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Learn Biochemistry Online

Find out how human health is dependent on chemistry, and what that means for clinical care.


In HMX Fundamentals Biochemistry, you’ll learn about the principles governing the interactions of individual molecules, and how those same principles apply at the scale of cells and organisms.

This online certificate course is led by Harvard Medical School faculty and features:

  • detailed animations and illustrations of medical concepts
  • clinical application videos including real doctor-patient interactions
  • ongoing, rigorous assessments to ensure content mastery

Learn more about the course:

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Course Information

Upcoming course periods

September 6 – November 18 | Apply now through August 16
Partial tuition waiver application deadline: Tuesday, August 2 at 12 noon US ET (HMX Fundamentals only)

January 10 – March 24, 2023 | Application opens August 17
April 11 – June 23, 2023 | Application opens December 7


Course length

Each course is 10 weeks long. New lessons are released weekly, and material remains available until the course closes. Expect to spend 3-6 hours per course per week.


Course cost

US$800 for an individual course

Partial tuition waivers are available.

What Learners Say

Kitae Park

New York Medical College

“I really enjoyed the animations and the way they illustrated difficult concepts with simpler analogies.”


Jiwan Toor, HMX student

Jiwan Toor

William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine

“You learn something in five or ten minutes, then you get quizzed on it…and then there’s a really nice explanation, even if you get the question right or wrong.”


Elizabeth Altman - HMX student

Elizabeth Altman

Union College

“[I appreciated] the relationship between the two professors that were teaching it, and how they would so clearly tie in their own specialties…They had such a good conversation and were able to ask each other questions that built off each other, so they emphasized the molecular understanding and brought it up to a patient understanding.”

Course Topics

Overview

  • Course introduction
  • Meet the faculty

The Rules of Energy

  • Thermodynamics of chemical reactions
  • Equilibrium and Le Chatelier’s principle
  • The role of enzymes and enzyme regulation
  • Glycolysis

How Energy is Harnessed

  • Coupling chemical reactions
  • Energy currencies: ATP and NADH
  • The tricarboxylic acid cycle
  • The electron transport chain

How Energy is Transformed

  • Bypass reactions and catabolic pathways
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Metabolic networks
  • Diet and energy

Cellular Specialization

  • Cellular metabolic specialization
  • The liver and muscle in carbohydrate metabolism
  • The role of adipose tissue in lipid metabolism
  • Diabetes

Compartmentalization of Biochemical Pathways

  • Membranes and organelles
  • Pumps and osmolarity
  • Sequestration of chemical reactions
  • Fatty acid synthesis and oxidation
  • The secretory pathway

Signaling Pathways

  • Response to stimuli
  • Receptors, ligands, and enzyme cascades
  • Positive and negative feedback
  • Endocrine signaling (insulin and glucagon)

The Chemistry of Life

  • The hydrophobic effect
  • Amino acid and protein structure
  • How structure dictates function
  • Allosteric and covalent enzyme regulation

Course Instructors

Kevin Bonham, HMX Biochemistry course lead

Kevin S. Bonham, PhD

Lecturer in Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School


Ole-Petter Hamnvik, HMX Biochemistry faculty

Ole-Petter (“OP”) Hamnvik, MB BCh BAO, MMSc

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Program Director, Endocrinology Fellowship, Brigham and Women’s Hospital