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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

BIOL 3131: Introduction to Biochemistry

Students are introduced to cellular chemistry in this course. Topics include the structure and function of biological molecules, nucleic acids, enzymes and other proteins, carbo¬hydrates, lipids, and vitamins. The course also provides an introduction to metabolic pathways and bioenergetics, including glycolysis, fermentation and respiration, oxidation of fatty acids, and photosynthesis.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize how the standard free energy (∆G°) and free energy (∆G) of a reaction or pathway influence the direction of metabolism.
  • Describe what enzymes are and how they allow for metabolism and its regulation.
  • Explain how ATP is synthesized via glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and mitochondrial electron transport.
  • Compare the energetic inputs and outputs of mitochondrial electron transport and photosynthetic electron transport.
  • Compare the processes of fatty acid oxidation and fatty acid synthesis.
  • Describe how amino acids are synthesized and degraded.
  • Describe how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.
  • Search, retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information.
  • Communicate scientific knowledge and results effectively.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.

Course topics

  • Lesson 1: Course Introduction, Expectations, Team Building, and Library Research
  • Lesson 2: Thermodynamics
  • Lesson 3: Enzymes
  • Lesson 4: Regulation of Metabolism
  • Lesson 5: Glycolysis, ATP Synthesis, Fermentation, and the TCA Cycle
  • Lesson 6: Regulation of Glycolysis and ATP Synthesis
  • Lesson 7: Photosynthesis
  • Lesson 8: Lipids and Their Oxidation
  • Lesson 9: Lipid Synthesis
  • Lesson 10: Amino Acids
  • Lesson 11: Nucleotides

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

  • Nelson D, Cox M. 2021. Lehninger: Principles of biochemistry & Achieve for Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 8th ed. New York (NY): W. H. Freeman and Company.
    Type: Loose-Leaf ISBN: 978-1-319-40888-6.

Optional materials

The following book would be helpful in completing the major literature review assignment, but is not required:

  • Pechenik JA. 2004. A short guide to writing about biology. 5th ed. New York (NY): Addison-Wesley.
    Any recent edition of this book can be used.

For further research, you may also want to consult TRU Library’s Biology Research Guides, which provide information on books, article databases, and other resources useful for research and study.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Problems Discussions (complete 3 of 10) 10%
Assignment 1: Bibliography and Research Paper (Group) 10%
Assignment 2: Metabolic Map 5%
Assignment 3: Major Paper – Literature Review Research Paper (Individual) 20%
Assignment 4: Fatty Acid Synthesis/Oxidation 5%
Quizzes (3)
  • Quiz 1 on Lessons 1-4 (7%)
  • Quiz 2 on Lessons 5-8 (7%)
  • Quiz 3 on Lessons 9-11 (6%)
Final Exam (mandatory) 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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