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Choose one of the diseases, disorders, or conditions that have been mentioned in the textbook for this course.
Once you choose a disease, disorder, or condition, find a relatively
recent original research study (published within the past 10 years) that
addresses some aspect of the medical condition or disease you’ve
selected. The research study must utilize one or more of the biochemical
research techniques overviewed in this course.
The research study must be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal with an impact factor rating of at least 2. Go to Sci Journal
to determine the impact factor rating of the journal. You can either
search a journal title on the main page, or search the list of titles:
Click Journal in the bar at the top of the page.
In the drop-down, choose Biochemistry or Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology.
Click a journal title to see an analysis of its impact factor.
The research study must discuss one of the biochemical techniques mentioned in this course, most of which are covered in sections 2.4 and 7.1.
Possible focus topics include the following:
Understanding the mechanism of a disease, disorder, or condition,
such as through fluorescence labeling, looking at products on an
SDS-PAGE, or various analyses: Researchers use many techniques to
explain which proteins may be involved in the manifestation of a disease
or disorder and can be very creative with the techniques used in this
A possible pharmaceutical to combat the disease or condition or to
function as a treatment: Many techniques are used in the process of
discovering, synthesizing, and testing various possible medications.
These compounds are usually some sort of agonist, antagonist, or
The focus of this project must be the in-depth discussion and analysis of an original published research study.
The components of your paper must include the following:
One of the diseases, disorders, or conditions that have been mentioned in the textbook
A detailed explanation of the biochemical technique(s) used in the study
Analysis of an original published research study investigating some component of the disease, disorder, or condition
The research study is to be the focus of the project, not the
disease, disorder, or condition you’ve selected from the textbook.
You’re required to explain and analyze the research study, including,
but not limited to, the hypothesis, the technique, the results, and the
authors’ conclusion. There should be only a few paragraphs of background
information so the reader understands the disease, disorder, or
condition and the biochemical technique(s) utilized in the research
study. The discussion, examination, and analysis of the research study must be the focus of this project.
The first half of your paper is where you’ll present background
information. You should give the reader a basic understanding of both
the condition you selected and the biochemical technique that’s used in
the study you selected. You’re encouraged to research various reference
sources to present a comprehensive and detailed discussion of the
disease, disorder, or condition—including the biochemical basis for it;
the metabolic or signaling pathways involved; and the treatments and
cures—as well as the biochemical technique used in the study. For the
first half of the paper, please research multiple sources to gather the
information you need to address the required content (the questions that
must be answered in sentence and paragraph form).
The second half of your paper is where you’ll present the study,
explain it, analyze it, and then evaluate it. For the second half of
your paper, use only the research study you selected to address all of the required content.
Once you have an appropriate research study that fits all the
criteria, begin to write your paper. Every question/point listed below
in the project requirements must be addressed. The grading rubric can be
found at the very end of the list of requirements.
Because this must be written as a professional paper, you must
include a cover page, in-text citations, and a references page, and the
entire paper must be formatted according to APA style guidelines.
All questions/points must be addressed and included.
Describe the disease, disorder, or condition.
Clearly introduce the disease, disorder, or condition you chose.
Describe the symptoms and how this condition manifests.
If it’s a genetic disorder, is it heritable? If not, where does it come from?
If it’s a disease, how do people contract it?
If it’s a condition, what causes it? Is it chronic or acute?
Describe any treatments. Don’t just list medications—explain what
these medications do. For dietary changes or therapies, explain why they
If it’s a disease, what’s the cure? If there’s no cure, what are the common treatments?
If it’s a condition or disorder, what are the common treatment options?
Describe what issues researchers are still facing.
If there’s no cure, why not?
If there are issues with the treatment options (such as side effects), what are they?
If the metabolic or signaling pathways affected aren’t fully
understood, what are researchers currently focusing on in hopes of
discovering something important?
If there’s hope that a new technique will be very good for treatment
(for example, CRISPR-Cas9), are there any issues researchers are still
attempting to overcome before it can be fully successful?
Is there a particular enzyme, protein, RNA, or segment of DNA that
researchers don’t understand and need more information about? If so,
what’s difficult about obtaining important information (such as
structural information) about the molecule?
Describe the biochemical basis for the disease, disorder, or condition.
Describe the normal behavior of the biochemical pathway or structure
that’s affected by your chosen disease, disorder, or condition (that
is, in individuals without it).
If fatty acid metabolism is affected, describe fatty acid metabolism in detail.
If glucose metabolism is affected, describe the section of sugar metabolism affected in detail.
If there’s a particular protein affected by the condition, make sure to explain that protein’s normal function.
Describe how the disease, disorder, or condition affects this biochemical pathway or physiological structure.
How does it result in physical symptoms?
Which biochemical macromolecules are affected?
If it’s a gene mutation, which gene? How is it mutated? What’s the
result of this mutation—loss of protein function? Lowered rate? Or a
different type of reaction entirely?
Is there a homeostatic imbalance? What is it? Which reactions occur
at a different rate from before? Which chemical equilibria are affected?
If it’s a structure, what about it is different? What biochemical changes result in the structural differences?
Describe the biochemical technique(s) used in the research study you’ve selected.
Clearly identify the biochemical technique or techniques (you’re not yet to be discussing the research study; you’re first
providing the reader with background information about the biochemical
technique or techniques that were utilized in the research study you
selected to examine).
