Teaching

 

Chemical Principals (CHEM101)

Fresh grapes taste sweet because they contain glucose.   Glucose, a carbohydrate also known as dextrose, is a simple sugar.   But how can a simple sugar be used to fuel a complex system like your body?  How does excess carbohydrate from a big meal of pasta turn into fat and get stored in the body?  The answers can be found in chemistry.   Did you know that everything you do every day involves chemistry? Yes, everything.  From the water and shampoo in your shower, to the food you eat for breakfast, to the gas that powers your car, to the medicines you take, to the sunscreen lotion that protects your skin, even the clothes that you wear— all of these somehow involve chemistry.

Learning chemistry is really learning about everyday life and how chemistry impacts our lives and even provides for life itself.  To understand concepts as diverse as how our bodies function and the wide variety of conveniences that make our lives easier, you need to understand chemistry.  So, come journey with us in CHEM 101.  It will be challenging, but fun, I promise! This course uses an integrated approach to teaching General, Organic, and Biological chemistry so that you will learn the basics of chemistry and the applications behind them.   Using similar strategies to weave concepts together instead of presenting them as stand-alone principles, allows us to integrate the topics of general, organic, and biological chemistry to make learning chemistry fun and relevant! SYLLABUS PDF.

General Chemistry I (CHEM121)

The fundamental goal of this course is to provide science majors with an understanding of the principles of chemical structure and reactivity that underlie physical phenomena studied in subsequent coursework.  After completing this course, students should have the understanding to solve problems relating to: scientific methods and measurements, unit analysis/problem solving, chemical reactions, atomic structure (including electronic structure and its relationship with chemical properties), molecular structure (including chemical bonding), and thermochemistry.  This course is designed to transition a student’s ability from simply retaining facts and replicating solutions toward using scientific principles to solve new problems through critical thinking.  For this reason, an emphasis is placed on improving problem‐solving skills and critical thinking abilities through challenging assignments and examinations. SYLLABUS PDF.

  • Laboratory (CHEM122): The General Chemistry I lab is designed to provide students with a hands-on learning environment that will facilitate the instruction of the principles introduced in the lecture portion of the course. SYLLABUS PDF.
    • Objectives:
      1. Students will practice appropriate methodologies for recording and working with scientific data (significant figures, units, etc.)
      2. Students will be able to construct and analyze a plot of data.
      3. Students will directly apply knowledge learned in lecture to solve clearly articulated chemical problems.

General Chemistry II (CHEM222)

The goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the principles of: gasses, complex chemical solutions, acid/base solutions, buffer solutions, kinetics, chemical equilibria, structures of solid state materials, colloids, electrochemistry and thermodynamics.  After completing this course, students will have the fundamental understanding to approach and solve traditional problems encountered in these areas.  Students will also make connections to the principles encountered in General Chemistry 1, CHEM 121.  A strong emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking abilities while improving independent, analytical problem-solving skills to prepare students for advanced undergraduate science courses and professional programs in science and medicine. SYLLABUS PDF.

  • Laboratory (CHEM223): General Chemistry II lab is designed to provide students with a hands-on learning environment that will facilitate the instruction of the principles introduced in the lecture. SYLLABUS PDF.

Biochemistry I (CHEM331)

The goal of this course is to develop a conceptual knowledge of biochemical principles that can be used to understand processes that occur in living cells.  The course will rely heavily on fundamental chemical principles with a strong structural basis towards understanding biological processes at a cellular and molecular level.  A working knowledge of Organic Chemistry, especially organic functional group reactivity, reaction mechanism (i.e. ‘electron/arrow pushing’) and a basic understanding of thermodynamics and kinetics will be fundamental to your success in CHEM 331.  This information will be useful in identifying key functional groups within the context of larger biological molecules as well as in understanding the basis behind their chemical properties and reactivities (acidity/basicity, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, nucleophilicity/electrophilicity, etc.).  Understanding of basic concepts in cellular and molecular biology will be assumed. SYLLABUS PDF.

  • Laboratory (CHEM332): This course presents students with a broad spectrum of techniques, approaches and concepts of contemporary biochemistry.  The topics covered include DNA purification and analysis, protein quantification, enzyme purification, enzymatic characterization, chromatography, electrophoresis, immunological techniques, and spectroscopic analysis.  This semester focuses on using a single protein in the context of a semester-long research project to drive student learning. SYLLABUS PDF.
    • Objectives:
      1. Students will be able to independently design an experimental procedure, collect data and make significant conclusions in a laboratory setting.
      2. Students will achieve proficiency in the use of basic instrumentation used in biochemical work such as pH meters, spectrometers, automatic pipettes, and visualization software.
      3. Concurrent with their studies in lecture, students will gain an understanding of the basic principles used in the identification/quantification of nucleic acids and proteins.
      4. Students will be able to communicate their findings effectively in a written format.

Biochemistry II (CHEM338)

The goal of this course is to expand upon the biochemical principles learned in CHEM 331 to explore the functions of biological molecules, and apply them through a comprehensive survey of the pathways and regulation of intermediary metabolism.  Thus, a fundamental understanding of the structures of biological molecules, the molecular forces governing their interactions, and the ability to understand the mechanistic chemistry of their interactions is fundamental to your success in this course.  We will not spend a lot of time reviewing these topics from CHEM 331, but your ability to master their language will be pinnacle to your success in the course.  This course will expand your knowledge of many of the seemingly mundane biochemical pathways that control our everyday bodily functions – both when they are working and our body is healthy, and what goes wrong to create a diseased state. SYLLABUS PDF.

  • Laboratory (CHEM339): This course continues experiments begun in CHEM 332 performed presents students with a broad spectrum of techniques, approaches and concepts of contemporary biochemistry.  The topics protein synthesis and purification, enzymatic characterization, chromatography, electrophoresis, immunological techniques, mutagenesis, and spectroscopic analysis. SYLLABUS PDF.