Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works

Course No. 9572
Professor Kevin Ahern, PhD
Oregon State University
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Course No. 9572
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover the handful of elements involved in biochemical reactions, the bonds they form, and the wide array of molecules that result.
  • numbers Study the ways that cells regulate enzyme activity by directing the synthesis and breakdown of biomolecules.
  • numbers Survey the fats that obsess us in our diets and body shapes, notably triglycerides in their saturated and unsaturated forms.
  • numbers Discover how to eat in a way that minimizes harm and efficiently fixes the inevitable cellular damage from living.

Course Overview

One of the triumphs of modern science has been our ever-improving understanding of how life works—how chemical reactions at the cellular level account for respiration, digestion, reproduction, locomotion, and a host of other living processes. This exciting subject is biochemistry—and its allied field of molecular biology. In the past century, progress in these complementary disciplines has been astonishing, and a week rarely passes without major advances in medicine, physiology, genetics, nutrition, agriculture, or other areas, where biochemistry and molecular biology are shedding new light on life.

Anybody pursuing a career in a biology-based field—whether as a physician, pharmacist, or forester—must take biochemistry and molecular biology in college, usually after extensive preparation in biology and organic chemistry. But what about the rest of us? How do curious non-scientists get an accessible introduction to these fascinating ideas?

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works is that much-needed introduction, in 36 information-packed half-hour lectures tailored to viewers with no more science background than high school chemistry. Using the innovative methods that have earned him a multitude of teaching awards, Professor Kevin Ahern of Oregon State University covers the essential topics of a first-semester college course in biochemistry and molecular biology. You plunge into the thick of amino acids, proteins, enzymes, genes, and much more, learning the intricate workings of living cells, while discovering thought-provoking connections between the microworld and your own life.

Not only do these sciences tell us what’s happening at the most basic levels of living systems, but they also shed light on things such as:

  • Fad diets: Nutrients such as vitamin B12 are so beneficial that it’s tempting to ingest them in excess. But the body’s metabolic pathways are so finely tuned that these fad diets are either pointless or harmful. Similarly, artificial sweeteners can disrupt the gut bacteria and end up worse in some ways than sugar.
  • Wonder drugs: Medicines such as aspirin and penicillin were used long before anyone knew how they worked. But we now understand they contain compounds that inhibit specific cellular enzymes. By deciphering the biochemistry of disease agents, scientists can design drugs specifically to target their vulnerabilities.
  • DNA storage: With its paired bases, the double helix molecule of DNA is a remarkably efficient digital-storage medium. Advances in molecular biology now make it possible to create a sequence of bases of any length to encode information, meaning that all of the world’s data could be stored in a couple of pounds of DNA.

Drawing on years of classroom experience and his three popular textbooks, Professor Ahern conducts a graphics-intensive tour in which you always know where you are, even as you navigate the complex pathways of glycolysis and the Krebs citric acid cycle—two of the major stages leading from food to energy. Each step in a biological process is highlighted with detailed graphics so that you never lose your way. It’s quite a trip!

Designed for anyone curious about how life works, this course will especially appeal to:

  • Self-learners eager to tackle the fundamental science of life;
  • Those wanting a deeper grasp of diet and disease;
  • News enthusiasts keen to follow the biotechnology revolution;
  • Students enrolled in biochemistry or molecular biology;
  • Health care professionals who want an up-to-date review; and
  • Science teachers wishing to see a true master at work.

Enlightening and Also Entertaining

Among Professor Ahern’s teaching strategies are his “metabolic melodies”—clever poems and songs that he composed to aid students in memorizing material. An example, featured in Lecture 26, covers the replication of DNA:

  • Bases, sugars, phosphate bonds
  • Double helix, on and on
  • Need to jumpstart DNAs?
  • Get the enzyme called primase
  • When it comes to leading strands
  • Polymerase III is in command…

…and so on, through the enumeration of enzymes that play a role in unwinding the double helix of DNA and synthesizing new strands. Dr. Ahern’s verses (some to the tune of well-known songs, such as When Johnny Comes Marching Home) embody the enthusiastic, whimsical style that makes Biochemistry and Molecular Biology both enlightening and entertaining. Yet this delightful course is surprisingly deep and each viewing can teach you something new.