Describe the general theory behind how this biochemical technique
works. You’re not explaining how the technique was used in the research
study you selected for this project; rather, you’re explaining to the
reader how this technique is used for any research or any study.
Why would this technique be used?
What is the process?
Describe any principles necessary for understanding how the
technique works. (For instance, with SDS-PAGE, the gaps between
polyacrylamides are what impede proteins based on their different
molecular weights and sizes.)
Describe the steps involved in using the biochemical technique.
Explain how researchers would physically go about setting up an
What materials are needed to perform this biochemical technique?
How must samples be prepared?
What sort of controls are used? If none are used, why not?
Explain the type of data obtained from the biochemical technique and
how it’s interpreted. (For example, in SDS-PAGE, the final product is a
gel with bands on it. The bands must then be compared to a molecular
ladder of known molecular weight that was run side-by-side. The weight
of the ladder bands can be graphed versus the distance moved, and the
distance of the sample can be compared to the graph to obtain a
Describe the types of scenarios in which scientists would choose to
use this biochemical technique. (For example, SDS-PAGE is used to obtain
molecular weight during processes such as protein purification to check
for purity, checking for molecular cleavage, or for other molecular
alterations that involve changes to molecular weight.)
Describe the limitations or drawbacks of the biochemical technique
and how they may be compensated for. (For example, with SDS-PAGE, some
proteins with strong charges can outweigh the effect of SDS and can
cause a protein to “run heavy,” making the technique no longer useful
for finding out the molecular weight of such a protein. However, knowing
the amino acid sequence of a protein can help know the molecular weight
of the protein without using SDS-PAGE.)
The Research Study
Introduce the study and then explain the study (multiple paragraphs).
First, clearly identify the research study—name of the study, journal in which it was published, publication date, and authors.
Summarize the overall hypothesis of the research study. What aspect
of the disease, disorder, or condition were the scientists
investigating? What was the purpose of the research study? Make sure not
to quote directly. Instead, use your own words to describe what the
authors are proving or disproving with their original research study.
How does their research relate to your chosen condition?
Is it a direct connection, or does the research focus on an affected
protein in a metabolic or signaling pathway affected by the condition?
Describe how the authors used the biochemical technique you explained in detail in the previous section in their research study.
Summarize the materials and methods used for the technique in this particular study (do not quote directly—explain in your own words).
Describe any substrates and summarize how the samples were prepared (explain in your own words).
Explain any controls that were run or baselines formed.
Describe the data obtained using the technique.
Describe the units of the data collected and give an example of one of the data points, if possible.
If there’s a figure, describe it in detail and how the data was used to obtain it.
Describe the axes, what the points on the graph or figure may represent, and then how this data would be interpreted.
Explain why the figure helps explain the data obtained from the
technique better than a table or other method. If a table is used
instead, explain why the table is sufficient for explaining what the
Summarize the conclusions the authors of the paper reached about their data using the technique. Don’t quote directly, but summarize what they say the technique showed them or what it was used to conclude.
Offer your opinion: Do you think the authors did a fair job of
interpreting the results of their data using this technique? Make sure
not to use “I” statements; instead, focus on facts from the paper and
your knowledge of the technique and its limitations. If you agree with
the assessment, defend the position by mentioning the shortcomings of
the technique and how the authors addressed them.
You must explain your opinion based on specific evidence and conclusions the authors of the study reached. You must provide an in-depth and detailed explanation of your opinion.
Describe the conclusions the research study reached (multiple paragraphs).
Summarize the conclusions that the authors reached in the research
study. Again, be sure not to quote directly, but rather to summarize in
your own words.
Summarize what the authors say about their conclusions in relation
to the disease, disorder, or condition. How does it impact the study of
the condition by medical professionals? Does it answer any important
questions that had existed about the condition? If they don’t mention
the condition directly, summarize how it affects the research on the
condition yourself based on your knowledge of the current understanding
of the condition.
Summarize what the authors say about future directions or possible applications for their research.
What do they say their research will impact?
Could it lead to possible cures or treatments?
Does it expand the knowledge of the signaling or metabolic pathways in this condition?
Offer your opinion: Do you feel the conclusions of the authors were
fair and relate properly to their obtained data? Again, defend your
position based on the research you conducted of the disease, disorder,
or condition, as well as the research you conducted of the biochemical
You must provide an in-depth and detailed explanation of your opinion based on the following:
Specific evidence from the study results and the conclusions the study authors reached
Specific information regarding the disease, disorder, or condition you gathered from your research
Make sure to address each of the questions in complete sentences and
organize the information in paragraph form. The paper should be
organized so that it flows seamlessly from one paragraph to the next.
The entire paper must be formatted according to APA guidelines.
Include a cover page, APA-formatted in-text citations, and an APA-formatted references page.
The paper should be no longer than five pages. (However, the five-page maximum does not include the cover page and references page—thus, the maximum, including these, would be a total of seven pages.)
Format the paper in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
Use correct grammar and spelling, proper sentence structure, and correct punctuation.
Avoid using the first-person voice (as in I think or I believe)
and instead stick to general statements (for example, “Although the
authors of the paper conclude that their hypothesis is correct, the data
shows that …”).
Visit the Penn Foster Virtual Library for help with APA formatting.
Visit the Penn Foster Virtual Library A–Z Databases page to find credible sources of information, including the journal article upon which you base the paper.
Gale Power Search is a search tool that searches all Gale databases at once. This includes Academic OneFile Select, Nursing and Allied Health Collection, and Opposing Viewpoints.
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