This interdepartmental major offers an alternative to students who are interested in both Biology and Chemistry. The interface of Biology and Chemistry has become extremely important as an area of research with applications in areas such as pharmaceuticals, medicine and biotechnology. An example of the importance of this field of study is the completion of the sequencing of the human genome. This accomplishment marks the beginning of an exploration to identify and determine the function of the various genes, which will require a large number of scientists that have strong backgrounds in both chemistry and biology.
During the course of study, students not only gain a strong foundation in cell biology, molecular biology and chemistry, but also encounter specialized topics such as mechanisms of cancer. A goal is for students to understand specific molecular interactions and reactions that occur in living organisms and their consequences.
In addition to coursework, Biochemistry majors participate in a collaborative research project either on or off campus. Topics have included cloning and expression of human genes, contemporary genomics focused on malaria parasites, synthesis of biologically relevant molecules, and the isolation and characterization of compounds in natural products, among others.
The Biochemistry Major is particularly attractive to pre-health science professional students (including those interested in attending medical and veterinary schools and schools of public health, among others) and to students who plan to pursue graduate study in biochemistry or cellular/molecular biology. Medical programs accepting Earlham graduates include: Harvard, University of Chicago, The Ohio State University, Case Western, Dartmouth, Yale and Johns Hopkins. A number of students have pursued M.D.-Ph.D. programs at these schools. Veterinary schools that our graduates have attended include Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, and University of California, Davis. Students pursuing a Ph.D. or M.P.H. have entered graduate programs at Notre Dame, Northwestern and Johns Hopkins, among others. Other Earlham graduates have chosen to work in industry directly after Earlham.
A student wishing to pursue the Biochemistry Interdepartmental major should contact a Biology or Chemistry faculty member as soon as possible. Many of the courses are sequenced so that enrolling in the introductory Biology and Chemistry courses early in a student's career is critical to maximizing options in the Junior and Senior year. Careful planning is particularly important when a student wishes to participate in a semester-long off-campus program. Our students have participated in a variety of off-campus opportunities, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Science Semester, and the New Zealand, Tanzania and London programs.
Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:
- (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
- (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
- (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
- (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
- (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
- (D-I) = Diversity - International
- (D-L) = Diversity - Language
- (ES) = Earlham Seminar
- (IP) = Interpretive Practices
- (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
- (W) = Wellness
- (WI) = Writing Intensive
- (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year
*BIOL 112 CELLS, GENES AND INHERITANCE (4 credits)
An overview of cell structure and function and the principles of inheritance, including such topics as transmission genetics, DNA structure, central dogma, regulation of gene expression, meiosis and mitosis, protein function, cell cycle and recombinant DNA techniques. Lab emphasizes inquiry-based experiments and contemporary techniques. Offered Spring Semester. (SI)
BIOL 226 BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (4 credits)
A survey of plants, animals, fungi, protists and bacteria emphasizing basic principles in organismal biology. Topics include origin of life, evolution, structure and function, homeostatic mechanisms, reproduction and life history phenomena and systematics. Lab. Offered Spring Semester.
BIOL 341 CELL PHYSIOLOGY (4 credits)
An examination of basic principles of cell physiology. Topics include thermodynamics, enzyme mechanisms, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, coupling of ATP hydrolysis to cellular reactions, regulation of protein function, membrane structure, cell signaling, and neural and muscular activity. Lab emphasizes inquiry-based experiments and contemporary techniques. Prerequisites: BIOL 112 and CHEM 221 or consent of the instructor. Offered Fall Semester.
BIOL 343 IMMUNOLOGY (3 credits)
An introduction to the biology of the immune system, including cells and tissues, activation, differentiation and specificity, effector mechanisms, immunity to microbes, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency and AIDS, evolution, hypersensitivity and transplantation. A non-lab course. Prerequisites: BIOL 112 and CHEM 221. Offered once every three semesters.
