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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Biochemistry: Biomolecules, Methods, and Mechanisms

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


Do you want to prepare for medical school, study a STEM field, become a research scientist, or transition to a career in the booming biotechnology industry? Or maybe you just want to understand the chemical reactions that govern life itself. Join Professor Yaffe, an MIT professor and practicing surgeon, as he guides you through the science that inspires countless doctors, researchers, and students alike.

We developed 7.05x Biochemistry with an emphasis on:

  • Developing your scientific thinking skills including articulating hypotheses, performing thought experiments, interpreting data, and designing experiments.
  • Using data based on real scientific experiments and highlighting the scientific process.
  • Asserting that biology is an active field that changes daily through examples of MIT (and other current) research, not static information in a textbook.
  • Visualizing real molecular structures with PyMOL to better understand function and mechanism.
  • Appreciating the quantitative aspects of biochemistry and practicing this quantitation with MATLAB.
  • Translating topics in biochemistry to diseases and medicine.
  • Conveying the authentic MIT firehose experience.
  • Implementing the science of learning in the course design.

We offer a thorough and robust means of certifying edX learners in their mastery of the MITx biochemistry content, through the MITx 7.05x Biochemistry Competency Exam. This challenging option is available only to those who register for the verified-certificate track, and successful completion of this exam is the majority of the assessment grade that counts toward a certificate. The Competency Exam will be open from December 8, 2020 to December 15, 2020.


The course includes the following learning sequences:

  • Introduction to Biochemistry; pH and Buffers
  • Amino Acids and Proteins
  • Protein Purification
  • Protein Structure
  • Protein Folding
  • Hemoglobin and Allostery
  • Hemoglobin and the Bohr Effect
  • Enzyme Chemistry
  • Enzyme as Catalysts
  • Enzyme Kinetics
  • Membranes, Channels, Transporters, and Pumps
  • Blood Clotting
  • Signal Transduction

Taught by

Michael Yaffe, Mary Ellen Wiltrout, Darcy Gordon and Monika Avello

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4.4 rating, based on 30 reviews

Start your review of Biochemistry: Biomolecules, Methods, and Mechanisms

  • Anna Tonkonogui
    This is a very informative course, and I'm very glad to be taking it. However, it took me a while to get my bearings. When I signed up for this course, the only listed prereq was 7.00x, which I had just completed. However, it became immediately apparent...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is a fitting addition to the edX/MIT biology offerings (including 7.00x and the 3 7.28x courses). It is extremely comprehensive with respect to both the lectures and the testing, but one thing is always certain in these courses: if you dedicate...
  • The biggest hurdle for me, being rather familiar with the subject, have been the MATLAB modules, since I have little familiarity with coding and even though they have directions that have been enough for me, I feel they might be a bit non-intuitive for someone not too keen for computers, and it's a bit frustrating to feel that sometimes I'm just copying the reference solutions.

    Aside from that, an amazing course so far, quite enjoy the teaching style of Prof. Yaffe, all the interesting tidbits he throws here and there, and the animations are probably among the best I've seen for the subject.
  • Karen Carlson completed this course, spending 14 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    MIT’s biology department emphasis is always on the lab approach. That is, they go through a pathway or a process in detail, give you a couple of general questions to see if you’ve got the idea, then throw you into a story set in a lab and make you figure...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I am 2/3 through this course and am thoroughly enjoying it. The lecture content is presented by Professor Yaffe in a clear and easy to follow format. The interspersed 'test yourself questions' break up the lectures nicely and help make sure I have understood...
  • Anonymous
    As someone with substantial chemistry and very little biology backgrounds, I can say that the course is tough yet rewarding. As others have mentioned, the course does assume a certain amount of background knowledge in organic chemistry and basic biology....
  • Profile image for BL C
    BL C

    BL C is taking this course right now.

