Bachelor's degree in Environmental and Workplace Accident Prevention Techniques (Trento)

Biomolecular fondamentals of life (2019/2020)

Course code
Monica Mottes

Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff

Learning outcomes

The course main goal is to educate students to a scientific approach towards natural phenomena. Biochemistry and Biology basic knowledge is essential for: i)understanding physiological and pathological processes; ii)developing new techniques intended for the prevention of risks in the workplace and in the environment. Learning outcomes: Basic knowledge of organic chemistry, necessary for approaching biochemistry To know structure/function relationships of biological macromolecules; to know how metabolism is regulated at the molecular level. To understand interconnections occurring between various biochemical processes and the related energy transformations To understand human biology in a evolutionary view, with a special interest on molecular and cellular processes which all living organisms share To know how physical and chemical mutagens act on genomes To know basic Mendelian genetics and how genetic diseases are transmitted At the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate acquaintance with scientific notions and with an appropriate terminology. They should also demonstrate to know how cells reproduce, how cells communicate, how organisms reproduce and interact with the environment. They should know, in particular, how various environmental mutagens can affect human health. Students will also be tested for their knowledge about inheritance of genetic traits and their capacity to interpret inheritance modes by pedigrees’ analysis.


Basic concepts in Chemistry and organic chemistry: the matter: atoms, molecules. Atomic organization: atomic orbitals, energy levels Chemical bound: covalent, ionic. Week interactions: hydrogen bond, van der Waals, hydrophobic interaction. Water. Molecules: properties and interactions in water. Solutions: definitions and concentrations (Molarity), osmosis. Buffer, pH. Chemical reactions: red/ox. Thermodynamic: Free energy (G), energetic potential of ATP, coupled reactions. Biochemistry Proteins: amino acids, peptide bound. Protein structures. Post translational modifications. Quality control for secreted proteins. Enzymes: kinetic, mechanism of action. Enzymatic inhibition. Allosteric regulation. Nucleic acids: nucleotides, DNA, RNA Sugars: simple and complex sugars. sugar bond, polysaccharides (starch and glycogen). Glycoproteins: blood groups. Membranes: properties, phospholipids, double layer. Lipids: fatty acids, cholesterol. Metabolism. general principles, regulations, hormones, vitamins. Sugar metabolism: glycolysis, regulations, alcohol fermentation, lactic fermentation. Pentose cycle. Citric acid cycle: oxidative phosphorylation, ATP synthase Gluconeogenesis. Fatty acid metabolism: fatty acid digestion, beta oxidation, ketone bodies. Fatty acid synthesis Protein metabolism: transamination. Urea cycle. Protein biosynthesis.
The historical bases of modern biology. General biology of prokaryotes. The evolution of eukaryotes; characteristics of the e. cell; cell cycle and its regulation, mitosis. The molecular bases of inheritance: DNA (structure, replication, other features). Definition of gene. The informational pathway: transcription (in prokaryotes and eukaryotes); mRNA processing, the regulation of gene expression. Chromatin and chromosomes, normal and pathologic human karyotype. Gene dosage and X chromosome inactivation in mammals. Sex determination in the developing embryo. Mutations: various types; how , where and when do they happen. Various types of mutagens, mutagenesis tests, DNA repair mechanisms. Somatic mutations and cancer. Sexual reproduction, meiosis, human gametogenesis. Mendel’s laws of inheritance. Association and recombination. Human genetics, how to construct and interpret a pedigree. Genetics of blood groups (AB0, Rh). Examples of autosomal inheritance (dominant and recessive) and X-linked inheritance. Examples of mendelian diseases in man. DIDACTIC MODES Attendance to lessons is mandatory. Classes will consist of theorical lessons covering the whole exam program. Oral explanations will be coadiuvated by PowerPoint presentations and videos, which will be made available to students through a dedicated Department web site. Additional didactic supports (multiple choice quizzes for self-assessment, journal articles , reviews, etc.) may be suggested during the course and will be made available to students for download. During the whole Academic Year, students may request personal reception to the teachers, by e mail. SUGGESTED TEXTBOOKS - Elementi di biologia (Cellula-Genetica)- H. Helena Curtis, et al., I edizione italiana, 2017 Zanichelli ed. Bologna, ISBN: 9788808773784 - Elementi di biologia e genetica D.Sadava et al., IV edizione italiana, 2014 Zanichelli ed. Bologna, ISBN: 9788808335210

Assessment methods and criteria

Written test made of multiple choice quizzes and open questions. Students will undertake both modules at the same time. Further information about exam organization is available in each module form. Final evaluation will depend on the results of both modules; students will pass the examination if results of both modules are ≥ 18/30. Students can retire/refuse the proposed mark .

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Stefani M, Taddei N Chimica Biochimica e Biologia Applicata. Zanichelli ed., Bologna 2010
Terry A. Brown conoscere la biochimica (Edizione 1) Zanichelli ed., Bologna 2018
David L Nelson, Michael Cox introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger (Edizione 4) Zanichelli ed., Bologna 2011
P Bonaldo, C Crisafulli, R D'Angelo, et al Elementi di Biologia e Genetica (Edizione 1) EdiSES 2019 9788833190389

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