Advanced Topics in Biology and Biochemistry: From the Cradle to the Grave – The Life and Death of Proteins (BIO4319.01)

Amie McClellan

The viability of a cell, and therefore an organism, depends upon the proper synthesis, function, and ultimately the destruction, of the proteins therein. This course will focus on understanding how proteins are made and degraded in the cell, with an emphasis on what happens in-between – how proteins fold, function, and localize to their proper cellular compartment(s). We will delve into the fundamental papers that mark initial progress in these areas, focusing on critical reading and discussion of the experimental design and conclusions. The role that molecular chaperones, the guardians of the cell, play in each important phase of the life of a protein will feature prominently in this course. Sample topics to be explored include: How do proteins fold? How do chaperones contribute to protein folding? How do proteins get to the proper cellular location? How are proteins targeted for and degraded by the proteasome? We will also discuss the relevance of these topics to human diseases linked to protein misfolding, malfunction, mislocalization, and/or aggregation including Cystic Fibrosis, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntingdon’s Disease. This is a primary literature-based course; students will read, present, and write critical summaries of foundational research papers; students will also select, read and present a more recent paper, relevant to the course material, on a topic of their choosing. One class meeting per week will be in the laboratory, where students will gain hands-on experience with protein research tools and methods and/or pursue independent research projects (for those with prior research tutorial experience in Amie’s lab).

Learning Outcomes:
Improved ability to effectively engage with the primary scientific literature

Improved ability to effectively convey/communicate research questions, methods, and findings to others

Improved ability to evaluate research findings and propose relevant control and/or follow-up experiments

Improved scientific writing skills

Ability to conduct basic laboratory techniques such as protein extract preparation, quantification, and analysis by SDS-PAGE and immunoblot

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Chemistry I with lab, Cell Biology with lab
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Biology , Chemistry , Four Credit , Fully In-Person
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