CHEM 303 - Introductory Bioinorganic Chemistry: The Role of Metals in Life
Section: 100
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Chemistry (CHEM)
Department: LSA Chemistry
Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
A student can receive credit for only one of CHEM 302 or CHEM 303.
Advisory Prerequisites:
CHEM 210/211 or 215/216.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The class will serve as an alternative to the CHEM 302 requirement for Chemistry and Biochemistry majors. Fundamental principles of inorganic chemistry will be taught in the context of the role of metals in biological systems, with special emphasis on how this knowledge relates to commonly known phenomena.

The University of Michigan is a center for the research on the role of metals in biology, health, and the environment. Several faculty in the Department of Chemistry have world-class research programs in this area, but also faculty in Biophysics, Biological Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Pharmacology, the Life Science Institute, etc. are devoted to this topic. This is a very good platform to offer undergraduate students hands-on research experience at the University of Michigan. CHEM 303 is designed to fulfill the requirement for an advanced undergraduate class in Inorganic Chemistry, and is aimed at undergraduate students in their Sophomore or early Junior year. The class serves as an alternative to CHEM 302, but a special emphasis is put on the role of metals in biological systems, and the connection between fundamental (classroom) knowledge of biological processes with respect to metals, and their relation to commonly known phenomena, for example diseases, pollution, alternative energies, evolution, industrial processes, etc. This is an area of primary importance for health, life, and the environment, and hence, society as a whole. Despite the fundamental role of metals for life, this fascinating topic is clearly underrepresented in most undergraduate curricula. The topics of this course include metal homeostasis and related genetic diseases, the vital roles of metals in proteins, gene transcription, and regulation of cell function, diseases related to protein misfolding (neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer, Creutzfeldt-Jakob), heavy metal pollution in the environment (lead, mercury), and metals in medicine.

After completion of this class, the undergraduate students will be advanced in the area of metals in biology, and ready for practical research experience in the following term. My goal is that a significant number of the students will be inspired through this course to work on related research projects. A good mechanism is to first form an interest group of faculty for the area of Metals in Life. Since these faculty belong to very different research areas spanning from Chemistry and Biology all the way to Pharmacy, Medicine, and Engineering, it is ensured that the students will have a wide and interdisciplinary group of faculty to talk to.

A further mechanism will be incorporated to establish relationships between undergraduate students and faculty participating in the ‘The Role of Metals in Life’ program early on in phase 1. For this purpose, the homework assignment for the students will be to write a paper about 2 – 3 research publications of a participating faculty. The students will first read the publications, and then interview the corresponding faculty to obtain more background knowledge, have questions answered, and discuss the content of the publications in detail. This will make the students familiar with the research of participating faculty and allow them to establish a relationship.

Crs Requirements: attend lectures, participation in lecture (5 %), two exams (40 % total) plus one final exam (30 %), homework: one paper (minimum 10 pages; 25 %)

Intended Audience: Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, undergraduates interested in Biophysics or pre-Medical

Class Format: Lecture

CHEM 303 - Introductory Bioinorganic Chemistry: The Role of Metals in Life
Schedule Listing
100 (LEC)
MW 12:00PM - 1:00PM
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
101 (DIS)
W 1:00PM - 2:00PM
103 (DIS)
Tu 9:00AM - 10:00AM
104 (DIS)
Th 11:00AM - 12:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Only the listed Inorganic Chemistry textbooks are required. 
Students may choose from any of the listed "Optional" Biochemistry textbooks (these texts are recommended only, not required):  
Berg, Stryer & Tymoczko; Biochemistry 
Garrett & Grisham; Biochemistry 
Matthews, van Holde & Ahern; Biochemistry 
McKee & McKee; Biochemistry: The Molecular Basis of Life 
Nelson & Cox; Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry 
Voet, Voet & Pratt; Fundamentals of Biochemistry
ISBN: 9780136128663
Inorganic chemistry, Author: Gary L. Miessler, Donald A. Tarr., Publisher: Prentice Hall 4th ed. 2010
ISBN: 9781891389436
Biological inorganic chemistry : structure and reactivity., Author: [edited by] Ivano Bertini ... [et al.]., Publisher: University Science Books 2006
ISBN: 9780716787242
Biochemistry, Author: Jeremy M. Berg; John L. Tymoczko; Lubert Stryer., Publisher: Freeman 6. ed., 3. 2007
ISBN: 9780495109358
Biochemistry, Author: Reginald H. Garrett, Charles M. Grisham., Publisher: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning 4th ed. 2010
ISBN: 9780805330663
Biochemistry, Author: Christopher K. Mathews, K.E. van Holde, Kevin G. Ahern., Publisher: Benjamin Cummings 3rd ed. 1999
ISBN: 9780195305753
Biochemistry : the molecular basis of life, Author: Trudy McKee, James R. McKee., Publisher: Oxford University Press 4th ed. 2009
ISBN: 9780716771081
Lehninger principles of biochemistry, Author: David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox., Publisher: W.H. Freeman 5th ed. 2008
ISBN: 9780470129302
Fundamentals of biochemistry : life at the molecular level, Author: Donald Voet, Judith G. Voet, Charlotte W. Pratt., Publisher: Wiley 3rd ed. 2008
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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