Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques (to qualify as a biomedical laboratory worker) (Verona)

Structure and Function of Biomolecules (2017/2018)

Course code
Giovanni Gotte

Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff
BIOCHIMICA 3 BIO/10-BIOCHEMISTRY TLB LEZ 1ANNO 1 SEM 16-17 Sofia Giovanna Mariotto

Learning outcomes

The course provides the knowledge of the notions of Chemistry and Biochemistry:
In particular:
- The scientific method, underlined to explain phenomena occurring in the laboratories. The main notions of General and Organic Chemistry. Further attention is spent for notions of Organic Chemistry which are preparatory for Biochemistry.
The Biochemistry module is then mostly focused on the relationship between structure and function of biological macromolecules and the main metabolic pathways in which they are involved. The fundamental objective is to stimulate the student's interest in biomolecular science by highlighting interconnections between biochemical processes and related energetics.
At the end of the Course, students should demonstrate to have acquired the proper scientific terms and notions in order to critically and autonomously evaluate the chemical processes and their application in the laboratory practice and also the biochemical processes of life.


-Matter: aggregation states, energy, intensive and extensive properties.
-Atom: atomic theory, atomic weight. Inside the atom: protons, neutrons, electrons. Orbital wave function. Quantum numbers and periodic properties. Connection between micro- and macroscopic levels: the mole.
-Chemical bond: ionic, covalent, weak bonds: hydrogen bond and hints of hydrophobic interactions. The ‘noble gas’ or octet rule.
-States of the matter: The law of ideal gases; real gases; vapour pressure; liquids and solutions; hints of solids.
-Chemical reactions: syntheses, swapping; acid-base and pH, redox reactions; examples of biochemistry redox reactions.
-Chemical equilibrium: in aqueous solution or not; the amphoteric nature of water. Connection between Keq and deltaG.
-Thermodynamics and kinetics: principles of thermodynamics and spontaneous, or not, reactions. Kinetic theory of collisions, activation energy and catalysis.
-Organic chemistry: the chemistry of carbon; hybridation of the carbon orbitals; stereochemistry; structure, nomenclature, functional groups of the oxygenated organic compounds, and reactivity of them. Aromatic compounds: structure and reactions. Nitrogen compounds and and most important reactions.
Frontal teaching is the exclusive method adopted in this Course.

- Structure and function of proteins: amino acids; peptide bond; structural levels of proteins; fibrous proteins and globular proteins; hemoglobin and myoglobin; hemoglobin variants; classification, function and regulation of enzymes. Chromatography
- Bioenergetics: metabolism, chemical transformations in the cell; thermodynamics; ATP as energy exchanger; oxidation/reductions.
- Structure and metabolism of carbohydrates; mono- and disaccharides; polysaccharides. Glycolysis and its regulation. Alcoholic and lactic fermentation.. Gluconeogenesis. Penthose phosphate pathway. structure, function and metabolism of glycogen.
- Oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate: synthesis of AcetylCoA. Citric acid cycle; electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation; ATP synthesis.
- Structure and metabolism of lipids: structural lipids and biological membranes; lipids transport; lipids digestion and fatty acids beta-oxidation; hints on fatty acids biosynthesis
- Amino acid metabolism; transamination and oxidative deamination; urea cycle; metabolism of the carbon chain.

The frontal teaching is the exclusive method adopted also in this course.

Assessment methods and criteria

To pass the integrated exam comprehending Chemistry and Biochemistry the students must demonstrate to acquire the comprehension and the knowledge of the program topics. Furthermore, they must show the capability to expose their reasoning in a critical and precise manner and using an appropriate scientific language.

The assessment of the subjects' learning in the Chemistry and Biochemistry modules is carried out through a joint oral test. The exam is preceded by a short written test consisting of 7 multiple-choice Chemistry Questions and 7 Biochemistry Multiple Questions Questions. This test gives access to the oral exam only if the correct answers are at least five for each subject and remains valid for the entire academic year.

The final score will be expressed in thirty's (/30). The examination will be validated with a minimum score of 18/30.
6 examination appeals are foreseen in the whole Academic Year: 2 in the Winter Session, after the Course ending, 2 in the Summer Session, and 2 in the Autumn session.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Catani et all Appunti di biochimica (Edizione 2) piccin 2017 978-88-299-2843-9
Stefani M, Taddei N Chimica Biochimica e Biologia Applicata. Zanichelli ed., Bologna  
M. Samaja, R. Paroni Chimica e Biochimica Piccin 2016
A. Fiecchi, M. Galli Kienle, A. Scala Chimica e propedeutica biochimica Edi-Ermes  
ALLINGER ed altri CHIMICA ORGANICA Zanichelli, Bologna  
D. Voet, J. G. Voet, C.W. Pratt Fondamenti di Biochimica (Edizione 4) Zanichelli 2017 9788808420961
David L Nelson, Michael M Cox I principi di biochimica di Lehninger (Edizione 7) Zanichelli 2018 9788808920690
M Samaja e R.Paroni Chimica e biochimica. Per le lauree triennale dell'area biomedica Piccin 2016
David L Nelson, Michael M Cox Introduzione alla Biochimica del Lehninger Zanichelli 2018
P.C. CHAMPE, R.A. HAEVEY, D.R. FERRIER Le basi della biochimica Zanichelli 2015

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