BCHM421 - Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory I

Course Description:

Welcome to BCHM 421!  For most Biochem SSP students. This will be the highlight of your Queen's education in Biochemistry.  You will join a research lab, and develop your own project! 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at ac15@queensu.ca

Course Objectives:

Course Goals and Objectives

To conduct an independent research project using advanced biochemistry techniques.  Evaluation is based on a literature review, oral presentation and lab performance.  The expected time commitment is 12-16 hours/week on average, worth 6 course credits.  Note that in most circumstances, student will remain in same lab to conduct BCHM 422 course in winter semester.

Textbook: There are no textbooks associated with this course.

Grading Scheme

30%    Written Report: in the form of a literature review (JBC mini-review format); the final paragraph of the review can speak to the specific objectives of your project and how it will address remaining questions in this research area (due 4:00pm 11th Nov. 2016).

45%    Research Proposal & Progress Presentations:   on project background, specific objectives & progress in small group settings. (10-15 min talk with 5 min questions; will take place on Mon 5th and Tues 6th Dec 2016 in Room 816 Botterell Hal from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (students asked to attend the session they are scheduled in). Sessions will include students working in a similar field and several faculty members (supervisors and others)

25%    Lab performance: You are expected to be in the lab approx. 12-16 hrs/week, however, some weeks may be less and others more.  You are encouraged to integrate yourselves into the lab!

Grading Method:

Grading Method

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks.  The final grade you receive for the course will be derived by converting your numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale:


                                          Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale


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


Late Policy

Failure to meet deadlines for written or oral assignments will result in loss of >10% of mark, at the discretion of course coordinator.


Each student will have assistance and training in their host lab to help them become familiar with lab techniques and safety.   We expect all students to spend a considerable amount of their time outside of classes (12-16 hours/week) on the completion of this course.  We expect that BCHM 421 students will become more independent in designing, carrying out, and analyzing their results as the year progresses.

•           All students must have WHMIS certificates to complete this course, so if you don’t have one, please sign up for the course through Environmental Health and Safety website https://www.queensu.ca/safety/courses/whmis.htm


General Safety guidelines for your safety:

  • Never work alone in the lab, especially during evenings or weekends
  • If using equipment for the first time, ask for help!
  • Wear proper eye protection when using UV light boxes
  • Wear gloves when handling ethidium bromide gels and chemicals
  • Do not open lid of a centrifuge until it has stopped spinning
  • If unsure of anything, please seek immediate help from an experienced lab member


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
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.


Robert Campbell
Andrew Craig

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, contact Course Coordinator: Dr. Robert Campbell

Last Updated: Oct, 12 2016