    The course overall has good coverage of the subject and engaging supplementary materials through PyMOL, MATLAB, and database usage, but the interface, assessments, discussion environment seem half-baked. Content-wise the lectures are very informative...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I started this course after taking already MITx-7.00x and MITx-7.28 1-3x and to see whether/how this course fills gaps between the other two excellent course . I appreciate the mixture of chalkboard lectures, animations, and test yourself questions. In particular, I like the introduction to PyMOL and MATLAB.
    The problem sets with the characters and storyline comes close to real life situations in the lab and are challenging but doable at the same time.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    First, the bad news: gotta agree with the MATLAB comments. Longest so-called "help" video is less than 4 minutes and even less useful. It's become a guessing game and I'm not going to keep playing it. Feedback/question answers are not timely, and typically...
  • Profile image for Urvi Singh
    Urvi Singh
    This course is amazing!!! I mean for those who really want to learn and enhance their in-depth knowledge in the subject of biochemistry, this course offers all those insights. It not only highlights the core concepts with immense clarity but very intricately...
  • Anonymous
    This is an immersive course that requires a lot of time. To effectively follow and then make use of the material covered in the lectures it is necessary to take notes, just as though you were in the actual lecture hall. These notes are supported by some excellent handouts and by useful pyMol exercises.

    The exercises are thorough and a valuable learning experience in their own right. They take the learner through a sequence of steps that allow you to mentally put the pieces together and come to a good understanding of the material.
  • Anonymous
    This is a fantastic course. Professor Yaffe is an engaging lecturer who is able to find just the right way to explain material so that students understand it. The "Test Yourself" questions after each lecture section are very helpful for increasing comprehension and cementing the knowledge in your mind. I'm also enjoying the thoughtfully written problem sets, which follow a narrative of doing different kinds of lab experiments. There is a lot of material, but it's really rewarding to see myself learning so much.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is one of the most challenging courses I've taken - but it has bar-none the best problem sets of any online course I've ever attempted. The problem sets build knowledge while you work through them, in a logical way. It's been a long time since high-school...
  • Profile image for Hannah Nguyen
    Hannah Nguyen
    I'm in the middle of the course. Prof Yaffe approaches teaching biochemistry subject from the multidisciplinary fields--chemistry, organic chem, physical chem, molecular biology...In addition, he often sprinkles into the lectures historical backgrounds and experimental data and laboratory practices. If I had had Prof Yaffe in undergrad, I would probably get the grade for grad school.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I am 2/3 through this course, and had only planned on browsing through some of the content, but it is presented in such an interesting way that it really got me hooked on to biochemistry. The presentation of the material is great, the length of videos and the intermediary test yourself questions are all spaced appropriately, so that the learner remains engaged in the course through out. It is also motivating to see yourself progress. Overall, I feel that I have already gained a better foundational knowledge of biochemistry and am motivated to learn more about various subjects in the field that interest me. Am extremely grateful to live in a time when such content is freely available.
  • Anonymous
    Great course if you would like to really learn about biochemistry in depth. I am currently 2/3 of the way through the course. My background is in mathematics but I have decided to learn more about biology. This is an excellent course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    It is super hard if you are an above-average student, but it challenges you to get into a very different league of understanding the concepts of Biochemistry. I personally believe that it brought me out of my comfort zone and has already helped me immensely in my PhD research as I work with proteins. I'd highly recommend this course to anyone who is currently pursuing research in any area related to biochemistry plus has a keen interest to level up their career. I hope I could receive the Verified Certificate, as it is proof that you are a lifelong learner and it adds some weightage on your CV if you have a degree already and/or are in a scientific field.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is an in depth course requiring a thorough understanding of basic chemistry and biology. It starts with explaining the importance of buffers which becomes clear as the course progresses. The course builds on from the essential building blocks of amino acids to the complex structure of proteins.
    The comprehensive cover of haemoglobin and myoglobin in relation to transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from muscles is fascinating.
    The demonstration of PYMOL is great.
    Overall very happy to be taking this course but a word of warning to anyone not prepared to put in the hours of study. It is not a trivial undertaking.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is a fantastic course. Thanks to everybody for making it available. You may need to review the lectures and make your own research and experiments in order to achieve a good understanding. I hope I can complete this course, otherwise I will take it again on the next run. Not only the lectures, but also the exercises are very interesting. The exercises are not only validating your knowledge. Thanks to the exercises you learn and understand things not covered by the lectures.
  • Anonymous
    Biochemistry is a part of chemistry, in which contains chemical effect of biomolecules.

    In this branch we have to study of biomolecules like organic substances ( carbohydrates, proteins, lipids) and Enzyme activity and their physical properties and working skills.

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