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Course Descriptions

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics usually have a baccalaureate degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or biology, and have taken courses in introductory biochemistry, calculus, physical and organic chemistry, and physics. Students who have not completed these courses must do so within their first year of graduate study. GRE test scores are required of all applicants.

Students develop their program of study with a committee of three faculty members. This program must satisfy requirements in the areas of biochemistry, advanced chemistry, cell biology, gene expression, and mathematics, in addition to special interest electives. Except for seminars, the program is typically completed within the student's first two years. Students must submit and orally defend a written research proposal at the end of their second year of residence. Demonstrated knowledge of a foreign language is not required for a graduate degree in biochemistry.

The thesis advisor is chosen after completion of rotations in two or more laboratories, normally at the end of the first year. A research committee, including the advisor, is formed at this time. Research for the dissertation is regarded as the candidate's major training. The final examination for the Ph.D is devoted entirely to a defense of the dissertation by the candidate. Generally the degree program is completed in five years.

Box 440, Jordan Hall
P.O. Box 800733
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0733
(434) 924-2508 Fax: (434) 925-5069

Course Descriptions


BIOC 503 - (4) (S)
Biochemistry: Macromolecular Structure and Function

Prerequisite: Calculus, organic chemistry, physical chemistry. Some introductory knowledge assumed.
Provides the necessary background at the professional level for careers in a variety of biological and physical sciences.

BIOC 505, 506 - (2-6) (S)
Biochemistry Projects

Open only to graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Introduces biochemical research. Students conduct two or more research projects of limited scope under the direction of staff members.

BIOC 508 - (3) (SI)
Computer Analysis of DNA and Protein Sequences

Prerequisite: MICR 811 or instructor permission.
Surveys computer methods for analyzing DNA and protein sequences. Discusses analytical methods, including DNA and protein sequence comparisons; recognition of patterns in DNA and protein sequences; finding genes; protein structure prediction; analyzing protein 3-D structure; and constructing evolutionary trees.

BIOC 510 - (2) (SI)
DNA Replication

Prerequisite: BIOC 503 or instructor permission.
Examines the process of DNA replication in prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral systems. Includes DNA structure and function; origins, inhibitors, and enzymes of DNA replication; and protein-nucleic acid interactions.

BIOC 701, 702 - (2) (S)
Introduction to Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Prerequisite: One year of undergraduate physical chemistry plus either BIOC 503 or CHEM 743/744; or instructor permission.
Studies physical approaches for examining the structure and dynamics of biological molecules. First semester: thermodynamics and kinetics of biochemical interactions, including ligand binding, cooperativity, conformational changes of proteins and nucleic acids, and biochemical regulation. Second semester: spectroscopy, including optical and magnetic resonance methods. Introduces X-ray, electron, and neutron diffraction methods.

BIOC 703, 704 - (1) (S)
Advanced Concepts in Biophysical Chemistry

Corequisite: BIOC 701, 702.
In-depth treatment of selected topics presented in BIOC 701, 702. Emphasizes using more quantitative tools (such as partition functions, statistical calculus, elementary group theory, quantum mechanical operators, and matrix algebra) to explain the phenomena presented in the introductory course.

BIOC 801, 802 - (3) (SI)
Physical Chemistry of Biopolymers

Considers the physicochemical principles and technical approaches current in the study of biopolymers. Emphasizes thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Multiple equilibria including subunit interactions, ligand binding, structure and function are discussed in detail. Offered as required.

BIOC 813, 814 - (1) (S)

Research seminars by invited guests and research personnel within the department. All biochemistry graduate students must attend.

BIOC 815, 816 - (1) (S)
Biochemical Literature

A continuing seminar based on papers in the current literature. Participation is required.

BIOC 817 - (3) (O)
Structure and Function of Proteins

Prerequisite: BIOC 503 or instructor permission.
Includes molecular modeling, protein/receptor interactions; cytoskeletal communication with matrix; supramolecular assembly of proteins; regulation of enzymatic activity; protein/DNA interactions; regulation via covalent modification of proteins; protein/membrane interactions; protein evolution; protein processing; and proteins in molecular motion.

Note BIOC 901, 902 through BIOC 997 are taken for doctoral research, before a dissertation director has been selected.

BIOC 901, 902 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Research in Biochemistry of Connective Tissue

BIOC 903, 904 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Transcriptional Regulation

BIOC 905, 906 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Biophysical Aspects of Biological Membranes

BIOC 907, 908 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Nuclear Protein Transport

BIOC 909, 910 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, the Molecular Biology of Microbial Transport Processes

BIOC 911, 912 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Regulation of Eukaryotic DNA Replication

BIOC 913, 914 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, the "Stimulus-Response" Sequence in Blood Platelet Activation

BIOC 915, 916 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Molecular Genetics of Human Neoplasia

BIOC 917, 918 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, DNA Replication and Amplification in Mammalian Cells

BIOC 919, 920 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Molecular Biology of Tumor Suppressors

BIOC 923, 924 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Chromatin Structure and Function

BIOC 925, 926 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Biophysical Chemistry of Phospholipid Assemblies and Protein Kinase Function

BIOC 927, 928 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Yeast Genetics and Cell Cycle

BIOC 929, 930 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics by NMR

BIOC 931, 932 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Structure of Macromolecular Complexes

BIOC 933, 934 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Regulation of Mitosis

BIOC 935, 936 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Transcriptional Silencing

BIOC 937, 938 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Molecular Biology of Mammalian Hormone Action

BIOC 939, 940 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Transcription Development

BIOC 945, 946 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Research in Mammalian Gene Expression

BIOC 949, 950 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Biophysical and Immunological Studies of Immune Complex Mediated Diseases

BIOC 957, 958 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, DNA Replication and Protein Nucleic Acid Interactions

BIOC 959, 960 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Topical Research, Research Proteinases and Proteinase Inhibitors

BIOC 997 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research

BIOC 999 - (3-12) (S-SS)
Non-Topical Research

For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

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