C2000 Resources

Problem-Based Learning Modules

Created by Eric C. Niederhoffer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Copyright 2000- , E.C. Niederhoffer. All Rights Reserved.
All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Problem-Based Learning Resources page is designed to support the three objective areas defined by the curriculum.

Check back often for resource page updates! [External links to resources are added (by me) and deleted (by them).]

  • Self-direct learning and articulation
  • Reasoning
  • Interpersonal and group skills

For more information concerning these objectives see PBL: A Student Guide.

As your tutor group works through an Electronic Problem-Based Learning Module (ePBLM), learning issues (LI) will be developed. Some groups (as well as some of the cases) are better at this than others. Some groups (and some of the cases) lose focus from time-to-time and important issues are lost in the shuffle.

In order to foster your ability to develop LI and build a knowledge base in biochemistry, including cell and molecular biology (USMLE Step 1 content outlines), I have created unit LI grids, featured topics, major points, and correlated readings. One can build a foundation by learning about specific topics or by asking questions pertinent to each case. You should note that many of the potential LI appear in multiple cases and across units. You have multiple opportunities to encounter these topics, so don't think that you must completely cover them with any particular case. Note that the link to a PBLM resource page will be activated as tutor groups process that particular case. If you try to open a page too early, it will automatically transfer back to the main unit page.

Y1 Units

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory/Renal (CRR)
  • Neural/Muscular/Behavioral (NMB)
  • Endocrine/Reproduction/Gastrointestinal (ERG)

General Resources

General Internet Resources

 Biocarta cellular and metabolic pathways
 Corrrelated readings for clinical laboratory tests
 emedicine for diagnoses and differentials
 Food and nutrition information center (USDA)
 Lab Tests Online
 Metabolic Pathways (
 The Medical Biochemistry Page (for details of pathways)
 Stanford Pathways of Human Metabolism
 Urinalysis (University of Utah)
 USDA National Nutrient Database
 USMLE content outline (for Step licensure examinations; pdf, 1.1 MB)
 USMLE laboratory values (for Step licensure examinations; pdf, 234 KB)
 Videos of surgical procedures


I recommend the following textbooks for biochemistry and cell and molecular biology:

If you have a background in biochemistry use:

  • Salway, J. Medical biochemistry at a glance. 3rd edition, 2012. Blackwell. A good overview with pertinent details and illustrations.
  • Salway, J. G. Metabolism at a glance. 3rd edition, 2004. Blackwell. Effective illustrations for learning metabolic pathways. Good overview and pertinent details. The other "… at a glance" books are very good also. This is very good for learning metabolic pathways and regulation, probably the best that I have seen but is physical large in size. Some students find the illustrations too complicated.

If you DO NOT have a background in biochemistry use:

  • Baynes, J. W. and M. H. Dominiczak. Medical biochemistry. 4th edition, 2014. Mosby-Yearbook. Good biochemistry textbook with better illustrations.
  • Lieberman, M. A. and A. Marks. Marks' essential medical biochemistry: a clinical approach. 4th edition, 2012. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. Has effective clinical correlations.
  • Meisenberg, G. and W. H. Simmons. Principles of medical biochemistry. 3rd edition, 2116. Mosby-Yearbook. Good biochemistry textbook with better illustrations.

High quality references/board review books:

  • Devlin, T. M. (ed.). 2011. Textbook of biochemistry with clinical correlations, 7th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. This is very good for most of what you need.
  • Hark, L. and G. Morrison. Medical nutrition & disease: a case-based approach. 5th edition, 2014. Blackwell. Good overview and clinical information.
  • Karp, G. (ed.). 2015. Cell and molecular biology: concept and experiments, 8th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. This covers cell biology topics not found in Devlin.
  • Murray, R. K., D. K. Granner, and V. W. Rodwell. Harper’s illustrated biochemistry. 30th edition, 2015. McGraw Hill. Review book.
  • Nelson, D. L., and M. M. Cox. (ed.). 2013. Lehninger principles of biochemistry, 6th ed. Worth, New York. This is very good for most of what you need but lacks the clinical correlations found in Devlin.
  • Sardesai, V. M. Introduction to clinical nutrition. 2nd edition, 2003. Marcel Dekker. Good information, more biochemistry aspects of nutrition, some errors were noted in structures of molecules.

The following textbooks are also useful:

  • Braunwald, E., A. S. Fauci, D. L. Kasper, S. L. Hauser, D. L. Longo, and J. L. Jameson (ed.). 2015. Harrison's principles of internal medicine, 95th ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.
  • Scriver, C. R., A. L. Beaudet, D. Valle, W. S. Sly, B. Childs, K. Kinzler, and B. Vogelstein (ed.). 2001. The metabolic and molecular bases of inherited disease, 8th ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York. Available as an online resource.

 Correlated readings for Clinical Laboratory Tests

The following may be quite useful also:

For those of you interested in molecular structures, visit the PDB Molecule of the Month. Structures and descriptions that you may be interested in include the following:

 actin  myosin
 alcohol dehydrogenase  nucleosome
 aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases  p53
 collagen  pepsin
 cyclooxygenase  potassium channels
 cytochrome c oxidase  restriction enzymes
 DNA polymerase  ribosome
 glycogen phosphorylase  serum albumin
 insulin  thrombin
 myoglobin  transfer RNA

A collection of macromolecules (proteins and nucleic acids) is available at "Chime Square."

Biochemistry Pearls

Most of what you will encounter in biochemistry has as its foundation the concept of molecular interactions. How do molecules get together, stay together, carry out reactions, define identity, and transduce signals? It would be wise to have an understanding of the building blocks including amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.

Remember, learning content is important in developing an understanding of concepts, both of which serve as a proxy for reflecting your ability to manage and care for patients. As the year progresses, you should be building an effective reading knowledge of biochemistry, including cell and molecular biology. By the end of Y1, you will have encountered a wealth of pertinent information.


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Resources

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