Start Simple; Build from There

Noting that biochemistry deals chiefly with just six bonding elements (out of the more than 100 in the periodic table of elements), Professor Ahern starts the course by stressing the subject’s underlying simplicity. Water is also a simplifying feature, since its unique properties—and ubiquity—make life possible. The cellular structure of life is another organizing principle of great elegance. Expanding on these themes and the nature of chemical bonds, you see how only twenty amino acids form the building blocks of proteins, which are the basis of all living tissues. And the instructions for building proteins are in the genes that comprise DNA and its related molecule, RNA.

As you proceed through the course, complexity mounts in intriguing ways, but there are always surprising links to an astonishing array of questions such as:

  • How does caffeine wake us up? Caffeine blocks the binding of sleep-inducing adenosine to its receptors on neurons. Caffeine also triggers an increase in blood glucose, particularly first thing in the morning, providing the same lift as from a piece of candy. That’s why, except for taste, sugar is not needed in a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Why do people obsessively check their phones? Interacting with other people, in person or via the phone, is a social activity favored by evolution because of its survival advantage. Our brains encourage us in this pursuit by a jolt of the “feel-good” chemical dopamine. The same neural pathway is hijacked by drug addiction.
  • Why don’t elephants get cancer? Cancer in humans is promoted by inactivation of a protein called p53, which plays a role in repairing DNA damage. While humans have just one pair of p53 genes, elephants have a whopping 20 pairs, making it much less likely that their tumor-suppressing system will be knocked out.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is thoroughly up to date, reflecting the subject as it is taught in the classroom today. For example, the relationship between an enzyme and its substrate (the substance on which it acts) was long portrayed as like a key fitting into a lock; the two had to match precisely, like puzzle pieces. In fact, Dr. Ahern points out, the fit is more like a foot slipping into a shoe that is not quite broken in. The footwear stretches before a comfortable fit is achieved. Something comparable happens between an enzyme and it substrate; their shapes alter slightly before they tightly bind, which is the point at which the catalyzed reaction begins. Similarly, proteins were once conventionally thought to have relatively fixed 3-D structures. But numerous proteins have at least one region that is intrinsically disordered— a trait that allows them to bind to a wider variety of partners.

Discover the “Science of Us”

Biochemistry is a much younger science than astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology, which date back to ancient times. Only with the accidental synthesis of urea (the principal component of urine) in 1828 did scientists begin to accept that ordinary chemistry might be behind living processes. Thus the humble urea molecule was the first inkling that a science of bio-chemistry was even possible. The field of molecular biology is even younger, getting its most-celebrated boost with the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953—a breakthrough that was the key to the long-sought mechanism for transmission of genetic information. Together, biochemistry and molecular biology have sparked a scientific revolution every bit as momentous as Einstein’s relativity or Hubble’s discovery of the expanding universe. In this case, the dramatic change in thinking is directed inward—to the qualities that make us who we are. This remarkable field of study, says Professor Ahern in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is truly “the science of us.”

