Chemistry and Biochemistry

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: Sheldon Axler

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
TH 806
415-338-1288
Chair: Jane DeWitt
Associate Chair: Pete Palmer

Undergraduate Coordinator: Pete Palmer
Graduate Coordinators: Andrew Ichimura, Bruce Manning

Faculty

Professors—Aragón, Buttlaire, DeWitt, Erden, Gerber, Keeffe, Luckey, Macher, Orenberg, Palmer, Simonis, Trautman, Wu, Zeile

Associate Professors—Esquerra, Gassner, Ichimura, Manning

Assistant Professors—Anderson, Baird, Guliaev, Komada

Research Associate Professor—Yen

Adjunct Professors—Holmes, Roitman, Runquist

Programs

B.A. in Chemistry
B.S. in Chemistry
B.S. in Biochemistry
Minor in Chemistry
M.S. in Chemistry
M.S. in Chemistry: Concentration in Biochemistry


Program Scope and Career Outlook

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers an outstanding educational environment for undergraduate and graduate students. Our mission is to educate, train, and produce versatile chemists and biochemists that understand both the theoretical basis and practical applications of their discipline. Department faculty provide quality instruction across a wide range of sub-disciplines. Our degree programs are designed to prepare students for various professional positions (i.e., biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturing, and other laboratory-based industries), health professions (i.e., medical, pharmacy, and dental school), graduate study, and teaching positions.

Students receive significant hands-on experience with modern instrumentation in our relatively small-sized lab classes, and the opportunity to participate in research projects under the direct supervision of our faculty. The department houses a variety of state-of-the-art research instrumentation, laboratory facilities, and computational labs. These include a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility, a Mass Spectrometry (MS) facility, and the Computational Chemistry and Visualization (CCV) laboratory. The CCV laboratory houses state-of-the-art computer workstations with 3D graphics capabilities and students have the opportunity to use molecular modeling applications in a variety of lecture and laboratory courses.

The Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry program is particularly well-suited for those students whose career goals involve the integration of chemistry with other fields. This program can be combined with another degree or minor to develop the unique synthesis of experience needed for careers in forensic science, environmental science, regulatory affairs, chemical engineering, patent law, management, sales, marketing, technical writing, scientific journalism, library science, and art restoration. This program also provides excellent preparation for high school science teachers. Students planning to become K_12 chemistry or science teachers should note that additional preparation beyond the major is required to meet the breadth requirements and should consult with the credential advisor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to review the state-mandated requirements.

The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, which is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS), prepares students to pursue a career in chemically-oriented industry or to begin graduate study in chemistry and other molecular sciences. The degree provides a solid foundation in mathematics and physics, breadth in chemical sub-disciplines (analytical, biochemical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry), and excellent hands-on training in laboratory and instrumental techniques.

The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry is designed for students who wish to be particularly well qualified at the rapidly expanding interface between biology and chemistry. The degree includes extensive laboratory training, provides exceptional preparation for careers in biotechnology, and enjoys a favorable reputation among biotechnology companies in the Bay Area. This degree also provides a strong foundation for a graduate degree in biochemistry and is an excellent degree choice for students seeking entry into medical, pharmacy, and dental schools.

The Master of Science degree in Chemistry and the Master of Science degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry are programs of study with research at the core. As the student focuses in depth on an independent scientific investigation, solid research and communication skills are developed. The goal of both M.S. degree programs is to provide students with a thorough grounding in laboratory and research skills, and in-depth training in their areas of specialization. Areas of specialization include the traditional divisions of chemistry (analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, and biochemistry) and interdisciplinary areas such as environmental and materials chemistry, and chemical-biology. Our M.S. program provides excellent training for (1) careers in all aspects of the chemical industry (biotechnology, environment, process and analytical, basic research); (2) science educators seeking to increase their skill and knowledge base; and (3) students whose goal is advanced study at the Ph.D. level. The department also offers a cooperative M.S./Ph.D. program with the University of California, Davis for defined minority students and women from all ethnic groups (contact the department chair for further information). The M.S. degree program in Chemistry is approved by the ACS.

