Advanced Seminar in Biochemistry


The goal of this seminar course is to improve both the written and oral scientific communication skills of specialist students, as well as to increase their knowledge of key papers in biochemistry. The course will foster close interactions between students and faculty through the in depth discussion of classic papers in biochemistry. Critical thinking skills will be developed, as will presentation skills, as students present results, analyze and discuss new findings. Writing skills will be developed through a project proposal.

Course Next Offered

Offered in Winter 2016

Course Time and Location

Seminars are held on Thursdays from 1:00-3:00pm in Room 2394, Medical Sciences Building, over a 12-week period.


BCH340H1 + 377H1 + 378H1, and permission of Department

Enrollment Limit


The course is restricted to eight specialist students to enhance the interaction with faculty mentors. Two students will be assigned to each faculty member, who will assist them in their paper selection and presentations.

Method of Student Evaluation

Participation in discussions 20%
Session 2 paper presentation 10%
Session 3 paper presentation 10%
Session 3 project pitch 10%
Paper summary 10%
Letter 10%
Project proposal 30%

Total 100%

Note: Paper Summary is due in class the day of the paper presentation for distribution to the class. The Letter and the Project Proposal are due on April 15th.

Course Content

The course will be presented in 2 h classes over 12 weeks, arranged in three sessions. In the first session, over the first four weeks, faculty members will provide an introduction to the four different topics, followed by presentation of two classic papers in each field that students are expected to read in advance and engage in a round table discussion. In the second session, over the next four weeks, two more classic papers will be presented, this time as a student-led round table discussion. The third session, over the final four weeks of the course, will feature student presentations of a recent publication in each field, selected by each student in consultation with a faculty mentor, and end with a 10-minute pitch for a project proposal. Each student will write a 250-word lay summary of the selected paper, a compelling letter to the senior author asking about PhD studies in their lab and a 2-page project proposal that includes figures, tables and references. Active participation in the discussion of papers is essential.

Speakers and Topics

Date Faculty Leader Topic Format
January 14, 2016 Reithmeier Membrane Proteins Introduction
January 21, 2016 Nodwell Antibiotic Production Introduction
January 28, 2016 Palazzo mRNA and Protein Targeting Introduction
February 4, 2016 Wilde Cell Division Introduction
February 11, 2016 Reithmeier Membrane Proteins Paper Discussion
February 18, 2016 No class
February 25, 2016 Nodwell Antibiotic Production Paper Discussion
March 3, 2016 Palazzo mRNA and Protein Targeting Paper Discussion
March 10, 2016 Wilde Cell Division Paper Discussion
March 17, 2016 Reithmeier Membrane Proteins Project Presentation
March 24, 2016 Nodwell Antibiotic Production Project Presentation
March 31, 2016 Palazzo mRNA and Protein Targeting Project Presentation
April 7, 2016 Wilde Cell Division Project Presentation


Reinhart Reithmeier

Reinhart Reithmeier

Medical Sciences Building, Room 5368


Last Updated 16 December 2015