BSc Biochemistry with a Modern Language

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM10022
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
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.

Part A:  Reactions of Molecules Relevant To Biological Systems

The first 14 lectures will cover the basics of reaction mechanisms and describe a range of functional groups and their reactions. The lectures will illustrate the biological relevance of esterification, imine formation, amide bond formation, glycosylation, methylation, addition across double bonds, phosphate diester, and aromatic/heteroaromatic chemistry.  Specific biological molecule classes used to illustrate these reaction types will include; peptides (peptide bond formation, methylation); lipids (esterification, electrophilic addition to alkenes); and carbohydrates (esterification and alkylation, imine formation, enolisation, glycosylation).

Part B: Analysing Molecular Structure and Function

The remaining lectures will introduce and explain the utility of a range of techniques for analyzing and determining molecular structures, covering NMR, fluorescence, IR and UV spectroscopic methods and mass spectrometry.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


  • to illustrate the importance of key functional group properties and reaction mechanisms to the understanding of biochemical properties
  • to appreciate the analytical methods available for molecular structure analysis.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course unit students should be able to:

  • Describe and explain general types of reaction mechanism (substitution, addition, elimination), building on knowledge of molecular structure, thermodynamics and kinetics gained in CHEM10021.
  • Identify functional groups and fully describe mechanisms of their reactivity in chemical reaction relevant to biological systems, e.g. as part of metabolic processes, or a toxic response.
  • Explain how molecules may be sensitive to particular spectroscopic techniques and describe how such techniques are applied in structure and function analysis of biological molecules.
  • Predict and interpret spectra of simple molecules.
  • Interpret and derive useful information from mass spectrometry data of proteins and peptides.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

The lectures are supported by workshops and eLearning material on Blackboard (online assignments and assessments).  The workshops develop problem-solving skills related to chemical concepts, provide key support for lecture material, provide formative assessment and feedback on progress and valuable exam preparation.  The eLearning modules provide summative assessment at certain stages as the course progresses.  Feedback in the case of these assessments is received as a mark or grade.  The online questions provide important exam practise and guide self-study through the lecture material.  The eLearning component is thus an integral part of the course and includes a discussion forum.

Recommended reading

NOTE: Bruice, PY Organic Chemistry is the recommended general text, however, alternatives are also listed below. Lecturers may also recommend reading specific elements of their teaching material.

  • Bruice, PY () Organic Chemistry, 4th (or 3rd) edition. Prentice Hall
  • Carey, FA () Organic Chemistry. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  • Fox, MA & Whitesell, JA () Organic Chemistry. Bartlett and Jones

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jason Micklefield Unit coordinator

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