Significant features of our department include high-quality teaching, one-on-one advising for all of our majors, and opportunity for students to participate in research under the direct supervision of active faculty members who are recognized authorities in their field. Department faculty are actively involved in research, and many undergraduate students work on research projects during their junior and senior years under the direct supervision of their faculty research advisor. Students interested in becoming involved in research should consult with an advisor and review faculty research interests on our department website (www.chembiochem.sfsu.edu). Examples of research projects currently under investigation by our faculty members and their research students include:

Analytical Chemistry: Identification and quantitation of organic pollutants via Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) and Direct Sampling Mass Spectrometry (DSMS). Application of X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) to the determination of toxic elements in foods, supplements, and other products. Development of novel analytical techniques for separation and detection of redox-sensitive trace species.

Biochemistry: Enzyme reaction mechanisms. Synthesis of enzyme inhibitors, characterization of transition-state analogs, and measurement of enzyme-ligand interactions. Isolation and characterization of methyl transferase enzymes. Structure-function relationships in membrane transport proteins and mechanisms of membrane biogenesis, with emphasis on outer membrane proteins of Escherichia coli. Biosynthesis and regulation of the expression of complex carbohydrate cell surface antigens. Characterization of enzymes involved in the nitric oxide cellular signaling pathway.

Environmental Chemistry: Detection of trace levels of volatile organic compounds and heavy metals in urban air, water, and soil samples. Mechanisms of heavy metal tolerance/accumulation in plants. Effects of heavy metals on gene expression in plants. Determination of structures and speciation of metals and trace elements adsorbed on environmental surfaces. Modeling speciation, precipitation, and adsorption reactions of trace elements in environmental systems.

Inorganic/Bioinorganic Chemistry: Transition metal organometallic chemistry. Photochemistry and photophysics of organometallic compounds. Development and applications of multi-dimensional NMR methodologies for the structural analysis of platinum complexes and paramagnetic molecules. Bioinorganic chemistry of paramagnetic Fe(III) porphyrins, chromium(III) complexes, and cobalt(II,III) complexes to model structure-function relationships of heme proteins, the glucose tolerance factor, and vitamin B12. See also Materials chemistry.

Materials Chemistry: Synthesis and characterization of nanoscale multilayered inorganic-organic hybrid structures for use as sensors, detectors, and photovoltaics; Fundamental investigations of novel materials such as alkali metal doped silica zeolites, M@SZ (M=Na-Cs) prepared as powders and films; Organic chemistry in confined spaces, zeolites as microscopic reaction vessels; Surface chemistry and the investigation of self-assembled monolayers for enhanced thermal and mechanical stability. Characterization methods at SFSU include XRD, 500 MHz MAS-NMR, optical spectroscopy (UV-vis-NIR-IR), ellipsometry, SEM, ESR, and conductivity measurements.

Metalloprotein Biochemistry: Structural and functional studies of metalloproteins involved in redox reactions, oxygen activation, oxygen transport, and signal transduction.

Organic/Bioorganic Chemistry: Reaction mechanisms and synthetic applications of organic peroxides. Small rings. Heterocyclic chemistry. Chemistry of singlet oxygen. Mechanisms of fundamental organic reactions: computational approaches to modeling the transition states of nucleophilic substitutions and elimination reactions. Conformations of small peptides. Structure-reactivity relationships in acid- and base-catalyzed organic reactions, including heterolytic cleavage of C-H and C-C bonds. Design and synthesis of substrate analogs to elucidate the catalytic mechanisms of enzymes. Design and synthesis of novel enzyme inhibitors for use in sensitizing tumor cells to common chemotherapeutic strategies.

