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Courses / Modules / BIOL1026 Chemistry of Life

Chemistry of Life

When you'll study it
Whole Academic Year
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 4
Module lead
Jorn Werner
Academic year

Module overview

This module seeks to provide students with the fundamentals of the chemistry that underpins the biological sciences.

Educational Aims: This module provides the student with the fundamental chemical principles necessary to understand the chemistry of biological systems. The module will cover two key areas. Firstly, it will provide an introduction to thermodynamics, electrochemistry and chemical kinetics in relation to biological systems. Secondly, it will provide an introduction to atomic and molecular structure leading to a description of the reactivity of the function groups and reaction mechanisms that are found in biological systems. It will provide an introduction to the role of metal ions in biology and an to the principles and application of spectroscopy.

Outline Syllabus:

The topics will be taught in two parallel strands with one hour lectures in each strand each week.

Strand 1 could be broadly identified as organic chemistry while strand 2 deals with physical Chemistry.

Semester 1:

1) Understand the principles underlying atomic and molecular structure (Strand 1)

2) Identification of functional groups and understand their reactivity (Strand 1)

3) Understand the properties of acids and bases and their use in buffers (Strand 1)

4) Concept of oxidation and reduction reactions and relation to bioenergy (Strand 2)

5) Basic concepts underpinning the thermodynamics of biological systems (Strand 2)

6) The thermodynamic properties of gases and solutions, including the concept of chemical potential (Strand 2)

7) Ligand binding to macromolecules (Strand 2)

Semester 2:

7) Ligand binding to macromolecules and allostery (Strand 2)

8) Reactions that underpin biological chemistry and reaction mechanisms (Strand 1)

9) Metal ions in Biology (Strand 1)

10) Reaction kinetics and enzyme mechanisms (Strand 2)

11) Application of spectroscopy to biomolecules (Strand 2)

Teaching and Learning Methods:

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures supported by a series of weekly computer-based worksheets and a series of workshops. A help desk will support students completing the computer-based worksheets