Have you seen the bumper sticker “Honk if you passed P-Chem”? I recently finished teaching the first semester of a new course offering designed to make P-Chem “come alive” for our students.
It seems obvious to me that every dry, hyper-theoretical lesson one encounters in the standard P-Chem course deserves to be refocused to highlight how it bears on biochemistry. Not only does it reveal how the biochemistry works, it also provides a much more interesting and example-driven way to actually hook into the concepts. For example, we learned about diffusion theory by covering the limitations placed on the use of pheromones by the size of an organism and the rates of diffusion of both the pheromone and the organism. In another, we used the Boltzmann distribution to understand how voltage-gated ion-channels work. In a third, we looked at the use of lattice models and the canonical ensemble to understand how the search process that leads to protein folding works.
Editor’s Note: Drs. Chuck Hardin and Jim Knopp recently published a new textbook/workbook with Oxford University Press (2012, ISBN 97 80199 765621, website: OUP.com). Chuck described the process of publishing a book to Biochem Blogs.
So we wanted to publish a book? We had no idea what we were getting into. It turned out that developing, contracting and completing a textbook required way more than just writing the words. When viewed in the rearview mirror, it was more like pursuing and completing a research project.
Oxford really puts their authors through the ringer. For example, the book is full of illustrations. In fact, completing the composition process involved extracting 843 figures from the manuscript, documenting them, then sending them to the composition editor, who inserted all 843 figures into the officially composed print version. Whew!
Clay Clark – @biochemprof
If you don’t believe in pathways, you might want to listen. Each year in his biochemistry class, Dr. Jim Knopp sings “the glucose song.” This year, he had special visitors from Ladies in Red, an all-female a cappella group associated with the Music Department at NCSU.
To kick off the holiday season, please enjoy The Glucose Song, as sung by Ladies in Red.
Dr. Greg Buhrman
This is the second blog piece I’ve written, although it may be the first one you’ll read. Dr. Clay Clark asked me to blog about my experiences teaching BIO 414 (Cell Biology) for the first time. I wrote one piece half-way through the semester about one particularly interesting teaching experience. Then Clay asked me for the backstory but I never felt introspective enough to get into it. Now it’s the day before graduation and I’m feeling introspective, so here goes…
Clay Clark - @biochemprof
Earlier this year I was asked to serve on the executive committee for the NCSU Molecular Biotechnology Training Program. This program is directed by Dr. Bob Kelly and is designed to augment graduate training by exposing students to biotechnology through laboratory-based courses and seminars.
Students also are encouraged to participate in the Professoriate Training Program (PTP), which gives them the opportunity to work with a professor one-on-one to enhance classroom teaching skills.