BIOC 750 Syllabus

BIOC 750 Advanced Proteins and Enzymology

Instructors: Gunther (coordinator), Shiemke, Ma, Smith, Schaller
Course format and credit hours: lecture, 4 credit hours
Prerequisites: organic chemistry, biochemistry
Schedule: Tues-Thurs, 2-4 PM
Location: 3122A HSN (Wirtz library)

Course Objectives

The objectives of this course are to present the current understanding of the chemical mechanisms of enzyme catalysis and of protein-structure relationships. Supporting information covering relevant biophysical and other techniques used to study enzyme structures, functions, and mechanisms will also be presented, from the primary literature where possible. The information will be presented in a combination of didactic lectures, group discussions of published data, and student presentations. The students are expected to complete significant reading assignments, normally drawn from the primary literature.

Required text

Introduction to Protein Structure, 2nd edition, Branden, C. and Tooze, J. (1999), New York: Garland Publishing.

Recommended supplemental text: Spectroscopy for the biological Sciences, Hammes, G.G. (2005) New York: Wiley and Sons


3 exams of equal weight: 50%
Semester-long project: 40%
Homework sets and class participation: 10%

Grading policy

No make-up exams except by prior arrangement with the instructor. No alterations to exam grades will be made after one week following the exams being returned to the students. Scores exceeding 90% will receive an A, scores from 80-90% are guaranteed a minimum grade of B, and scores under 60% will receive a maximum grade of C. The actual grading scale may differ somewhat from the traditional 90-80-70 grading scale, at the discretion of the faculty in the course.


Students will select a protein to follow across the entire semester. This may (but is not required to) be a protein in which they have a research interest. During block I they will be studying the structure of their protein and preparing a poster which outlines what they consider to be the key structural features of their selected protein. The poster will be shared with the class the last day of the block before the block I exam (presentation to be evaluated by several faculty members who attend the poster session). During block II the students will prepare a term paper indicating an experimental question regarding their selected protein and indicating what methods might be used to address the question and what specific experiments they might use. The term paper will be read and evaluated by at least two instructors.

During block III the students will study the chemical mechanism used by their selected protein and prepare a lecture presentation for the class (duration of lecture to depend, in part, upon number of students in the class) which will be presented during the last 2 weeks of class. In addition, the students will prepare an exam question from their presentation for the final exam and will evaluate the other student’s answers to their question. The student presentations will be evaluated by as many of the faculty members as can attend the presentations.

Attendance policy: Consistent with WVU guidelines, students absent from regularly scheduled examinations because of authorized university activities will have the opportunity to take the exams at an alternate time. Attendance is expected at all lectures and other activities in the course.

Social Justice Statement

"The West Virginia University community is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning and working environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and inclusion. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise me and make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Disability Services (293-6700). For more information on West Virginia University's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, please see"