Bio 548 – Nucleic Acids and Protein Synthesis

Eric Galburt
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
251 McDonnell Sciences Building
Telephone: 314-362-5201


Lectures: Holden Auditorium
Time: MWF 10:30-11:30 AM
Discussions: Locations in syllabus, 2-3 Fridays per month, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

2019 Syllabus


This course is designed for graduate students and upper level undergraduate students who have a basic knowledge in molecular biology and nucleic acid biochemistry from their undergraduate studies. Experience in organic chemistry, cell biology, and genetics is also useful.

Formal lectures in all areas pertaining to role of nucleic acids in biology are taught by a team of lecturers with the goal of providing the necessary background information for students to become independent learners both within and beyond the fields covered. These lectures are complemented with small group discussion sections where the students gain experience reading and interpreting primary literature, presenting to their peers, and participating in a scientific discussion.

Lecture materials: The slides used during lectures will be uploaded to the course website for reference. There is no text book, although standard Biochemistry or Molecular Biology textbooks may serve as additional references.

In-class activities: Each lecturer will also lead the entire class in an active learning activity in which students will work through problem sets using primary literature or other resources together with their peers.

Discussion sections: There will be eight discussion section meetings. Each group of 11 students will assigned to a discussion leader (either an advanced graduate student or a postdoc) for the duration of the course. In each section, groups of 2-3 students will prepare short presentations on different aspects of a topic or a paper to present to their section. Example aspects may be background, methods, results, and future directions. The main goal is to stimulate DISCUSSION! That’s why its called a “discussion section”!

Grades: Course grading is based on both exams scores and discussion session effort and participation as judged by the discussion leader. Each of the three (3) exams will have an in-class and take-home component each counting for half the exam score. The take-home exam will be handed out at least one week prior to its due date. The final grade will be formed 2/3 from the average exam score and 1/3 from the overall discussion score.