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BSc Chemistry

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Biosynthesis and Bioenergetics

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM30712
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit covers various aspects of biosynthesis and bioenergetics. The course will be delivered by 3 lecturers - (i) i) Prof. David Leys (course convenor); (ii) Dr Sam Hay and iii) Dr. Neil Dixon. The course will involve 6 lectures from each of the 3 lecturers, linked to workshops in which the students will be able to work through example problems, and discuss aspects of the course with the relevant lecturer(s) and thereby obtain clarification on any specific scientific issues.



The unit aims to: provide the students with important information relevant to understanding the living cell as a chemical reactor, focussing on the chemistry of biosynthesis and bioenergetics underpinning this. The chemistry of key metabolic functions including energy-generating processes such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, respiration, photosynthesis as well as aspects regarding control of metabolic flux in the cell will be looked at in detail. The course will include a detailed look at information flow and molecular machinery of the cell.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to: (i) have an understanding of the working of the aerobic respiratory chain and how this leads to generation of energy in the cell in the form of ATP; (ii) gain knowledge of how important cellular pathways (including glycolysis and the Krebs cycle) work and how these pathways lead to energy generation and to synthesis of important molecules including fatty acids, cholesterol and amino acids; (iii) understand the general mechanism by which light-driven photosynthesis works along with other aspects of biological photochemistry; and (iv) develop knowledge of the crucial cellular functions of the molecular machinery in the cell.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Problem solving skills: (i) analysis of mechanisms of metabolic pathways and their importance to the cell; (ii) determination of biochemical reaction mechanisms; (iii) Development of mathematical and numerical skills relating to analysis of data; (iv) communication skills (through written and oral communication) and further development of understanding of chemical and biochemical terminology.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback mechanisms will include direct interactions with students in the lectures as well as in the final workshops (the 6th “lecture” from each of the four lecturers) where the students will be encouraged to ask questions to the relevant lecturers to enable them to develop a fuller understanding of lecture material presented. Students will also have access to the relevant lecturers following completion of the course through email, again in order to discuss aspects of biological chemistry presented in the lectures and workshops.


Recommended reading

The recommended text for this course is Voet & Voet Biochemistry, 4th Edition, Wiley. Earlier editions of this text also contain the relevant content.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Leys Unit coordinator

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