Biological chemistry studies the chemical basis of biological processes. As such, it is an interdisciplinary combination of biology and chemistry requiring a distinct subset of material from both fields. The core courses of the major introduce students to methods of inquiry into biological chemistry and consider the structure and function of nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, and how these molecules mediate chemical processes in the cell. These core courses are designed jointly by members of the biology and chemistry departments to emphasize the interrelationships of the topics being presented. Elective courses enable students to consider specific topics within the broad range of biological chemistry in greater depth. All of the instrumentation in both the biology and chemistry departments is available for the courses and research projects of biological chemistry majors. Majors are encouraged to participate in research projects with faculty in biology or chemistry.
A minimum of 32 credits. Core requirements (28 credits):
- Biology 150 Introduction to Biological Inquiry
- Chemistry 129 General Chemistry or Chemistry 210 Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry
- Biology 251 Molecules, Cells, and Organisms
- Chemistry 221 and 222 Organic Chemistry I and II
- Biological Chemistry 262 Introduction to Biological Chemistry
- Chemistry 363 Physical Chemistry
Advanced electives from this list (4 credits):
- Biology 334 Plant Physiology*
- Biology 345 Advanced Genetics*
- Biology 346 Environmental Microbiology
- Biology 365 Microbiology*
- Biology 370 Advanced Cell Biology*
- Biology 380 Molecular Biology
- Chemistry 330 Enzyme Mechanisms*
- Chemistry 332 Biophysical Chemistry*
- Chemistry 358 Instrumental Analysis
- Mathematics 133 and Physics 131 and 132
To be considered for honors in biological chemistry, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must complete an independent research project, present the work in a public format at Grinnell, and demonstrate, by committee consensus, excellence in the work. Achieving honors also requires that you contribute substantially to the program in other ways, for example, by regularly attending seminars, being a teaching assistant or mentor, serving on the SEPC, or participating in outreach activities. The faculty believes that honors signify both academic excellence and an unusually high commitment and dedication to the discipline. Graduating with honors in biological chemistry should not be regarded solely as the culmination of previous accomplishments, but rather an expectation of future accomplishments in the discipline in the years ahead.
An introduction to chemical properties and biological functions of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. Topics in lecture and lab include purifying and characterizing proteins, enzyme kinetics, and basic energy metabolism. Three lectures and one scheduled lab each week.
- College Catalog