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Peer Review

Medical Biochemistry



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 20, 2006 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: The Medical Biochemistry Page is a collection of web pages each of which
focuses on a biochemical pathwway, process, or disease. The Illustrations consist almost entirely of simple line drawings of pathways, chemical structures, or graphs. Topics include: Ionic Equilibria, Thermodynamics, Chemistry of Biomolecules, Protein Structure, Hemoglobin and Myoglobin, Enzyme Kinetics, Vitamins and Co-enzymes, Glycolysis, Gluconeogenesis, Metabolism of Ethanol, Glycogen Metabolism, Regulation of Blood Glucose Levels, Metabolism of Major Non-Glucose Sugars, The TCA Cycle and PDH, Pentose Phosphate Pathway, Oxidative Phosphorylation, Metabolism of Lipids, Phospholipid Metabolism, Sphingolipid Metabolism, Eicosanoid Metabolism, Fatty Acid Oxidation, Cholesterol and Bile Metabolism, AMPK: Master Metabolic Regulator, Lipoproteins, Glycoprotein Synthesis, The Extracellular Matrix, Glycosaminoglycans and Proteoglycans, Glucuronate Metabolism, Type 1 and 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Nucleotide Metabolism, Nitrogen Metabolism and the Urea Cycle,
Amino Acid Metabolism, Specialized Products of Amino Acids, Iron, Heme and Porphyrin Metabolism, DNA Metabolism, RNA Metabolism, Protein Synthesis, Protein Modifications and Targeting, Inborn Errors in Metabolism, Table of Common Vertebrate Hormones, Steroid Hormones and Receptors, Peptide Hormones and Receptors, Biochemistry of Nerve Transmission, Control of Gene Expression, Blood Coagulation, Muscle Biochemistry, Molecular Tools of Medicine, Growth Factors and Cytokines, Signal Transduction, Signaling by Wnts and the TGF-b/BMP Families, Oncogenes and Cancer, Tumor Suppressors and Cancer
Type of Material: On-line textbook.
Recommended Uses: A good reference. Undergraduates and medical students can refer to these pages to get a clear and succinct explanation of a pathway, process or disease.
Considerable detail is available if desired. Extensive linking between related topics allows for review of background material, or follow-up with related
Technical Requirements: Html
Identify Major Learning Goals: No goals are stated, but the site provides a resource for motivated individuals
to look up topics and read detailed descriptions of them. These articles could
be used to gain familiarity with or to review various biochemical pathways and
underpinnings of biological processes in some detail.
Target Student Population: Medical students, would also be appropriate for undergraduates.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic organic chemistry and some physiology. A scientific/medical vocabulary that includes terms at the level of homeostasis, assay, hyperglycemia. Knowledge of the structure and function of the fundamental classes of biomolecules such as sugars, fats, etc. Algebra

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars

  • A thourough and complete description of biochemistry topics.
  • Hyperlinks between sections allow students to easily link topics.
  • Illustrations are appropritate and clear.
  • The writing is clear and concise.

  • Though the textual material is extensive, the illustrations are spare and often limited to sketckes of pathways.
  • Text formatting is problematic at times: some pages have center-justified paragraphs, some are very crowded, with neither a skipped line between pargraphs nor indented paragraphs (should have one or the other for ease of reading).

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars

  • A high quality on-line textbook that will serve as an excellent reference for students.
  • Covers many topics of importance to medical students.
  • A very good reference manual/textbook for students to use as a supplement to coursework.

  • Some animations, or links to animations or movies, of difficult concepts would be helpful.
  • Doesn't always take advantage of being an on-line text. Could have more links to external sites to support concepts covered in text.
  • Could create assignments based on the text, but none are currently available on this site.
  • This is a resource rather than a tool. I am not sure it is more complete than other textbooks, but it gathers a variety of material on medical topics, and is searchable.
  • No learning objectives are given, but this may not be part of the
    author's goal.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Well organized and clearly written.
  • Frequent embedded links in each topic make it easy to investigate related topics and background information.
  • A fast and simple keyword search is readily accessible.
  • Every page links back to the home page clearly and quickly, so navigation is easy.

  • Topics on the home page are listed in an apparently random order, making it difficult to make sense of the list by browsing it.
  • Links from the home page to the Course Information and Lecture Schedule are broken.
  • It would be nice if one could do a keyword search from any page, but since the home page (with the search form) is always one click away, this is not a big problem.