CHEM 731/7310 - Proteins

Semester: Winter 2024

Professor: E. Meiering | Discipline: Biochemistry | Campus: Waterloo


Discussion of specialized topics related to the research interests of the members of the Centre. For example, recent offerings have included: Metalloproteins and Metalloenzymes; Heme Proteins; Chemistry of Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms; Peptides – Synthesis, Structure and Function; Food Enzymology; Advanced Microbial Physicology; NMR in Biological Systems.

Proteins, with their amazing complexity and diversity, have become very well characterized and increasingly designable, with applications in many areas such as medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. This course will familiarize students with modern advanced knowledge of proteins, with a focus on their structure, function, and design. It will cover an introduction to methods for structure determination and prediction (e.g. NMR, x-ray crystallography, cryo electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and computational methods). Additional topics will include: protein folding and dynamics; protein misfolding and aggregation in nature and disease; recombinant protein production, engineering, and design, to advance fundamental knowledge as well as medical and biotechnological applications. Students will also obtain experience in reading, evaluation, and presentation (oral and written) of papers from current scientific literature as well as peer feedback.


By the end of this course students should be able to:

Develop current, advanced knowledge of proteins, including a high resolution molecular and mechanistic perspective
Develop advanced skills in searching and understanding scientific literature
Develop in depth knowledge of specific topics relating to protein folding, function, and design
Develop skills for critical assessment of scientific information about proteins
Develop oral and written skills to communicate advanced scientific knowledge of proteins
Develop skills in respectful, constructive peer feedback and self-reflection


All course materials and related information will be provided via the course website on LEARN.


Component Value
Participation 20%
Oral presentation of Paper 10%
Critical Review outline and literature review 10%
Oral presentation of Critical Review 35%
Written Critical Review 20%
Writen Critical Review Feedback 5%

Participation grade worth 20% is comprised of:

10% – in class participation (1% deduction for each class missed without an acceptable reason) 10% – peer feedback and self-reflection for oral presentations (Papers and Oral Critical Reviews)


3 Papers (ranked, with rationale)

You will conduct a literature search to identify a paper that you would like to present to the class (see below). You will identify and rank, in order of your preference, 3 primary research papers and provide short descriptions of your rationale for selecting these papers. You will submit the list and rationale as well as pdfs of the papers in a dropbox on LEARN. I will give comments/approve papers and post the papers on LEARN for general access prior to the oral presentations.

Topic for Critical Review

You will prepare a Critical Review on a topic of your choice about some aspect of Proteins related to this course. The topic may be related to the topic of your Paper presentation, or distinct. You will provide a brief explanation of the topic and why you would like to review it as well as how the topic relates to your current/past research and courses. The general topic must be submitted online by this date (or earlier). Topics will be determined by mutual agreement between each student and the course instructor.

Critical Review Outline and Literature Review 

The outline will include aspects of what you will include in your Review, and related references.

Oral Critical Reviews  

Oral Critical Review presentations (Powerpoint-based) to the class. The time slot for each presentation will be ~30 minutes, including ~6 minutes question period. Your questions and feedback for presentations will contribute to your course participation grade. For each presentation, an additional time will be scheduled for the course instructor to ask questions.

Written Critical Review 

Your final Written Critical Review will be based on your oral presentation content, modified according to your learning and feedback for the oral presentation.

Feedback for Written Critical Review 

You will give feedback for one classmate’s Written Critical Review.


  • Tue: 7:00 pm - 9:20 pm in C2 361

Office Hours

By arrangement, in person or in Teams. Please message me in MS Teams chat to arrange timing