Biological Chemistry

Module code: CH3204

The key to understanding life as we know it is understanding the chemicals, and the biochemical processes they take part in. Biological chemistry, whilst an extraordinarily-broad field, has been central to some of the major discoveries in scientific history and in this unit, we will unlock the exciting chemistry behind these and help you prepare for future discoveries in the field. Understanding the structure and representing the reactions these biomolecules is not only essential to the design and synthesis of drugs, but also a great aid to many synthetic chemistry researches.

Topics covered

  • The structure, chemistry and properties of the biochemicals, namely carbohydrates (DNA and Energy); nucleosides (DNA); terpenes (flavour); polyketides (cyclic natural products and therapeutics); alkaloids; fatty acids (fats and cell membranes); amino acids (proteins) and cofactors (enzymes and vitamins).
  • The synthesis (preparative and biochemical) of the above molecules.
  • Mechanisms and reaction pathways associated with the synthesis and biochemical applications of the naturally occurring molecules.
  • The chemistry involved specifically in structure determination of DNA.

Learning

  • 33 hours of lectures
  • 117 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Coursework (25%)
  • Exam, 2 ½ hours (75%)