BB404 - Metabolism and Bioenergetics
The course will be quite easy for you if you are interested in chemistry as most of it consisted of reactions and pathways. There was a bit of thermodynamics involved as well. Overall, it was quite manageable if you devote some time to it, irrespective of your background.
Time Commitment Required
There were regular assignments which kept you on track, hence if you give time to those and study a day before the exam, I think you are good to go.
Grading Policy and Statistics
The grading was pretty chill. Many people got 9s and 10s.
As it was conducted in an online mode, the Professor was not very strict and there was no attendance policy as such. There were only around 20 people who registered for the course, out of which 10 attended classes and a few ended up dropping the course.
No prerequisites required as such, basic knowledge in chemistry would suffice.
The weightages were evenly distributed, with assignments and surprise quizzes holding a fewer percentage as compared to midsems and endsems.
Topics Covered in the Course
Overview of metabolism; concept of flow of matter and energy; thermodynamics of coupled systems and non-equilibrium reactions; biological energy currencies: high energy bond, reducing power and inter conversions of energy forms; carbon, nitrogen cycles in biosphere; classification of living system based on carbon and energy requirements; methods to study metabolism; carbohydrate and lipid catabolism; glycolysis; TCA cycle; fatty acid oxidation, other metabolic routes of carbon; oxidative phosphorylation; biosynthesis of carbohydrates and lipids photosynthesis; photosynthetic electron transport; Calvin cycle and other avenues of harvesting light energy; gluconeogenesis;
MS Teams and teaching was done through slides and interactive videos.
Assignments were intuitive and interesting. Mainly involved tracking molecules in different pathways.
Feedback on Exams
Midsems and Endsems were a bit tough as usual. The only problem I felt was the time constraint, in the surprise quizzes as well
Motivation for taking this course
Mainly, because I had to complete my BB minor and also because the topic sounded interesting. I expected more of practical applications rather than fundamentals of metabolism.
I got to learn various pathways(although it is a quite complex system) of metabolism in the body, like the Krebs Cycle.
This course is not very useful for future core or non-core research purposes, although the aspect of mass spectrometry taught in the end might be quite useful in biotechnology.
How strongly would I recommend this course?
If you are into chemistry and have a slight interest in Bio, I would recommend you to take this course. It is heavily biased towards biochemistry topics and focuses on organic chemistry.
When to take this course?
I took it in the Spring Semester of 2020-21. I think you can take this course during this time, provided you can manage all of your other academic commitments. I had labs during this time, so I thought I could manage with a minor course.
You might be interested to take other Bio courses after completing this course, like BB415-Cell and Molecular Biology, which was mainly focused on the Biology aspect rather than Chemistry.
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry.
Interesting relevant links
BB 404 Review By: Siddhant Wagh