Physical/Biophysical Chemistry: Characterization of structural features and dynamic behavior of natural and synthetic macromolecules in solution using physical methods and theoretical models. High precision computational modeling and electro-optic characterization of hydrodynamic transport properties of small, medium, and large molecules. Biophysical applications of electron spin resonance spin labels. Diffusion and solubility of molecular oxygen in biomembranes and in other tissue. Biophysical spectroscopic methods, including nanosecond time-resolved polarized absorption spectroscopy, to characterize biological function and examine the molecular basis of disease. See also Materials chemistry.

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS IN CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

High school preparation for the chemistry and biochemistry degree programs should include two years of algebra, one year of geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, one year of chemistry, and one year of physics. Calculus is highly recommended.

Mandatory Advising All undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors are required to meet with a major advisor during the Fall semester. To meet this obligation, students can attend a group advising session or seek one-on-one advising. Students who do not meet with an advisor will have a hold placed on their registration for Spring semester and may be unable to enroll in the classes they need.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CHEMISTRY

All courses used in the major program must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC not allowed). Courses that are required for the major must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and a grade of C- or better, with only one exception.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Lower Division Requirements Units
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
CHEM 215/216 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/ Laboratory (3/2) 5
MATH 226 Calculus I 4
MATH 227 Calculus II 4
One of the following sets: 8
PHYS 111/112
  and
PHYS 121/122
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
General Physics II/Laboratory (3/1)
 
      or
PHYS 220/222
  and
PHYS 240/242
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)
Lower Division Units 26
Upper Division Requirements
CHEM 300 General Physical Chemistry I1 3
CHEM 301 General Physical Chemistry II1 3
CHEM 320 Quantitative Chemical Analysis 4
CHEM 333 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 2
CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 336 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory 2 3
CHEM 340
  or
CHEM 349
Biochemistry I
 
General Biochemistry
3
CHEM 422 Instrumental Analysis 4
Students must complete at least 2 units of upper division electives selected from the list below. Consult with an adviser regarding selection of elective courses and check course co- and prerequisites before enrolling. 2-3
CHEM 341 Biochemistry II  
CHEM 343 Biochemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 370 Computer Applications in Chemistry and Biochemistry
CHEM 380 Chemistry Behind Environmental Pollution
CHEM 425 Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 470 Research
CHEM 699 Special Study in Chemistry (1-3)
Upper Division Units 30-31
Total Units for Major 56-57

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN CHEMISTRY

All courses used in the major program must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC not allowed). Courses that are required for the major must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and a grade of C- or better, with only one exception.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Lower Division Requirements Units
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
CHEM 215/216 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/Laboratory (3/2) 5
MATH 226 Calculus I 4
MATH 227 Calculus II 4
MATH 228 Calculus III 4
PHYS 220/222 General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1) 4
PHYS 230/232 General Physics with Calculus II/Laboratory (3/1) 4
PHYS 240 General Physics with Calculus III 3
Lower Division Units 33
Upper Division Requirements
CHEM 320 Quantitative Chemical Analysis 4
CHEM 333 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 2
CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 336 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory 2 3
CHEM 340 Biochemistry I 3
CHEM 351 Physical Chemistry I 3
CHEM 353 Physical Chemistry II 3
CHEM 422 Instrumental Analysis 4
CHEM 425 Inorganic Chemistry 3
CHEM 426 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory 2
CHEM 451 Experimental Physical Chemistry 2
Students must complete at least 3 units of upper division electives selected from the lists below. These courses are organized via emphasis to indicate various student options for customizing their degree program. Consult an adviser regarding selection of upper division elective courses and check course co- and prerequisites before enrolling. Graduate-level courses in chemistry or appropriate courses in biology, physics, geosciences, and computer science may be substituted upon prior approval of adviser. 3
Research and Special Topics Courses
CHEM 470 Research (3)  
CHEM 640 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (1-3)
CHEM 641 Advanced Topics in Chemistry (1-3)
CHEM 699 Special Study in Chemistry (1-3)
CHEM 800 Special Topics in Chemistry (1-3)
Emphasis in Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 420 Environmental Analysis  
CHEM 821 Mass Spectrometry - Principles and Practice
Emphasis in Materials Chemistry
CHEM 800 Introduction to Nanoscience  
PHYS 450 Introduction to Solid State Physics
Emphasis in Biochemistry
CHEM 341 Biochemistry II  
CHEM 343 Biochemistry I Laboratory
Emphasis in Bioorganic Chemistry
CHEM 640 Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry  
CHEM 433 Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 832 Organic Synthesis
CHEM 842 Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Emphasis in Computational Chemistry
CHEM 370 Computer Applications in Chemistry and Biochemistry  
MATH 309 Computation in Mathematics
CSC 210 Introduction to Computer Programming
CHEM 850 Valency and Spectroscopy
BIOL 835 Computer Simulations in Biology (4)
Emphasis in Chemical Physics
CHEM 850 Valency and Spectroscopy  
CHEM 852 Statistical Mechanics: Molecular Relaxation
CHEM 820 NMR Applications and Techniques
MATH 374 Advanced Calculus
MATH 376 Ordinary Differential Equations I
PHYS 320 Modern Physics I
PHYS 370 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Upper Division Units 38
Total Units for major 71

