Rhodes University - Faculty of Science

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MICROBIOLOGY (2000)

Professor of Biotechnology & Head of Department PD Rose, BSc (Hons)(Cape Town), PhD(Rhodes)
Professor of Biochemistry and Dean of Research JR Duncan, PhD(Natal)
Professor of Microbiology R Kirby, MA(Cantab), PhD(East Anglia)
Associate Professor of Biochemistry CG Whiteley, PhD(Natal), MRSC, CChem
Associate Professor & Head of Biochemistry GL Blatch, BSc(Hons)(Natal), PhD(Cape Town)
Associate Professor & Head of Microbiology DA Hendry, MSc(Stell), PhD(CapeTown)
Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry SG Burton, BSc (Hons), GradCE (Zimbabwe), PhD(Rhodes)
Senior Lecturer in Microbiology RA Dorrington, BSc(Stell), PhD(Cape Town)
Junior Lecturer in Biotechnology W Leukes, PhD(Rhodes)
Honorary Fellows R van der Merwe, BSc(Rhodes), BSc(Hons) (UNISA), PhD(Rhodes)
OO Hart, MSc(Potchefstroom), DSc(Pretoria)

The Department offers courses in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology. Leather Science is offered in association with LIRI Technologies.

See the Departmental Web Page http://www.ru.ac.za/biochemistry for further details, particularly on the contents of courses.

Biochemistry

Biochemistry (BCH) is a four-semester subject which may be taken as a major subject for the degrees of BSc, BCom and BJourn.

To major in Biochemistry, a candidate is required to obtain credit in the following courses: CHE 1; BCH 2; BCH 3: See Rule S.23.

Second-year level courses in Biochemistry

There are two second-year courses in Biochemistry. BCH 201 is held in the first semester and BCH 202 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course BCH 2, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum (40%) in each component. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. Practical reports, essays and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark.

Credit in Chemistry (CHE 1) is required before a student may register for BCH 201, or BCH 202. Adequate performance in BCH 201 is required before a student may register for BCH 202.

BCH 201

(One theory paper and a practical examination in June).
Introduction to Biochemistry, Biochemical building blocks, amino acids and proteins, carbohydrates, enzymology, lipids, membranes.

BCH 202

(One theory paper and a practical examination in November).
Molecular biology, metabolism, vitamins and coenzymes, plant biochemistry, bioenergetics and thermodynamics.

Third-year level courses in Biochemistry

There are two third-year courses in Biochemistry. BCH 301 is held in the first semester and BCH 302 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course BCH 3, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum (40%) in each component. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. Practical reports, essays and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark.

Credit in Biochemistry (BCH 2) is required before a student may register for BCH 301 or BCH 302. Adequate performance in BCH 301 is required before a student may register for BCH 302.

BCH 301

(Two theory papers and a practical examination in June).
Biochemical techniques, biological chemistry, enzyme mechanisms, biosynthesis of biomolecules, enzymology.

BCH 302

(Two theory papers and a practical examination in November).
Metabolic disorders, clinical biochemistry, nutrition, applied biochemistry.

Biochemistry Honours

The course consists of lectures on selected advanced topics such as drug metabolism, advanced enzymology, applied enzymology, food chemistry and brewing, antibiotics, biomedical biochemistry, receptors, hormones; a seminar including a literature review on a general biochemical topic, essays and a research project.

Microbiology

Microbiology (MIC) is a four-semester subject which may be taken as a major subject for the degrees of BSc, BCom and BJourn. To major in Microbiology, a candidate is required to obtain credit in the following courses: CHE 1; ZOO 1 or BOT 1 or BIO 1; MIC 2; MIC 3. See Rule S.23.

Second-year level courses in Microbiology

There are two second-year courses in Microbiology. MIC 201 is normally held in the first semester and MIC 202 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course MIC 2, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum (40%) in each component. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. Practical reports, essays and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark.

Credit in Chemistry (CHE 1) and in either Botany (BOT 1) or Zoology (ZOO 1) or Biology (BIO 1) is required before a student may register for MIC 201 or MIC 202. Adequate performance in the first semester is required before a student may register for the second semester. Permission may be granted to repeat CHE 1 concurrently with MIC 201 and MIC 202.

The courses are comprised of the following modules, not necessarily in the given position, each module lasting about three weeks.

MIC 201

(One paper and a practical examination).
Introductory Microbiology (classification, growth, assay and control of microorganisms). Organization and replication of microbes (microbial structure; cellular organization and modes of replication of yeast, bacteria and viruses). Microbial interactions (microorganisms of soil and water; their interrelationships, activity and impact; nutrient cycling). Immunology (nature of the immune response; structure of antigens and immunoglobulins; cellular immunology; serology.