BIOL 345 ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY I: NERVOUS AND ENDOCRINE (4 credits)
An in-depth study of the structures and functions of human nervous, sensory, muscular and endocrine systems. Each system is covered at the molecular, cellular, organ and organism levels. Labs include extensive hands-on studies of human anatomy. Prerequisite: BIOL 341. Offered Spring Semester.
BIOL 347 ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY II: CARDIOVASCULAR, RESPIRATORY, RENAL AND DIGESTIVE (4 credits)
An in-depth study of the structures and functions of human cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and digestive systems. Each system is covered at the molecular, cellular, organ and organism levels. Labs include physiology experiments, research projects, and hands-on studies of human anatomy. Prerequisite: BIOL 341. Offered Fall Semester.
BIOL 460 PLANT CELL BIOLOGY (3 credits)
A study of processes, structures and functions unique to plant cells. Topics may include specialized organelles and cell types, carbohydrate metabolism, signal transduction, genomics, and fertilization and early development. Emphasis on photosynthesis and other responses to light. Includes reading and presenting research. Biology-Chemistry interdepartmental majors note: If BIOL 226 is selected from the course options in list A, a course other than Plant Cell Biology must be chosen to fulfill the requirements for the Major. Prerequisites: BIOL 341 and CHEM 221. Offered once every three semesters.
BIOL 461 MICROBIOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of bacteria and viruses focusing on microbial physiology, growth, replication, genetics, ecology, pathogenesis, evolution, systematics, impact on global health, and historical and modern techniques. Laboratory sessions present skills in the craft of microbiology including laboratory safety, sterile technique, microbial culturing and staining, isolation and identification of unknown bacteria, antimicrobial activity and biochemical analyses. Lab. Prerequisite: BIOL 341. Offered once every three semesters.
BIOL 462 PARASITOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of the general biology of the parasitic protozoans, helminths and arthropods of humans and domestic animals. Detailed discussions of parasite pathology, physiology, life cycles, diagnosis, therapeutics, control strategies and total impact on global health (humans and domestic animals). Laboratory includes visualization of representative taxa, morphology, culturing methods, applied diagnostics, parasite genomics and modern molecular techniques. Prerequisite: BIOL 341. Offered once every three semesters.
BIOL 464 ADVANCED CELL PHYSIOLOGY (3 credits)
Begins with detailed examinations of protein structure and activity, transcription and translation. Selected "hot" topics, including mechanisms of cell-cell signaling, protein sorting within cells, regulation of cell cycle, apoptosis, and cellular mechanisms of memory and learning. Emphasis on reading, presenting and discussing original research papers. Prerequisite: BIOL 341. Offered once every three semesters.
BIOL 465 ADVANCED CELL PHYSIOLOGY LABORATORY (1 credit)
Project-based lab course that examines various aspects of cell structure and function using contemporary techniques. Recent projects have included isolation and purification of bacterially expressed proteins, analysis of protease inhibitors, measurements of phagocytosis by insect hemocytes. Techniques have included bacterial culture, centrifugation, column chromatography, SDS-PAGE, Western transfer and analysis, fluorescence microscopy and cell culture. May be taken concurrently with BIOL 464. Lab. Prerequisite: BIOL 341.
BIOL 466 MOLECULAR GENETICS (3 credits)
Covers DNA and RNA structure and functions, mutation, genetic code, molecular basis of recombination, genome organization, replication, gene regulation and recombinant DNA technology. A non-lab course. Prerequisites: BIOL 341 and CHEM 221. Offered once every three semesters.
