principles and practices that underpin all quality research in biochemistry, and thus will provide an excellent grounding for doing an Honours thesis project (BCHM 421/422), summer research and graduate research in Biochemistry.

Course Objectives:
The BCHM 317 laboratory exercises have been designed to introduce the experimental nature of Biochemistry.  Fundamental techniques of biochemical research are illustrated through a variety of experiments demonstrating various aspects of biochemical theory and practice. The student will (i) encounter a variety of equipment used in biochemical studies; (ii) gain proficiency in working with samples on a microliter and microgram scale; (iii) learn how to appropriately treat and interpret a variety of experimental biochemical data; and (iv) acquire skills in the presentation of experimental results in the form of written laboratory reports.
Textbook: There is no requirement to purchase a textbook. All of the essential details for conducting the experiments will be provided on-line in the BCHM 317 manual.
Evaluation:

Laboratory reports                                                      70%

Pre-lab quizzes                                                           15%

Laboratory practical tests             FALL                      7.5%

Laboratory practical tests             WINTER               7.5%

Grading Method: Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale

Grade  Numerical Course Average (Range)

A+            90-100

A              85-89

A-             80-84

B+            77-79

B              73-76

B-             70-72

C+            67-69

C              63-66

C-             60-62

D+            57-59

D              53-56

D-             50-52

F              49 and below

Expectations: By the end of the course, students should be familiar enough with common biochemical techniques to be able to apply them in a research setting as a summer student or Honours research thesis student.  In BCHM 317 the practical investigation of biochemistry principles learned in lectures will help the comprehension and recall of this material. Students will have been trained to make observations, suggest and test hypotheses, and appreciate the scientific rigor needed to prove a principle. During the course, feedback on written laboratory reports will lead to improvements in scientific writing, documentation, and illustration that will be a valuable skill for any managerial position.
Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see www.academicintegrity.org). These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of thecommunity will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (see the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities: http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/policies/senateandtrustees/principlespriorities.html).

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar (see Academic Regulation 1
http://www.queensu.ca/artsci/academic-calendars/regulations/academic-regulations/regulation-1

1), on the Arts and Science website (see http://www.queensu.ca/artsci/academics/undergraduate/academic-integrity), and from the instructor of this course. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen's. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.

Instructors:

Peter L. Davies
Bruce C. Hill
Robert Campbell

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, contact Course Coordinator: Peter L. Davies or Bruce C. Hill

Last Updated: Jan, 29 2015