Biochemistry Learning Outcomes

  • Students will explain/describe the synthesis of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates and their role in metabolic pathways along with their regulation at the epigenetic, transcriptional, translational, and post-translational levels including RNA and protein folding, modification, and degradation. Regulation by non-coding RNAs will be tied to the developmental and physiological functioning of the organism.
    Assessment: Class exams and final exams, research papers, lab reports with student-generated data.
  • Students will analyze structural-functional relationships of genes and proteins from bacteria to eukaryotes using genomic methods based on evolutionary relationships.
    Assessment: Exams, presentations, and involvement in genomics projects in Biol 337 – Molecular Biology, Chem 345 – Biochemistry, Chem 347 – Advanced Topics in Biochemistry.
  • Students will use current biochemical and molecular techniques to plan and carry out experiments. They will generate and test hypotheses, analyze data using statistical methods where appropriate, and appreciate the limitations of conclusions drawn from experimental data. Trouble-shooting will be stressed in classes and labs.
    Assessment: Collection, analysis, and presentation of data in course-associated labs. 
  • Students will analyze primary literature. This will include evaluation of experimental techniques, the use of controls and hypothesis testing by published authors.
    Assessment: Critiques of primary articles both chosen by the instructors and by the students themselves, oral and written presentations of papers in Biol 337 – Molecular Biology, Biol 350 – Independent Laboratory Research, Chem 355 - Independent Study with Thesis, Chem 390 – Chemistry Seminar.
  • Students will undertake original and publishable research studies with faculty mentors. In this process, they will demonstrate skill in relevant literature analysis, experimental design, actual use of experimental techniques, teamwork, statistical analysis of results and oral and written communication of conclusions and their defense.
    Assessment: Analysis and presentation of data at meetings, final reports, and publications.
  • Students will construct a research thesis, and present the results of that thesis to an audience of peers and faculty at regional or all college events, and be able to defend their results to other students and faculty.
    Assessment: Senior internship or research paper and presentation at the Simmons Undergraduate conference and/or the Eastern New England Biological Conference, as well in research courses Biol 350 – Independent Laboratory Research, Biol 355 –Thesis, and Chem 355 – Independent Study with Thesis. Theses will be graded though liaisons in the Biology or Chemistry faculty. A formal thesis defense is required with Chem 355.