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN BIOCHEMISTRY

All courses used in the major program must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC not allowed). Courses that are required for the major must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and a grade of C- or better.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Lower Division Requirements Units
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
CHEM 215/216 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/ Laboratory (3/2) 5
MATH 226 Calculus I 4
MATH 227 Calculus II 4
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I 5
One of the following sets: 8
PHYS 111/112
  and
PHYS 121/122
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
General Physics II/Laboratory (3/1)
 
      or
PHYS 220/222
  and
PHYS 240/242
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)
Lower Division Units 31
Upper Division Requirements
CHEM 300 General Physical Chemistry I 1 3
CHEM 301 General Physical Chemistry II 1 3
CHEM 320 Quantitative Chemical Analysis 4
CHEM 333 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 2
CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 340 Biochemistry I 3
CHEM 341 Biochemistry II 3
CHEM 343 Biochemistry I Laboratory 3
Students must complete at least 13 units of upper division chemistry and biology electives selected from the lists below. At least 4 units must have a CHEM prefix and at least 4 units (CHEM or BIO) must be laboratory units [that part of a course’s units that count as laboratory units appear in brackets]. Note that all the biology electives have a BIO 240 prerequisite with the exception of BIO 350, 355, and 612 (meaning students can take these three courses without completing the BIO 240 prerequisite, contact an adviser for more details). Students should consult an adviser regarding selection of elective courses and check course co- and pre-requisites before enrolling. Graduate level courses in chemistry or appropriate courses in biology, physics, geosciences, and computer science may be substituted upon prior approval of advisor. 3
Upper Division Electives in Chemistry
CHEM 336 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory [2]  
CHEM 338 Organic Chemistry II: Special Projects Laboratory [2]
CHEM 370 Computer Applications in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1]
CHEM 420 Environmental Analysis [1]
CHEM 422 Instrumental Analysis (4) [2]
CHEM 425 Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 426 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (2) [1]
CHEM 433 Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 443 Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory (4) [2]
CHEM 451 Experimental Physical Chemistry (2)[1]
CHEM 470 Research [2]
CHEM 640 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (1-3)
CHEM 641 Advanced Topics in Chemistry (1-3)
Upper Division Electives in Biology
BIOL 350 Cell Biology  
BIOL 351 Experiments in Cell and Molecular Biology (4) [2]
BIOL 355 Genetics
BIOL 357 Molecular Genetics
BIOL 358 Experiments in Molecular Biology (4) [2]
BIOL 361 Human Genetics
BIOL 382 Developmental Biology
BIOL 401 General Microbiology
BIOL 402 General Microbiology Laboratory (2) [2]
BIOL 435 Immunology
BIOL 436 Immunology Laboratory (2) [2]
BIOL 524 Plant Molecular Biology
BIOL 525 Plant Physiology
BIOL 526 Plant Physiology Laboratory (2) [2]
BIOL 612 Human Physiology
BIOL 613 Human Physiology Laboratory (2) [2]
BIOL 640 Cellular Neurosciences
Upper Division Units 40
Total Units for Major 71

