My Favorite… amino acid – Starting September 10th, 2019 @ 7:00pm EST

My Favorite… amino acid – Starting September 10th, 2019 @ 7:00pm EST

This  class will start September 10th, 2019 and consists of one 60 minute class, once a week for for 12 weeks.

Explore the intersection of chemistry, biology and history with a 12 week survey tour of the building blocks of life: amino acids. Find out how the twenty common amino acids were discovered, why they are important to building proteins, and how each (mostly) have a unique role to play in the processes of life, and in cancer and human disease. Each week, I will talk about two amino acids and by the end of the semester, I hope I will have convinced you to find your favorite amino acid and tell the class why it is your favorite.

 

(Spoiler alert, mine is serine, and I will also tell you why). You don’t even just have to have one favorite, because twist: Threonine is also my favorite. It is perfectly fine if you don’t know what those are going into the course, because you’ll learn all about them.

Prerequisites: Middle school knowledge of biology and chemistry, in particular the periodic table and elements.

Each week students will be asked to carry out a small amount of independent reading and keep a journal of the reading, in order to help with a final project where they outline their favorite amino acid. This can be done either in oral or written format.

Course Curriculum

  • Class 1: Introduction - what is an amino acid, and how do twenty of them build all the life on Earth
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  • Class 2: Serine & Threonine - phosphorylation
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  • Class 3: Tyrosine and Lysine - phosphorylation (and acetylation and methylation and SUMOylation, oh my!).
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  • Class 4: Proline and Alanine - Imposters
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  • Class 5: Glutamic Acid and Aspartic Acid - flavor enhancers
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  • Class 6: Asparagine and Glutamine - mind your Ps and Q.
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  • Class 7: Leucine and Isoleucine - maple syrup and insulin resistance
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  • Class 8: Methionine and Cysteine : Sulfur - a feature, not a bug
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  • Class 9 : Valine and Histidine : Sickle and Hay
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  • Class 10: Glycine and Leucine - hairpins and zippers
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  • Class 11: Arginine and Phenylalanine - lupin beans and Flowers for Algernon
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Instructors

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