BSc Biochemistry with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Chemistry of Biomolecules

Unit code CHEM21162
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

Chemistry of Biomolecules focuses on the chemistry underpinning the biological roles of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic and lipids. You will learn about the link between structure and function of these molecules at a chemical level within a biological context. Overview lectures will bring together this knowledge and apply it to key chemical process relevant to life: respiration, photosynthesis and signalling.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
BIOL10111 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 Pre-Requisite Recommended


To provide information about biochemically important aspects of the chemistry of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids, using appropriate examples. This includes organic, inorganic and physical chemistry aspects of biomolecules. Key emphasis is placed on understanding the structural principles that govern reactivity/physical properties of molecules as opposed to learning structural detail. The emphasis is on knowledge at the atomic level.

Learning outcomes

Students should:

  • Have knowledge of the structure/conformational freedom of biomolecules, e.g. proteins, DNA/RNA, carbohydrates and key metabolites/co-factors, e.g., be able to draw and recognize key structures such as the 20 amino acids, 5 nucleotides and major metabolites
  • Understand and demonstrate how the structure of biomolecules determines their chemical properties and reactivity
  • Draw molecules and reaction mechanisms, understand and propose site-directed mutagenesis experiments aimed at elucidating mechanism
  • Understand biochemistry at the atomic level.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The course introduces people to chemical reasoning and thinking, encouraging application of chemical rules and logic to problems.
Problem solving
The course introduces people to chemical reasoning and thinking, encouraging application of chemical rules and logic to problems.
The course introduces people to chemical reasoning and thinking, encouraging application of chemical rules and logic to problems.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 85%
Set exercise 15%

Feedback methods

Students will be invited to test their knowledge via blackboard multiple choice tests. These will span the various main topics: basic chemistry; organic chemistry; metals in biology; physical chemistry; overview lectures. In each case, the test assessment will be available immediately after the last lecture of that topic. Immediate feedback is given when answers are incorrect. Assessments remain open during the lecture course and students can retake them as many times as they want.

Recommended reading

The listed text book is recommended. Earlier editions also contain the relevant material.

  • Voet & Voet, Biochemistry, 4th edition, 2011, Wiley.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Leys Unit coordinator

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