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Biochemistry Is the Science of Us
    Get started on the subject that Professor Ahern calls “the science of us”— biochemistry and its allied field molecular biology, which both tell us who we are. Discover the handful of elements involved in biochemical reactions; the bonds they form; and the wide array of molecules that result, including amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Also, learn about the major types of living cells. x
  • 2
    Why Water Is Essential for Life
    Investigate why water is so singularly suited to life. Composed of two hydrogen atoms for each oxygen atom, water molecules have a polar charge due to the uneven arrangement of shared electrons. See how this simple feature allows water to dissolve sugars and salts, while leaving oils and fats untouched. Also learn what makes water solutions acidic or basic, and how this property is measured on the pH scale. x
  • 3
    Amino Acids: 20 Building Blocks of Life
    Take a tour through the 20 amino acids that link together in different combinations and sequences to build proteins. Besides water, proteins are the most abundant molecules in all known forms of life. Also the most diverse class of biological molecules, proteins make up everything from enzymes and hormones to antibodies and muscle cells—all based on an alphabet of 20 basic building blocks. x
  • 4
    From Peptide Bonds to Protein Structure
    Learn how peptide bonds join amino acids to form an almost unlimited number of protein types. The order of amino acids matters, but even more important are the shapes they form. Survey primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structures, with examples—from silk (a fibrous protein with mostly secondary structure) to the intricately folded hemoglobin protein (a quaternary structure). x
  • 5
    Protein Folding, Misfolding, and Disorder
    Discover how proteins fold into complex shapes, often with the help of molecular chaperones. Then learn the deadly consequences of proteins that do not fold properly, leading to degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prion diseases. Also look at intrinsically disordered proteins, which lack a fixed structure, permitting flexible interactions with other biomolecules. x
  • 6
    Hemoglobin Function Follows Structure
    Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from lungs to tissues and then takes away carbon dioxide for exhalation. Learn how structure is the key to this complicated and vital function. Also see how variant forms of hemoglobin, such as fetal hemoglobin and the mutation behind sickle cell anemia, can have life-saving or fatal consequences—all depending on structure. x
  • 7
    Enzymes' Amazing Speed and Specificity
    Witness how structure and function are related in enzymes, which are a group of proteins that stimulate biochemical reactions to run at astonishing speed. One example is OMP decarboxylase, an enzyme that produces a crucial component of DNA in a blistering 0.02 second, versus the 78 million years that the reaction would normally take! Analyze the mechanisms behind these apparent superpowers. x
  • 8
    Enzyme Regulation in Cells
    How do cells control the tremendous power of enzymes? Study the ways that cells regulate enzyme activity by directing the synthesis and breakdown of biomolecules. One reason biochemists care so much about enzymes is that many medical conditions result from enzyme activity that is excessive or insufficient. Consider examples such as hemophilia, hypertension, and high cholesterol. x
  • 9
    Fatty Acids, Fats, and Other Lipids
    Lipids are a varied group of molecules that include fats, oils, waxes, steroids, hormones, and some vitamins. Survey the fats that obsess us in our diets and body shapes, notably triglycerides in their saturated and unsaturated forms. Then explore the role lipids play in energy storage and cell membrane structure, and cover the multitude of health benefits of the lipid vitamins: A, D, E, and K. x
  • 10
    Sugars: Glucose and the Carbohydrates
    Probe the biochemistry of sugars that provide us with instant energy, feed our brains, direct proteins to their destinations, and communicate the identity of our cells. On the other hand, when present in large quantities they can lead to Type 2 diabetes, and the wrong sugar markers on transfused blood cells can even kill us. x
  • 11
    ATP and Energy Transformations in Cells
    Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the fuel that powers many processes in living cells. Every day we make and break down our own body weight in ATP. Focus on the chemical reactions behind this impressive energy conversion system, which is governed by the Gibbs free energy equation. These reactions, which can proceed either forward or backward, are among the most important in biochemistry. x
  • 12
    Breaking Down Sugars and Fatty Acids
    A metabolic pathway is a series of biochemical reactions, where the product of one serves as the substrate for the next. Biochemists compare these pathways to road maps that show the network of reactions leading from one chemical to the next. Follow the metabolic pathway called glycolysis that breaks up glucose and other sugars. Then trace the route for fatty acid oxidation. x
  • 13
    Metabolism Meets at the Citric Acid Cycle