MINOR PROGRAM IN CHEMISTRY

24 units of chemistry, including CHEM 115 and CHEM 215/216, are required to qualify for a minor in chemistry with some specific caveats as detailed below. The typical profile for students completing a minor in chemistry at San Francisco State University includes two semesters of general chemistry and lab (10 units), two semesters of organic chemistry and lab (11 units), and one additional chemistry course (3 units). Cell and molecular biology and clinical science majors usually meet all these requirements. 12 of the 24 units, including 4 upper-division, must be taken at San Francisco State University. 12 of the 24 units must be upper division. 8 of the 24 units must correspond to upper-division courses at San Francisco State University.

All courses must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC is not acceptable). Only one course from each of the following pairs can be counted towards the minor: CHEM 130 or CHEM 333, CHEM 349 or CHEM 340. The following courses cannot be counted toward the minor: CHEM 100, 101, 102, 105, 361, and 599.

GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

Admission to Program

Students must meet these criteria:

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: Newly admitted students are required to take the Graduate Essay Test (GET) (administered by the Testing Office) preferably before the first enrollment takes place, but no later than the end of the first semester of enrollment, to determine if writing deficiencies exist. If remedial work is necessary, the student will complete prescribed course(s) in English. Level Two: Students will demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in written and spoken English by successfully completing CHEM 880 and a thesis, which includes an oral defense of the work, during the course of study.

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to advance to candidacy, students must:

NOTE: After initiating a research project, a graduate student must enroll each semester in CHEM 897 while actively engaged in research for the M.S. degree. A maximum of 9 units of CHEM 897 may be included on the Graduate Approved Program.

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHEMISTRY

See general information for Graduate Programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry above.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
CHEM 834 Organic Spectroscopic Methods 3
One of the following courses selected on advisement of adviser: 3
CHEM 850 Valency and Spectroscopy  
CHEM 851 Biochemical Spectroscopy
CHEM 880 Seminar 3
Other Requirements
CHEM 897 Research 6-9
CHEM 898 Master's Thesis 3
Related Study
Upper division/graduate courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or biology on advisement of graduate major advisor. 9-12
Minimum Total Units 30
and Oral Defense of Thesis

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHEMISTRY: CONCENTRATION IN BIOCHEMISTRY

See general information for Graduate Programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry above.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
CHEM 834 Organic Spectroscopic Methods 3
One of the following courses selected on advisement of advisor: 3
CHEM 850 Valency and Spectroscopy  
CHEM 851 Biochemical Spectroscopy
CHEM 880 Seminar 3
Other Requirements
Courses in biochemistry selected from the following: 6
CHEM 841 Enzymology  
CHEM 843 Membrane Biochemistry
CHEM 844 Bioinorganic Chemistry
CHEM 845 Glycoconjugate Biochemistry
CHEM 846 Biology and Chemistry of Signaling Pathways
Upper division or graduate courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or biology on advisement of graduate major advisor. (May include courses listed above which have not been taken to satisfy either the core requirement or the 6-unit biochemistry requirement). 3-6
CHEM 897 Research 6-9
CHEM 898 Master's Thesis 3
Minimum total 30
and Oral Defense of Thesis

Footnotes

  1. CHEM 351 and 353 may be substituted for CHEM 300 and 301.
  2. CHEM 338 may be substituted for CHEM 336.


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