Biochemical understanding of proteins and nucleic acids is fueling the revolution in medicine, demonstrating how the basic principles of biochemical structure govern molecular regulation in normal human health or malfunction in disease. Biochemistry at Tulane University School of Medicine is divided into two distinct and separate courses. The T1 Cellular Biochemistry course focus will be at the molecular and cellular level of biochemistry, providing information about how cell organelles and structures function. The T1 Metabolic Biochemistry course will focus on biochemical pathways involved in intermediary metabolism. Both courses stress normal function and why disease states occur if these functions are abrogated.
The structure and content of the Cellular Biochemistry course can be broken down into three blocks, encompassing biomembranes and biomolecules, protein structure and function, nucleic acids, genetic transfer (DNA replication, transcription, translation) and genomics, glycobiology, cellular transport, structural proteins and the extracellular matrix, mitosis, blood, signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and cancer. The three blocks are broken down into the following major topics:
Biomolecules, biomembranes, and the DNA/RNA/Protein Dogma
Glycobiology, cellular transport, structural proteins and the extracellular matrix, mitosis, and blood
Signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and cancer.
The goal of the cellular course is four-fold. First, students are introduced to basic molecules and biomembranes. Second, the structure and function of nucleic and amino acids are presented, with an emphasis on genetic information flowing through transcription (DNA to RNA) and translation (RNA to protein). Third, students are presented with processing and intracellular targeting and transport of proteins, important intracellular structural proteins, the extracellular matrix, mitosis and blood cells. Finally, cellular communication is considered, with introduction to cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. In all topics discussed, details are provided into how specific processes can become abrogated, and the concomitant disease states that can arise (e.g. Cancer in Block three). In this manner students can appreciate the relevance of biochemical structure and function. Numerous clinical cases are provided, relating disease states to biochemistry, to help students integrate complex disease states viewed from a cellular stand point.
Course Goals and Objectives
The objectives and content of the Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular structure and function, and the manner by which cellular processes are normally integrated and regulated. This course stresses both the normal cellular function, and why disease states occur if normal cellular processes are disrupted.
Students will be able to:
- Identify basic principles of biochemical structure governing molecular function and regulation.
- Recognize how information is processed at the molecular subcellular level (DNA/RNA/Proteins).
- Identify how information is processed at the cellular level (signal transduction and extracellular signaling).
- Apply organelle protein function in context to coordinated, complex cellular functions (protein targeting/transport, mitosis, cell cycle, apoptosis, etc...).
- Extrapolate how normal structure, function, and/or regulation can be abrogated to create various disease states.
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