    The products from the reactions in the previous lecture now enter the Krebs citric acid cycle. The outcome of these reactions, in turn, link to many other pathways, with the Krebs cycle serving as the hub directing the intricate traffic of metabolic intermediates. After decoding the Krebs cycle, use it to illuminate a deep mystery about cancer cells, which suggests new therapies for the disease. x
  • 14
    Energy Harvesting in Animals and Plants
    Thus far, your investigations have accounted for only part of the energy available from food. So where's all the ATP? In this lecture, see how ATP is produced in abundance in both animal and plant cells, largely via mitochondria (in animals and plants) and chloroplasts (in plants only). You also learn why we need oxygen to stay alive and how poisons such as cyanide do their deadly work. x
  • 15
    How Animals Make Carbs and Fats
    Take a tour of cell manufacturing, focusing on metabolic pathways that use energy to synthesize key molecules, including sugars, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids, and other lipids. Along the way, learn why alcohol and exercise don't mix, how our bodies create short- and long-term energy stores, and why some essential fatty acids can lead to health problems if their ratios are not optimal. x
  • 16
    Cholesterol, Membranes, Lipoproteins
    The word “cholesterol” evokes fear in anyone worried about coronary artery disease. But what is this ubiquitous lipid and how harmful is it? Examine the key steps in cholesterol synthesis, learn about its important role in membranes, and discover where LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) and HDLs (“good”) come from. It isn’t cholesterol alone that is plugging arteries in atherosclerosis. x
  • 17
    Metabolic Control during Exercise and Rest
    See how cells manage complex and interconnected metabolic pathways, especially in response to exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. Then discover the secret of warm-blooded animals and what newborn babies have in common with hibernating grizzly bears—with lessons for combatting obesity. Also, learn about a drug from the 1930s that helped people burn fat in their sleep—as it killed them. x
  • 18
    How Plants Make Carbs and Other Metabolites
    Study how plants use sunlight and reduction reactions to build carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. This synthesis of food from air and water occurs in a series of reactions called the Calvin cycle. While humans exploit plants for food and fiber, we also utilize a multitude of other plant molecules called secondary metabolites. These include flavors, dyes, caffeine, and even catnip. x
  • 19
    Recycling Nitrogen: Amino Acids, Nucleotides
    Nitrogen is a key component of amino acids, DNA, and RNA, yet animal and plant cells are unable to extract free nitrogen from air. See how bacteria come to the rescue. Then follow the flow of nitrogen from bacteria to plants to us. Also look at strategies for reducing our reliance on environmentally unsound nitrogen fertilizers by exploiting the secret of 16-feet-tall corn plants found in Mexico. x
  • 20
    Eating, Antioxidants, and the Microbiome
    Discover how to eat in a way that minimizes harm and efficiently fixes the inevitable damage from living. Learn that certain cooking methods can increase the formation of harmful compounds. And substances such as antioxidants found in some foods can reduce the impact of damaging chemical reactions within cells. Also cover recent findings about gut bacteria that have changed our views about diet. x
  • 21
    Hormones, Stress, and Cell Division
    Cellular communication depends on specific molecular interactions, where the message and the receiver are biomolecules. Follow this process for signaling molecules such as the hormones epinephrine, adrenalin, and epidermal growth factor, which stimulates cells to divide. Cellular signaling is like the children's game called telephone, except the message is usually conveyed accurately! x
  • 22
    Neurotransmitters, the Brain, and Addiction
    When you touch a hot stove, you recoil instantly. How do nerve cells process information so quickly? Trace nerve impulses—which involve electrical signals and neurotransmitters—as they pass from neuron to neuron, and from neuron to muscle cells. Study molecules that block nerve transmissions, such as snake venom and Botox treatments, and look at the role of dopamine in addiction behaviors. x
  • 23
    The Biochemistry of Our Senses
    Most of the reactions you have studied so far occur outside everyday awareness. Now investigate the most important biochemical signals that we habitually notice: the molecular reactions that give rise to the five senses. Analyze the sensory origins of colors, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch, mapping them through the nervous system. Observe how the senses are “tuned” to enhance our survival. x
  • 24
    From Biochemistry to Molecular Biology
    Trace the pathways of two widely ingested molecules: caffeine and fructose. Caffeine fools the body—usually harmlessly—into increasing glucose in the blood, while too much fructose can lead to unhealthy accumulation of fat in the liver. Then focus on two topics that link with the upcoming molecular biology segment of the course: androgen insensitivity and the molecular mechanisms of aging. x