*CHEM 111 PRINCIPLES OF CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
Core principles and interesting applications of chemistry combine to provide a conceptual understanding of chemistry. Principles of atomic and molecular structure, molecular energetics and classes of chemical reactions reviewed. Aspects of gas behavior, basic photochemistry and acid-base chemistry are applied to the study of environmental chemistry issues such as stratospheric ozone, the global greenhouse effect, acid rain and photochemical smog. Lab work includes the synthesis of compounds, the study of aqueous ions, simple calorimetry, titrations, basic IR, visible and UV spectrophotometry, and studies of acid rain. (A-QR, SI)
*CHEM 221 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I (4 credits)
Introductory course designed for chemistry and biology majors as well as pre-health professionals. Focuses on basic structural and reactivity aspects in organic chemistry and their relationship to pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals and biological systems. Topics include stereochemistry, substitution, elimination and addition reactions. Weekly three-hour laboratory provides hands-on experience with modern organic methods and techniques. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 111 or consent of instructor. (A-QR, SI)
*CHEM 321 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II (4 credits)
A continuation of the sequence in organic chemistry. Focuses on more advanced structural aspects and reactivities in organic chemistry and their relationship to pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals and biological systems. Topics include alcohol, carbonyl, amine and aromatic reactions, spectroscopy, drug design and synthetic methodology. Weekly three-hour laboratory introduces several additional modern synthesis, chromatography and spectroscopic (FT-IR, FT-NMR and GCMS) methods. A significant portion of the lab includes a student-designed synthesis and/or natural product isolation research project. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 221 or consent of the instructor. (A-QR, SI)
*CHEM 331 EQUILIBRIUM AND ANALYSIS (5 credits)
Designed for chemistry majors, minors and pre-health professionals. Problem-based learning course designed to provide a working knowledge of the principles and practices of analytical chemistry. Covers two major themes: (1) the systematic treatment of chemical equilibrium in ionic systems, including acid-base, solubility, redox and (2) methods of quantitative chemical analysis, which includes the theory and practice of volumetric analysis and the modern instrumental methods of analysis used in industrial analytical laboratories (spectroscopy and chromatography techniques). Culminates in a three-week laboratory group project and a poster presentation. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 111 or consent of the instructor. (A-QR, SI)
CHEM 341 THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS (4 credits)
In the first two-thirds of the course, concepts of enthalpy, entropy and free energy are developed as a basis for understanding the nature of chemical stability. In the last third of the course, the tools of rate measurement and analysis are used to understand chemical reactivity. Laboratory work includes the application of calorimetric, potentiometric and spectrophotometric methods to study thermodynamic and kinetic problems. Includes several applications utilizing computer-interfaced measurements. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 331, MATH 180 and either PHYS 230 or 235.
CHEM 351 BIOCHEMISTRY (4 credits)
Intended for students majoring in chemistry, biology or the health professions. Explores the role of chemistry in life processes. Topics include protein structure, enzyme mechanisms and kinetics, and membrane structure and transport. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 321 and 331 or consent of the instructor.
CHEM 361 INORGANIC CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
A systematic examination of the chemical elements and their compounds, with an emphasis on periodicity of properties. Examines bonding theories, group theory and reaction mechanisms. Particular emphasis on the coordination compounds and organometallic compounds of transition metals. Other topics include bioinorganic chemistry and solid state chemistry. Labs explore synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 321 and 331 or consent of the instructor.
CHEM 371 ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY AND TOXICOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of natural and unnatural chemical substances in the environment with particular emphasis on the problem of chemical pollution and its health consequences. Includes air pollution, global warming, water quality, heavy metals, pesticide residues and other organic compounds. Principles of chemical equilibrium and reaction mechanisms emphasized. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 221 and 331 or consent of the instructor. (AY)
CHEM 431 ADVANCED ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
A systematic study of modern instrumental methods of chemical analysis with emphasis on the principles of operation of the instruments and their use for the analysis of real substances. Topics include atomic and molecular spectroscopy, gas and liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Laboratory provides extensive hands-on experience with major analytical instrumentation: UV-Vis absorption, AAS, ICP-AES, GC and HPLC. Emphasizes study of complex mixtures and the special problems of trace-level analysis. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 331. Also recommended: PHYS 230 or 235. (AY)
CHEM 480 SEMINAR (2 credits)
A study of recent research topics in chemistry based on primary sources. Each student to make at least one oral report. Includes study of professional ethics, preparation of a portfolio for future education or employment, and preparation for comprehensive exams.