CHEM 326
Chemical and Synthetic Biology Fall 2019
Division III

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Chemistry provides invaluable tools for investigating and manipulating biological systems. Recent advances increasingly allow us to exploit the complex technological capabilities evolved by living things. This course will survey the highly interdisciplinary and interconnected fields of chemical and synthetic biology. These disciplines bring chemical tools and frameworks to bear on living systems and address problems in basic science, medicine, chemical production, biotechnology and more. Chemical biology uses precise molecular-level manipulations to influence living systems from the bottom up, often by introducing components that are completely foreign to nature. Synthetic biology takes advantage of existing molecular technology and adopts an engineering mindset to reprogram living systems. Both fields are quite new, rapidly evolving, and full of promise–as well as hype! In this course, we will aim to: 1) develop our own conceptions of chemical and synthetic biology and their interplay; 2) learn the fundamental techniques for using chemistry to manipulate biology; and 3) critically assess the progress, shortcomings and challenges for these areas. Our format will include student-driven presentation and discussion of primary literature case studies along with instructor-presented content. Topics we may cover include bioconjugation, chemical synthesis of biomacromolecules, synthetic organisms, metabolic engineering, directed evolution, and comprehensive reworking of the central dogma.
The Class: Type: lecture, three hours per week
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1410
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: presentations, class participation, problem sets, short papers, and a final research project
Prerequisites: CHEM/BIOL/BIMO 321
Distributions: Division III
Attributes: BIMO Interdepartmental Electives

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