What really are anti-oxidants and why are they important? Why might aspirin help you survive a heart attack? Why do you smell like nail polish remover if your diabetes goes dangerously untreated? Read on (or scroll to the very end) to find out.
The biochemistry course we just took helped us answer these questions, and so many more. It was a lot of fun – we had labs, group work, and a lot of studying to do. In this course review I’ll be walking you though these different components of the course and offering you the crème de la crème advice I can to ensure you thrive in this course (and don’t make the same mistakes I did!).
Lab, and lots of it
We did two different labs, both of which spanned a couple of days. We worked in pairs and spent about 10-15 hours in the lab for each. They were really fun and we used several techniques we had previously studied in theory like affinity chromatography, gas chromatography, SDS PAGE, etc. This is what the labs were about:
- we drew our own blood and analyzed its fat composition, like the amounts and types of different lipids like neutral lipids, phospholipids, and cholesterol.
- we purified protein called PTP1B (an activator of insulin receptors) from a cell lysate and characterized its activity as an enzyme
My advice for lab days: You’re on your feet for quite a few hours, so make sure you
- know your lab protocol well before you even step foot in the lab
- sleep well the night before
- eat something that makes you feel motivated and energetic for lunch
Here are some of the pictures I took! There is a rotary evaporator in use, tubes with blood serum for testing cholesterol levels, and an SDS PAGE gel after staining.
Some group work…
In this course, we did two projects in groups. One was about atherosclerosis and cholesterol, and the other was about diabetes and insulin.
It was really interesting because it made our subject material more pertinent to the real world. Plus, we were in groups of 4 to 7 which let us cover a lot more information and learn from each other. We had to do a presentation for a teacher with whom we discussed what we had learned. I rather like presenting and speaking so I enjoy these projects quite a lot, but they’re a great way to help you improve at presenting too.
My advice for groupwork: make sure you have a group chat made, the presentation file shared, and the work divided ASAP. We did that and it was glorious: that way you know what you’re procrastinating and you can pat yourself in the back when you’re done.
Lectures and studying schedules
There were quite a few lectures in this course, and a fair amount of reading one had to do to keep up with them. We also had seminars where we had the chance to recap the material and explore related concepts that weren’t discussed at great length in the lectures themselves. The lectures themselves started around 9 or 10 am usually (which I personally prefer because one gets a bit more time in the morning to prep for class, work out, or sleep in)
There was a lot to learn, and if you didn’t plan and execute your studying well…. Let’s just say some of my weekends (especially before tests and deadlines), ended up looking like this:
My advice for lectures and studying schedules: keep up with the reading and take good notes! (blog post with tips coming soon). They will help you revise effectively and you won’t get swamped in the sheer volume of things you need to learn.
This was a really fun course, and while I’d like to give you some answers for my clickbait-esque questions, it would take a while to explain things – there is an entire course about this stuff after all. But I can definitely stay true to the mindset of this course and set you off on your own journey of discovery.
Click on the links for more resources: antioxidants defend the body against oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species, this is how aspirin can affect your blood’s tendency to clot , and diabetes can be detected by your breath smelling like acetone.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and until next time!
Hello, Inika here. I’m a third-year Biomedicine bachelor’s student at KI. I'm from India and a little bit from Sweden. As a Digital Ambassador Blogger, I'll be writing about my programme, things happening in and around KI, and giving insights into university life.