  • 25
    DNA and RNA: Information in Structure
    Advance into the last third of the course, where you cover molecular biology, which deals with the biochemistry of reproduction. Zero in on DNA and how its double-helix structure relates to its function. Then look at the single-stranded RNA molecule, which is a central link in the process, “DNA makes RNA makes protein.” Also consider how viruses flourish with very little DNA or RNA. x
  • 26
    DNA Replication in Bacteria; PCR in the Lab
    Focus on DNA's ability to replicate by matching complementary base pairs to separated strands of the helix. Several specialized enzymes are involved, as well as temporary segments of RNA. Explore this process in bacteria. Then investigate the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a Nobel Prize-winning technique for copying DNA segments in the lab, which has sparked a biotechnology revolution. x
  • 27
    Chromosome Replication, Telomeres, Aging
    Examine the cell cycle of eukaryotic cells like our own and the cycle's effect on DNA replication. Discover that a quirk in the copying of linear DNA leads to shrinking of chromosomes as cells age, a problem reversed in egg and sperm cells by the telomerase enzyme. For this reason, telomerase might appear to be the secret to immortality except its unregulated presence in cells can lead to cancer. x
  • 28
    DNA Mismatch and Excision Repair
    Cells go to great lengths to prevent mutations. Luckily, these measures are not quite perfect, since nature relies on mutations to drive evolution. Study the methods that cells use to minimize alterations to their DNA. Find that DNA repair can interfere with cancer treatment, when the malignant cells survive medical therapy by repairing their DNA faster than the treatment can halt the repair. x
  • 29
    DNA Recombination, Gene Editing, CRISPR
    Delve deeper into DNA replication, learning that a process called genetic recombination assures that no two individuals will have the same DNA, unless they are twins derived from a single fertilized egg. Trace the new technologies that have arisen from our understanding of recombination and repair of DNA, notably CRISPR, which permits precise alteration of gene sequences. x
  • 30
    Transcribing DNA to RNA
    RNA is more than simply a copy of the DNA blueprint. Focus on the synthesis of RNA, covering how it differs from DNA replication. Also learn how human cells shuffle their genetic code to make about 100,000 different proteins using fewer than 30,000 coding sequences. Finally, see how knowledge of transcription occurring after death helps forensic scientists establish the time of death accurately. x
  • 31
    Translating RNA into Proteins
    Learn how cells solve the problem of reading information in messenger RNA and using it to direct protein synthesis. Focus on how different parts of the translation apparatus work together through sequence-specific interactions. Also discover how antibiotics kill bacteria and what makes the bioterrorism agent ricin so deadly. Close by investigating techniques to create biological drugs on demand. x
  • 32
    Protein-Synthesis Controls and Epigenetics
    Explore the controls that determine which genes are expressed at a given time, where in the body, and to what extent. Controls that act over and above the information in DNA are called epigenetic, and they can be passed on to offspring for a generation or two. Consider the case of honeybees, where a special food affects which genes are expressed, turning an ordinary larva into a queen bee. x
  • 33
    Human Genetic Disease and Gene Therapy
    Roughly 10,000 human diseases may be caused by mutations in single genes. Review the nature of genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and Alzheimer’s. Also examine diseases that emerge from mutations in mitochondrial DNA. Finally, assess the challenges of using gene therapy and other technologies to treat genetic diseases—issues that raise technical, legal, and ethical problems. x
  • 34
    Cancer Mechanisms and Treatments
    Cover the ways that cells become cancerous, notably through a series of unfortunate mutations that lead to uncontrolled cell division. Genetics, environmental factors, infections, and lifestyle can also play a role. Learn why elephants don't get cancer. Then look at approaches to treating cancer, including use of agents that target rapidly dividing cells, whose side effects include hair loss. x
  • 35
    Biotechnology, Stem Cells, Synthetic Biology
    Molecular biology allows scientists and engineers to manipulate the recipes written in our genes. Spotlight some of the developments drawing on these techniques, including cloning, reprogramming cells, harnessing stem cells, and initiatives in “synthetic” biology, a new field that lets researchers create genomes that have never before existed, essentially fashioning entirely new life forms. x
  • 36
    Omics: Genomics, Proteomics, Transcriptomics
    Close by surveying exciting developments in molecular biology that are now unfolding. One area has been dubbed “omics,” based on the explosion of applications due to genomics, which is the decoding of human and other genomes. Thus, we now have “proteomics,” “transcriptomics,” and other subfields, all exploiting our knowledge of the DNA sequences responsible for specific biochemical pathways. x