MIC 202

(One paper and a practical examination).
Introductory molecular biology (the structure of nucleic acids and proteins; the flow of genetic information). Metabolism (energy generation; biosynthetic pathways; enzyme regulation). Basic bacterial genetics (bacterial conjugation, transformation and transduction; plasmids; bacteriophages). Procaryote gene regulation (plasmid replication and host range; transposable elements; regulation of gene expression). Food and medical microbiology (the role of foodstuffs in the transmission of pathogenic microbes).

Third-year level courses in Microbiology

There are two third-year courses in Microbiology. MIC 301 is normally held in the first semester and MIC 302 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course MIC 3, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum (40%) in each component. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. Practical reports, essays and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark.

Credit in Microbiology (MIC 2) is required before a student may register for MIC 301 or MIC 302. Adequate performance in the first semester is required before a student may register for the second semester.

The courses are comprised of the following modules, not necessarily in the given position, each module lasting about three weeks:

MIC 301

(Two papers and a practical examination).
Eucaryote cell biology (cell ultrastructure; protein sorting and trafficking; meiosis and mitosis; regulation of the cell cycle). Virology (families of plant and animal viruses; molecular biology of representative DNA and RNA viruses; stages and strategies of viral replication; vaccines). Eucaryote gene regulation (chromosome structure; RNA editing; transcriptional and translational regulation of gene expression; gene evolution).

MIC 302

(Two papers, a comprehension and a practical examination).
Process Biotechnology (medium formulation; microbial growth kinetics; batch and continuous culture; downstream processing; beer brewing). Gene manipulation (gene identification and isolation; cloning strategies; expression of recombinant genes). Industrial microbiology (fermentation; primary and secondary metabolism; antibiotic production; amino acid production). Molecular Biotechnology (implications and applications of recombinant DNA research). A practical project during the third term counts towards the final mark.

Microbiology Honours

The course consists of essays, tutorials and seminars on advanced aspects of Microbiology including virology, serology, molecular biology, microbial biochemistry and microbial genetics. Each candidate is required to submit two copies (one to be returned) of a report on practical work done on a specific project during the course, and these together with all seminars, essays and practical reports will be considered part of the final examination.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is offered at the postgraduate level.

Biotechnology Honours

Candidates must normally have either Microbiology or Biochemistry as major BSc subjects, but candidates with other majors will be considered. The course consists of lectures, seminars and essays covering a series of topics in Biotechnology such as fermentation technology, genetic manipulation, applied immunology, enzyme engineering, food technology, process technology, and selection and control of industrial microorganisms.

Practical work will consist of an 18 week course concentrating on small projects offering exposure to methods and techniques essential to the subject. This will be followed by an 18 week project of original investigation. All seminars, essays and practical reports will be considered part of the final examination.

MSc in Environmental Biotechnology

(May only be offered from 2001)

Environmental Biotechnology involves the use of biological systems, mainly microorganisms and their derivatives and processes, in both environmental protection and restoration. It is a knowledge-intensive, research-driven field which addresses a broad spectrum of Environmental Sector needs in the major areas of water, air, soil and waste disposal. The MSc course emphasises a Bioprocess approach within the context of Environmental Management.

The course is open to candidates holding the BSc(Hons) degree, or its equivalent. In exceptional cases only, applications may be considered from candidates who hold a BSc degree and have at least 5 years relevant experience.

The course covers theoretical and practical aspects of Environmental Biotechnology. Instruction is through the medium of lectures, seminars, directed reading, assignments and practical work led by staff of the Department, and supported by input from experts drawn from industry and other universities.

Requirements for award of the degree include completion of any six of the following modules offered and presentation of a research thesis, based on original work on a topic selected in consultation with the Department. The research project may be undertaken off campus under approved supervision.

Candidates may complete all requirements for the degree in one year of full-time study, or enrol on a part-time basis over a longer period not exceeding three years. Assessment of candidates is based on written and oral presentations covering all aspects of the course.

Leather Science

Leather Science is offered at the post-graduate level in association with LIRI Technologies.

Leather Science Honours

Candidates must have either Chemistry, Biochemistry or Microbiology as major BSc subjects. The course consists of lectures, seminars and essays covering topics of leather science; leather technology; protein chemistry; biotechnology; environmental science; statistics; business management and economics.

Practical work will consist of modules in selected aspects of leather manufacture and short projects will be undertaken in the industrial sector. A research project covering an original investigation will be submitted at the end of the year. All seminars, essays and practical reports will be considered a part of the final examination.

MSc and PhD degrees

Suitably qualified students are encouraged to proceed to the research degrees of MSc and PhD under the direction of the staff of the Department. Requirements for the MSc and PhD degrees are given in the General Rules.

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