Biochemistry II-Comprehensive Metabolism -Philosophy

This class is a celebration of the underlying logic in metabolism. My goal is that every student leaves my class with the ability to make a best guess about the processing of carbon skeletons as a function of metabolic state. In the best-case scenario, the student can even argue this on a cellular and a tissue-specific level.

I am a chemist and so all of the arguments are based on the carbon skeletons and the simple, sequential transformations that they experience in the careful hands of enzymes. At a first approximation, it is the same story of catabolic vs anabolic processes told in the structural language of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Compartmentalization of function is emphasized. Tissue-specific function, transporters, solubility, lipoproteins and hormonal control is nuanced and essential to the higher-level discussions in the class.

At the end of the class, we focus on Type II diabetes mellitus given its prevalence in our home state of Mississippi. Further, students have significant interests in dietary supplements, metabolism in athletes, metabolism in the brain, and stress/cortisol and metabolic syndrome. Depending upon the flow of the material in a given semester, there is a significant component from the primary and secondary literature to support the assigned readings from the texts and students’ interests.