ISC/CHM/COS/MOL/PHY 235, 236
An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences
Lecture: Tues/Thurs, 1:30–2:50 p.m.
Precept: Thurs, 7:30-8:50 p.m.
An integrated, mathematically and computationally sophisticated introduction to biochemistry, molecular biology, genetic, genomics and evolution. Students must enroll in 235 in the fall, and 236 in the spring. Prerequisites: ISC/CHM/COS/MOL/PHY 231-234 or equivalent preparation (MOL 214, COS 126, CHM 201-202 or 203-204, PHY 103-104 or 105-106) or by permission of the instructor. The course includes two hours and 40 minutes of lecture, one precept (one hour and 50 minutes), and a weekly evening problem session.
Ian Lewis (Lewis-Sigler Institute)
Mala Murthy (Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute)
Joshua Rabinowitz (Chemistry and Lewis-Sigler Institute)
Eric Wieschaus (Molecular Biology and Lewis-Sigler Institute)
Fall of sophomore year
The fall semester provides an integrated treatment of organic and biological chemistry. Students will be introduced to the basic structures and reactivity of organic molecules, with a particular focus on reactions of high biological importance. Relationships to core physical principles are emphasized. The organic chemistry portion of the integrated course does not substitute for the more detailed treatment of organic chemistry provided in the chemistry department (CHM 301-302 or CHM 303-304). Students with a primary interest in chemistry generally take CHM 301 or CHM 303 concurrently and report finding the combination complementary.
Building from core knowledge of chemical reactivity and kinetics, the course continues by exploring the structures of proteins and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA). A distinguishing feature is quantitative treatment of crystallography, which played a key role in the discovery of the structure of DNA and remains the most important method of structural biology.
The course concludes with a rigorous treatment of cellular metabolism and its regulation. The ability to model the metabolic network via systems of differential equations is introduced. A focus is on the remarkable power of integrating genetic, chemical and computational approaches to dissect biological pathways. The course substitutes for MOL 215 and MOL 345.
Spring of sophomore year
Spring semester focuses on applying genetic approaches to gain insights into living organisms, building stepwise in complexity from viruses to humans. The essential concepts of genetics are illustrated through quantitative examples and problems. The basic principles behind genome sequencing and genetic engineering are introduced. The tools of mutational analysis are applied to understand the cell cycle of yeast, the development of multicellular organisms, and the biology of cancer.
The genetics of populations are analyzed. The impact of population size is quantitatively assessed. Students gain an appreciation of the power of population genetics for understanding biology, ecology and even human history — for example, students will understand the quantitative analyses that lead to the conclusion that human life originated in Africa.
The final weeks of the course are devoted to a quantitative introduction to neuroscience. Topics will range from the mathematical analysis of electrical signals and potentials within individual neurons to computations carried out by complex neural circuits. Lectures will also cover specialized functions of the brain, such as sensory processing, learning, and the generation of behaviors.
(Also suggested: Solutions to Exercises, Organic Chemistry, Second Edition, Thomas Sorrell)
**All textbooks will be on reserve at the Lewis Library**