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BIOL1021 Behaviour of Biomolecules

Module Overview

This module seeks to build on the content of CHEM to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry underpinning the biochemical sciences.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module builds on the content of CHEMXXXX to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry that underpins biochemical sciences and some of the techniques that are employed to study it. The module provides a solid foundation in the reaction mechanisms that are found in biological systems, the thermodynamic properties of gases and liquids, the role of metal ions in biology and an introduction to spectroscopy.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the main reaction mechanisms found in Biological Chemistry
  • Understand the properties of free radicals and their reactions
  • Understand the concepts of chemical potential and its relevance in biology
  • Determine how ions behave in solution (ideal solutions, ionic strength)
  • Understand thermodynamics of ligand binding and how it can be used.
  • Role of metal ions in biology
  • Understand the principles underlying spectroscopy and be familiar their uses.


The syllabus will cover the following areas: 1) Reactions mechanisms that underpin biological chemistry 2) The thermodynamic properties of gases and solutions, including the concept of chemical potential 3) The properties of ions in solution, osmosis and the Donnan effect. 4) Ligand binding to macromolecules 5) Metal ions in Biology 6) Application of spectroscopy to biomolecules

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures supported with on-line tests to reinforce learning. Mathematical concepts will be supported through the introduction of an on-line resource.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Crowe and Bradshaw. Chemistry for the Biosciences. 

Price, Dwek, Ratcliffe and Wormald. Principles and Problems in Physical Chemistry for Biochemists. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 10%
Examination 40%
Tutorial 10%
Written exam 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 10%
Examination 45%
Written exam 45%
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