BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (Div. III)
Chair, Associate Professor ROBERT SAVAGE
Advisory Committee: Professors: ALTSCHULER, DEWITT***, KAPLAN*, LOVETT, D. LYNCH. Associate Professors: BANTA***, RAYMOND, ROSEMAN, SAVAGE, SWOAP. Assistant Professors: GEHRING**, HUTSON*, TING*.
Biochemistry and molecular biology are dynamic fields that lie at the forefront of science. Through elucidation of the structure and function of biologically important molecules (such as nucleic acids, lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates) these disciplines have provided important insights and advances in the fields of molecular engineering (recombinant DNA technology, "intelligent" drug design, "in vitro evolution"), genomics and proteomics, signal transduction, immunology, developmental biology, and evolution.
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore living systems in molecular terms. Biochemistry and molecular biology are at the interface between the chemical and biological methods of looking at nature; therefore, the program draws heavily from these disciplines. While chemistry is concerned with the relationship between molecular structure and reactions, and biology focuses on cells and organisms, biochemistry and molecular biology probe the details of the structures and interactions of molecules in living systems in order to provide the foundation for a better understanding of biological molecules both individually and as members of more complex structures.
While aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology can be very diverse, a common set of chemical and biological principles underlie the more advanced topics. With this in mind, the program has been structured to provide the necessary background in chemistry and biology and the opportunity to study the many facets of the modern areas of the biochemical sciences. Students interested in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program should plan their course selection carefully. Since it is expected that Biochemistry 321 and 322 would be taken in the junior year, students are advised to take the prerequisites for those courses in both chemistry and biology during their first two years at Williams. While the program is open to all students, it is expected that it will appeal primarily to majors in biology and chemistry because of the number of courses required in those fields. In addition to taking the required courses, students planning to complete the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program are strongly encouraged to elect courses in mathematics and physics.
The following interdepartmental courses serve as the core of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program.
BIMO 321 and 322 provide a comprehensive introduction to biochemistry. BIMO 322 is a new requirement and applies to 2007 graduates and beyond. BIMO 401, the capstone course for the concentration, provides students the opportunity to examine the current scientific literature in a wide variety of BIMO-related research areas.
To complete the concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a student must complete all of the required courses listed below, take one elective not within the student's major from the list below, and attend at least eight Biology and/or Chemistry Department colloquia. Since the Chemistry Department counts two biology courses and the Biology Department counts two chemistry courses toward the majors (each of which can be completed with only eight other courses), a student majoring in either chemistry or biology would have to take only two or three additional courses to complete the program.
Biology 101 The Cell
Biology 102 The Organism
Chemistry 151 or 153 or 155 Concepts of Chemistry
Chemistry 156 Organic Chemistry: Introductory Level
Chemistry 251 Organic Chemistry: Intermediate Level
Chemistry 256 Foundations of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
(Chemistry 256 is not required if Chemistry 155 was taken.)
Biology 202 Genetics
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 321 Biochemistry I-Structure and Function of Biological Molecules
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 322 Biochemistry II-Metabolism
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 401 Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biology 301 Developmental Biology
Biology 306 Cellular Regulatory Mechanisms
Biology 308 Integrative Plant Biology: Fundamentals and New Frontiers
Biology 310 Neural Development
Biology 315 Microbiology, Diversity, Cellular Physiology, and Interactions
Chemistry/Biology 319 Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics Laboratory
Biology 409 Molecular Physiology
Biology 413 Molecular Basis of Biological Clocks
Biology 414 Life at Extremes: Molecular Mechanisms
Chemistry 324 Enzyme Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms
Chemistry 341 Toxicology and Cancer
Chemistry 364 Instrumental Methods of Analysis
Chemistry 366 Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics
Chemistry 367 Biophysical Chemistry
Concentrators must attend at least eight Biology and/or Chemistry Department colloquia. The Biology and Chemistry Departments hold colloquia on Friday afternoons during the fall and spring semesters. Scientists from other academic or research institutions are invited to present their research to students and faculty. There are approximately a dozen colloquia offered each semester among which BIMO concentrators may choose. Attendance at the honors student research presentations and the spring BIMO Alumni Reunion poster session also count toward the colloquium requirement. Concentrators may receive credit for colloquia attended during any of their semesters at Williams College.