Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Fumarate

When biochem started 10 or so weeks ago, I wondered how I would do, if I could like this class I've wanted to take since about... eh... 1980... yes, I know, before most of you were born.  HA!

We started right in on amino acids, drawing, configuring, understanding; disease states, how an apparent minor change from valine to argninine could cause catastrophic problems, and synthesized sugars. Or in my class those were better known as "Molecule of the Day" and given again as case studies for disease states. With that exam, my prep included making up words using the letters assigned for each amino acid: LARGE, WADGER, and others. It helped to draw the molecule, along with the peptide bonds formed, list the pH at which each change occurs, or if starting mat was at, say 10.3, how that would affect each amino acid (does the N lose the H's???).

Fast forwarding into purines, pyrimidines, all the sugars you can think of and why a hydroxyl in the beta form on carbon 1 of glucose goes up, instead of down, it started to all make sense. As most classes do, if you just stick with them, plow through the drawing, the homework (assigned and collected, or not), if you just look for the similarities and redundancies, biochem is actually, really pretty easy.

That or my prof is awesome! Or both!

What I have not posted, and here for your viewing pleasure is my first - off the top of my head - Kreb's Cycle. I drew it in full color (courtesy of Olivia's guidance) to learn which enzymes do what to whom and what the products are, or what those products turn into. In the Kreb's cycle almost everything turns into a substrate for the next enzyme which is why the wheels on the Kreb's Cycle go "round and round" ...

What is fun now, like the amino acid conjugation that I practiced, is using the compound names from the Kreb's cycle to make up sentences such as: my fumarate was dehydrogenased from succinate (sounds really, really awful, doesn't it??). But it makes sense. Sounds like I'm fuming because I lost water which sucks... but backwards. Mnemonics, FTW!

With only a few weeks left in the course (boo!), I'm amazed at how much I've learned. Reading the BRS Biochem review book before bed each night (it's an insomnia cure!), I've come to realize that my professor was right:

He does not teach for memorization and regurgitation, he teaches so that those of us bound for medical school, or pharm, or nursing, or nutrition, or PA/NP, or ... will ace our entrance exams (MCAT - whoo hoo!), our boards (USMLE - eeeeek!), and fulfill our dreams.

Who knew, it all started here:

After reviewing the first draft, I added in more cofactors, all the compounds' names, any energy changes that occur (ATP -> ADP), and submitted it for my grade.

I think I got an A. Heading into the third and final midterm, I'm feeling pretty stoked, pretty on track!

After all the roller-coaster of emotions and mental gymnastics of ochem, where I never felt settled, never felt solid, this feels G-R-E-A-T!

Make it a great night!


Slamdunk said...

I see a smart person who is showing something with a lot going on. This is where I would skillfully change the subject to avoid being discovered as with limited intelligence.

Nice work then.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Bah, it's not hard - it's like kindergarten drawing, only with a theme!

Nice piece on Zelda :)

Cartoon Characters said...

Interestingly enough, 1980 is when I did my biochem course for nursing! ;) I remember nothing.

But then, I will be retiring in a few years and it's surprising that I remember anything lately.... :(

Speculative Speculum said...

Your handwriting looks like mine! :)

A Doc 2 Be said...

CC: 1980... haha, big hair, Farrah "feathered" hair, Aerosmith, and early Madonna... wow! Time flies!

SS: must mean we're going to be great docs, right?