BCH 4053--General Biochemistry I--Spring 2001

BCH 4053

General Biochemistry I

Spring 2001

Class Meeting Times


8:00-8:50 MWF 214 HTL



Robley Light



204 DLC







Office Hours


2:00-3:00 Mondays and Wednesdays

9:30-10:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays  (or by appointment)  (May be subject to change once semester is underway)



Biochemistry, 2nd Edition, Garrett and Grisham Saunders Publishing Co.

Course Description/Objectives

BCH 4053 is the first course in a two-semester sequence in biochemistry for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. The sequence provides a comprehensive survey of the major topics in biochemistry, with the objective of developing the tools necessary to understand biological processes in chemical terms. The first semester focuses on the organization and major structural components of living cells: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. It explores how the structure of these molecules relates to their function, and how water and pH affect these structural properties. It discusses the energetics of biochemical reactions and processes, and the kinetics and mechanism of enzyme catalysis. It provides an introduction to a study of metabolic pathways by examining the degradation of glucose through glycolysis and the citric acid cycle.

While the concepts in the course are not particularly difficult, the volume of material to be assimilated is large. It is particularly important to keep up with the material from the beginning, including reading the text book before lectures, taking careful notes and reviewing them afterwards, and working practice problems when appropriate. Make sure you understand all concepts as they are discussed--ask questions when something is not clear.


The second semester of a two-semester organic chemistry course is a co- or prerequisite. Basic concepts from general chemistry, including stoichiometric calculations, acid-base chemistry and pH, and chemical thermodynamics will be assumed. You should carefully review the structure of organic functional groups and these concepts from general chemistry if they are not fresh in your mind. A course in biology will be helpful, but is not required.


There are three hour exams, worth 100 points each, and a final exam, which counts double (2 x 100 or 200 points), for a total possible score of 500 points.  The final exam score can also substitute for the lowest hour test grade if it is higher, so the final will count either 40% or 60% of the final grade.

No make-up tests

In exceptional circumstances, it might be possible to arrange to take the hour test a day early.  In the case of excused absences where this is not possible, the Exam grade will substitute for the missed exam.

Optional extra credit

There will be seven optional “Chapter Tests” available on the web..  These tests are taken on the computer and graded by the computer.  They can be taken open-book and with notes, but you cannot receive help from another person.  They are timed tests, and you will have only one attempt at each.  The five highest on-line test grades will be averaged, and the average can replace a lower hour test grade.  Each test will only be available for a few days, so you must keep up with the course material in order to take advantage of them.

In addition a few optional group problems will be assigned to encourage some interaction and study with others in the class.  These problems will be worth a few points each to be added to the total raw test scores before dividing by 5.

Grading Scale

Following are the estimated percentage cut-off's for a given letter grade, obtained by dividing the total raw score by 5. Depending on test difficulty and class performance, these cut-off's might be lowered slightly, but they won't be raised. I will not know until all grades are in whether any adjustment will be made.

     90-100 A or A-       75-89   B or B-       60-74   C or C-       50-59   D or D-

Grade Posting

If you sign the permission slip on the course questionnaire, your test grades will be posted on the chemistry web grade server.  See the instructions for accessing web grades. (The grades for the on-line web tests are available separately through Blackboard's Course Info.)

Contact with Instructor

Electronic Mail Communication

            To provide an additional means of communication between instructor and student and among students, students may obtain a computer account and register it for the class.  You are encouraged to use this means of asking questions, commenting on lectures, making appointments for help, etc.  A mail alias, BCH-4053-01@garnet.acns.fsu.edu, has been generated for the class.  Everyone with an FSU email account who is registered for the course will automatically be put on the alias and should receive mail sent to it.  (Only your FSU account can be entered in the alias.  If you read your mail on another account, then telnet to your FSU account and set it to forward mail.)  If you do not have an email account, you should go to the web site: http://register.acns.fsu.edu and follow the link to new accountsIf you are not on the class roll (perhaps you are auditing or making up an I grade), you must go to the same web site and follow the link to course mailing lists.  You will need your FSU ID card number, your social security number, and the course reference number for this class, which is 00271.           For additional information on Email accounts, computer help, etc., go the the ACNS web sites:  http://www.acns.fsu.edu/Students/Orientation.html ( A guide to computing at FSU) and http://www.acns.fsu.edu/Students/ (information about registering and getting connected).

Class Web Page

            A class web page will provide a variety of class-related information, including the syllabus, lecture schedule, lecture notes, assignment dates, and pointers to information on the internet that is relevant to the material you are studying.  This term I am experimenting with Blackboard's "CourseInfo"; as the entry to the web materials. The URL for the course is

            http://campus.fsu.edu/courses/BCH4053-01.sp01/.   You will need your account and password for your garnet (or mailer) email account in order to login to this course page. Access to some of the course materials can be obtained by logging in as "guest" with the password "guest" (without the quotes). If you are auditing the class and want more complete access, you must contact Dr. Light to gain entry. A separate handout describes CourseInfo.

            You will also be able to access previous BCH 4053 web pages and previous tests.  These pages are linked through my class index page at the URL:


Help Sessions:

Help Sessions will be given at 6:00 pm on either Tuesday or Thursday the week of hour tests.

Return to Dr. Light's Class Index Page     
 Comments or questions, mail to: rlight@garnet.acns.fsu.edu
© 2001 Florida State University