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California State University Fullerton use ICM-PRO for teaching.


Katherine Kantardjieff, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Chandra Srinivasan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

California State University Fullerton

The California State University (CSU) is the largest, most diverse, and one of the most affordable university systems in the country. For the majority of students seeking baccalaureate education in California, as well as those seeking professional training, the CSU is the gateway institution, significantly impacting education and the economy of our state. The CSU campuses are predominantly undergraduate institutions, where a majority of undergraduates in the sciences conduct laboratory-based research as part of their baccalaureate degree requirements. Our campus, CSU Fullerton, has an enrollment of more than 32,500 students, making it the third largest in the 23-campus CSU system.

A Comprehensive Biochemistry Laboratory At CSU Fullerton, the majority of the upper division biochemistry laboratory (CHEM 422) is devoted to the study of the enzyme, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), from chicken breast muscle. We have developed this into a contemporary experiment in macromolecular structure/function analysis that provides students experience in all aspects, from protein expression, purification, and crystallization, to structure validation and analysis, homology modeling, ligand docking and rational mutagenesis.

As part of this laboratory course, students spend several sessions conducting related bioinformatics exercises that include visualization of the atomic resolution structural details of LDH homologs in the PDB, examining the details of the active site chemistry and looking at substrate and cofactor binding interactions. ICM-Pro has been a powerful, user-friendly, integrated package for training our students in biochemistry and computational biology, which we provide in workstations in an electronic classroom, as well as on several laptops, that circulate within the biochemistry laboratory. Because all of our undergraduates conduct laboratory-based research as part of their degree requirements in chemistry or biochemistry, ICM-Pro has also become a powerful research tool for them. Based on students. laboratory reports, research projects and general feedback, ICM-Pro has significantly enhanced our students. understanding of protein biochemistry and advanced their independent research. Students and faculty alike appreciate that with one user-friendly yet powerful program they can perform sequence alignments, visualize structures and/or predict structure and molecular interactions. We will be introducing ICM-Pro into biochemistry lecture classes this fall, discussing proteins .interactively. to enhance student learning through visualization.

Structural Bioinformatics As part of the CSU mission to strengthen the California workforce, CSUF Extended Education offers many courses for continuing development of working professionals, including several certificate programs. Our Certificate in Bioinformatics, one of two granted system-wide, is distinguished by its capstone advanced course in sequence, structure and function analysis, which makes extensive use of structural information in the PDB. Students learn about structure-guided drug-design and explore protein-protein interactions, and ICM-Pro plays a central role in delivering this hands-on training to students seeking professional development. ICM-Pro is also featured in a new computational biology curriculum for our majors, which we will introduce in 2005/6.

Fullerton, California July 30, 2004

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