Teaching

BMB 101 "Meet the Profs" - I regularly contribute to this Freshman course, which gives our undergraduate majors a look at the scientific questions addressed by the research programs going on in the department.

BMB 495 "Topics in Biochemistry" - This senior seminar course gives Biochemistry majors experience in reading and presenting topics from the literature. For my part in the course, we have recently discussed using model biological systems to model human neurodegenerative diseases.

GEN 800/BMB 960 - I have taught graduate seminar courses in "Transcription in Development", "Transcriptional Mechanisms", "Systems Analysis of Transcriptional Networks", "Mechanisms of Tumor Suppressor Proteins" and "The CRISPER Revolution". These courses meet weekly for one semester to focus on topics from the current literature, and involve a mix of faculty and student presentations.

BMB 801 - My main teaching responsibility is directing BMB 801 "Introduction to Molecular Biology", which I teach together with Dr. Henry. This graduate level course is taught every fall semester, and is taken by first-year graduate students in most departments and programs involving life sciences, including Animal Science, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Human Nutrition, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Physiology, and Crop and Soil Science. With up to 70-80 students, this is one of the largest graduate courses in life sciences, but we do make an effort to get to know the students. We admit a few undergraduate students who have done well in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The focus of this course is cellular information management - DNA metabolism and gene expression. This course is designed for graduate students who have some background in biochemistry and molecular biology. The course will emphasize "What" we know and "How" we know it. Some of the material will include work from research articles. In addition to learning current concepts relating to molecular biology, the course will emphasize experimental approaches used in the laboratory. The course performance is evaluated via three essay-style hand-graded exams. A passing grade is a "3.0", and most student pass the course every year.

Students who have not had an equivalent of two semesters of Biochemistry may wish to take instead an undergraduate course, such as BMB 461/462.

We do not have a required text, but recommend one of these texts, in addition to course notes: 

  • Molecular Biology of the Gene, Watson et al.
  • Genes (Lewin; or other authors in the latest edition)
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts et al.

Click to view the syllabus as a guide to topic areas covered in this course. Enrolled students may obtain more information on schedule, and download class notes at the D2L website: https://d2l.msu.edu

Here is the 2017 syllabus!