Molecular View of Human Anatomy
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Course Summary

What do proteins, DNA, and other biological molecules look like? How do they work? Where do these molecules fit in your body? This seminar will introduce you to the basics of structural biology using as a theme the human digestive system.

In the first half of this seminar, we will learn the fundamentals of structural biology – what proteins and DNA look like and how these structures are determined. We will also learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the human digestive system. Through the second half of the seminar, students will conduct research on molecules archived in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), and review literature in order to understand how these molecules help in digesting the food we eat and how they may become involved in some digestive diseases.

Aside from learning about digestion and structural biology, we will explore some social and cultural aspects surrounding disease. Students will learn to critically read articles, both in scientific journals and in lay press. This seminar will also provide an opportunity for students to interactively use computers for self-publishing.

This seminar has no pre-requisites; non-science majors are encouraged to enroll. The main aim of the seminar is to encourage research-based learning in students and to stimulate interest in structural biology.