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Your professor

Kevin Ahern

About Your Professor

Kevin Ahern, PhD
Oregon State University
Kevin Ahern is a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State University (OSU), where he also received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics. He has served on the OSU faculty in Biochemistry/Biophysics since the mid-1990s. Dr. Ahern is the coauthor of three popular biochemistry textbooks; two cowritten with his wife, Indira Rajagopal. In addition, he has published more than 700 articles. Professor Ahern has...
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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 78.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course and Great Professor Took this 50 years ago.Great refresher. The professor is GREAT. Great visuals. Lectures are easy to follow and presented quite effectively. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2020-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A most engaging professor Dr.Ahern has a unique ability to bring the subject to life for those of us with only rudimentary organic and biochemistry background. He uses good storytelling technique and excellent examples to bring the subject to a level we can easily grasp.
Date published: 2020-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lady and the Cats It has been nearly 40 years since I took a biochemistry course in college. This has been a great review and I am learning some new things (or possibly info. I have forgotten.)
Date published: 2020-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my best biochemistry courses ever! I have taken many biochemistry courses over my lifetime and some of them have been truly excellent. This course ranks up there with the best of the best. Very up-to-date and very easy to follow. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
Date published: 2020-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow. From the top and then some. Now a retired physician I was intrigued by title. I was wondering how much has changed in the half century. It turns out the basic principles have endured (mostly) but the detail was mind boggling. And the lectures were engrossing as well as entertaining. Well done!
Date published: 2020-07-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from very complicated Much too advanced for anybody but a college biochemistry student. Even then there is very detailed info about the Krebs cycle and ATP generation. Too much for me. I returned the course.
Date published: 2020-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent review I took biochemistry in 1960 and was very confused Professor Ahern did a great job of explaining where the reactions occur I look forward in using this information in reading medical journals
Date published: 2020-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great introduction I took this course to become familiar with the concepts and nomenclature of molecular biology and the course is perfect for this purpose.
Date published: 2020-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lectures I have purchased several courses of various interests to me and have not been disappointed This course was of special interest as it offered a great review of a subject with which I was familiar
Date published: 2020-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is in my top 5 This is in my top 5 of all the courses I have taken from the Great Courses. And I can't offer that number for I don't really know the exact answer. My background is in engineering, math, physics, etc. I only took first year college chemistry and zero biology even in high school. In my adult life I have educated myself on supplements, been a gym rat, did a lot of jogging, walking, biking, and was an EMT on an ambulance for years. This course turned the lights on in a lot of these hallways I have traveled and startled me with many unexpected factoids that made sense and surprised. And the course revealed intersections tying many of these hallways together. The course is just eye opening for me! I did have to overcome one hurtle as I watched the first few lessons. I had to admit to myself that I was not going to be able to commit all the info presented to memory and with full understanding at the details of chemistry and biology. I mean just memorizing the names of the 20 amino acids is too much for my memory - forget a progression on to just the proteins! After accepting that, I was fine and found meaningful analogs between the chem and bio systems discussed and the systems I knew in my experience areas. The life on this planet is confusingly complex - and astounding. And the elegance of the operation of our biology is off the charts. I offer kudos to the all scientists who have figured out the operations. I offer kudos to Professor Ahern for his genius presentation of this material. I wish he had shown his pony tail hair style more openly. His bravery and talent in offering his poetry, rap and singing to us students is also appreciated, commendable and noted.
Date published: 2020-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Marvellous This is the 70th course I have taken. I think it may be the best course I have completed. It certainly is among the top 3. I majored in Biochemistry and directed a cancer research laboratory for 7 years. I was well funded and had about 75 publications. This course would have helped me immensely. It lucidly explained more than a dozen concepts that I had to teach myself, or just treat as a mysterious black box (microsatelite DNA, mitochondrial DNA, CRSPR, and others). Professsor Ahern presented a huge amount of information from basic acid-base chemistry to transcriptomics. The choice and sequence of the lectures was beautifully done. His explanations of very complex phenomena were very clear, and the illustrations offered gave great insight. I did appreciate his frequent reference and connection to human disease pathology and treatment. His poems and songs were very amusing and funny. It is not an easy, or superficial handling of the many secrets of life that were given. It required work and a good deal of time to get through all 36 lectures. But I highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in the many mysteries of life and living systems.
Date published: 2020-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and interesting lectures and professor This course is fascinating. Well structured and delivered... I enjoyed every minute and will watch it again.
Date published: 2020-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Engaging Professor Ahern is is very dynamic and skilled with making his subject comprehensible and interesting.
