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Departments: Biochemistry

Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove


Chair: Lon J. Van Winkle, Ph.D.

First-year medical students complete a required two-quarter sequence in medical biochemistry, the educational goals of which are to understand the major biochemical concepts of cell, tissue, and organ function in health and diseases. These goals are achieved through lectures, small group case studies, and readings in the biomedical literature. A problem-based format is used for small group clinical case studies. In addition to the required courses, the Biochemistry faculty offer four elective courses: Clinical Nutrition, Nutrient and Drug Biomembrane Transport, Clinical Enzymology, and Medical Research Design. Faculty members also accept students into a research elective program.

BIOC 1501 Biochemistry of Human Metabolism in Cells, Tissues, and Organs
This course features lectures on basic concepts of medical statistics, cell biology, human metabolism, and metabolic profiles of several differentiated cell types, tissues, and organs/systems. Clinical correlations are featured in all lectures and are applied in workshops that involve weekly small group discussions of clinical case studies.

BIOC 1502 Biochemistry of Nutrition and Molecular Genetics in Human Development
This course features lectures on human nutrient metabolism and molecular genetics in normal development and in diseases, including the medical genetics of hereditary disorders. Clinical correlations are featured in all lectures and are applied in workshops that involve weekly small group discussions of clinical case studies.

BIOC 1670 Clinical Nutrition
The overall goal of this elective course is to familiarize students with the biochemical principles of clinical nutrition. The specific objectives are to help students understand the principles and practices of nutritional management for selected disorders, nutritional support for hospitalized patients with selected medical conditions, and selected drug nutrient interactions.

BIOC 1671 Nutrient and Drug Biomembrane Transport
Students explore and discover in this course precisely how drugs administered via the GI tract reach their target(s). Such drugs may need to traverse numerous intervening biomembranes by various mechanisms including uniport, symport, antiport, primary active transport, and mechanisms that do not appear to involve transport proteins. Moreover, delivery to targets may be influenced by drug metabolism and elimination and by other drugs and nutrients, and students explore these effects in their final reports.

BIOC 1672 Clinical Enzymology
Serum enzymes and other proteins play an important role in the detection of disease and in the evaluation of the clinical course of numerous disease states. In this course, we review the factors that affect enzyme levels, including the extent and type of tissue damage, the rate of protein synthesis, the half-life of serum proteins, and patient variables such as age, sex, exercise, and drugs. In addition to the serum proteins, the course reviews the impact that diseases may have on other aspects of the chemistry profile.

BIOC 1675 Medical Research Design

In this one-credit-hour elective course, students learn by designing their own research projects and receiving critiques on their efforts. They receive feedback on their proposals from the instructor during small group meetings, two student reviewers selected by the students, one faculty reviewer identified by the students, and the entire class and the instructor during oral reports on the projects they design. This feedback concerns both the description and design of the proposal and difficulties encountered in receiving permission to study human subjects or other animals.


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