BCHM442 - Seminars in Biochemistry

Course Description:

BCHM 442 is tutorial/seminar style course designed to complement the Honours research thesis (BCHM 421/2). The pipeline of science through discovery, grant writing, patenting, publishing, and practical applications will be explored.  Instruction will be provided in scientific presentation and writing.

The class will work in pairs or small groups to prepare and deliver two major presentations. Along the way to these formal presentations the teams will make informal reporting sessions to the class designed to get feedback to improve the final product.

i) Project 1 can be chosen from a list of provided topics or developed in consultation with the class and instructor

ii) Project 2 will be an exercise in entrepreneurship. Each team will develop a business plan to exploit the practical applications of a chosen biochemical/innovation and steer it through intellectual property protection, research and development, marketing.

Class members will also work in teams to formally debate two science topics chosen by the class, and will work individually on some smaller assignments.

Course Objectives:

BCHM 442 is a capstone course.

A capstone course is offered as part of an academic major and serves as the culminating and integrative experience of a program of study.[1] The term derives from the final coping stone used to complete a stone arch.

A capstone course may also be referred to as a capstone experience, culminating project, or senior exhibition. It is common in undergraduate degrees at many United States and Canadian universities. According to the Glossary of Education Reform:

Capstone projects are generally designed to encourage students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting—i.e., skills that will help prepare them for college, modern careers, and adult life. In most cases, the projects are also interdisciplinary, in the sense that they require students to apply skills or investigate issues across many different subject areas or domains of knowledge. Capstone projects also tend to encourage students to connect their projects to community issues or problems, and to integrate outside-of-school learning experiences, including activities such interviews, scientific observations, or internships.[2]

Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capstone_course


Please read:  “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson (Available in paperback)


(Final breakdown to be decided in class.)

Suggested breakdown:

1st presentation – 20%

2nd presentation – 30%

Debate -10%

Participation – 15%

Individual assignments - 25%

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


At the end of BCHM 442 students will have practiced and improved their skills in oral presentations and discussions using PowerPoint slides to cover a variety of topics of current interest in biochemistry. They will have gained experience in debate and argument, and will have used teamwork to complete joint assignments. Students will also be conversant with the ‘pipeline of scientific knowledge’ from pure research, through patenting, publishing, grant writing, and practical applications.  To assist with the latter, students will have gained some experience in planning the protection and commercialization of an innovation in biochemistry.

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.


Peter L. Davies
Last Updated: Dec, 07 2016