Date published: 2020-05-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very disappointed. The lecturer speaks much too fast, and his enunciation, especially at the end of phrases and sentences, drops to unintelligibility even though I am listening with noise-canceling headset.
Date published: 2020-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything and More! Clarity, humour, and answers a lot of questions about dietary carbohydrates, fat, protein; cancer; and more.
Date published: 2020-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prof Ahern Is Wonderful and Gifted I just couldn't stop watching this remarkable series of talks by the very gifted Professor Ahern. He has a combination of total command of his subject matter and skill in using plain English to describe it viewers that I have seldom seen in anyone, academic or not, giving talks on any subject. Don't miss this course!
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to understand! Who needs Netflix? This course is so entertaining in that I am learning about many real life things I just didn't understand before.
Date published: 2020-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expert Just the book kept me occupied a few days. Very well presented. Now I’ll start the DVD’s.
Date published: 2020-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course on a complicated subject I have to watch each lecture 2 or 3 times to pick up the details. Fascinating and the complexity of the cell is mind boggling to say the least. Professor seems to know his stuff, as good as any "in college" lecture/course I've attended. I am only on lecture 9, may take a while to get through this one! You don't need calculus for this course but some background in basic chemistry might help. But if you think you might find the mechanisms of life at the molecular level interesting go for it.
Date published: 2020-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Refresher The last time I took a college course in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was about 50 years ago. I enjoyed it then, and I enjoyed relearning the concepts even more. Ahern covers all the basics in the first twenty lectures or so, but for me the course got really interesting in the last third, when he covered topics such as CRISPR, gene editing, DNA replication, biotechnology and more. This is a worthy course, but I caution the buyer that a background in chemistry, preferably organic chemistry, really helps in understanding the concepts, equations, and mechanisms of how our body works.
Date published: 2020-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works This is hands down one of the best courses I have ever purchased. Professor Ahern clearly explains a complex subject for the non-scientists. He offers great example and give us insight into interesting daily happening in our bodies. One of the best I have watched. I love science, so I loved this!!!
Date published: 2020-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview of subject matter Very good lecturer and I also liked his organization of material were he gave a broader context before going into details rather than the more traditional prue bottom up approach. Not clear if his perchance for poetry/song helped or not but was an amusing adjunct to his lecture recaps which were appreciated.
Date published: 2020-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Professor Kevin Ahern is very knowledgeable, enjoyable, and great at keeping one interested.
Date published: 2020-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review, March 2020 I watched all 36 lectures over a 2 week period, and absolutely loved this course, albeit that was a lot of information to take in.
Date published: 2020-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from just what I was looking for.. This course is just what I was looking for to acquire foundation knowledge in biochemistry. It will take me a while to work through it as I am giving it serious study. The presentation is clear and concise and at an appropriate college entry level.
Date published: 2020-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent scholarly review I bought the course 6 month ago and recently reviewed it. Great course. I studied Bio in Med School in 1960. The new developments in bio are unfathomable and most exciting. Unbelievable work took place. The best course I have taken sofar: very thorough, extensive and enlightening, presented by an excellent professor.Some of the illustrations could have been more lively otherwise a most fantastic course
Date published: 2020-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent diagrams and animations I haven't finished this course but so far I've found it fascinating and very well presented. The visual information is so helpful in conveying the details, and the professor has a relaxed, friendly style. He has organized the information very effectively so that it's not hard to take in the large amount of information presented.
Date published: 2020-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great opportunity to learn something new While I have not completed this course, I am very satisfied up to this point. The videos are excellent quality, the instructor is very informative and slightly animated, which keeps my interest. I have been able to multitask while learning walking on a treadmill at the gym which is an added bonus. I am glad I have taken this great opportunity to learn and plan to continue.
Date published: 2020-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining and Informative This is the second biochemistry course I've take with Dr. Ahern. The first one was a 20 hour course with the Lectorio Medical Review program. He is entertaining and a very good presenter. One should understand chemistry and organic chemistry before taking this course. I took every chemistry course that TGC offers, plus a number of others before starting Dr. Ahern's course. Biochemistry is a complex subject and even knowledgeable students may benefit from watching this program a couple of times. Please have more courses on various topics associated with biochemistry, nutritional biochemistry, food science, human metabolism and physiology.
Date published: 2020-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is an excellent course with an excellent lecturer. Very up to date course. However the lecturer tends to go too fast to grasp a lot of the chemistry involved. I had to go back to the book to clarify things. I did enjoy the section on molecular biology a little more than the section on biochemistry.
Date published: 2020-02-05
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