Course Title: Biological Chemistry

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Biological Chemistry

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr Rajesh Ramanathan

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2887

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 3.3.11 (City campus)

Course Coordinator Availability: E-mail for appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course assumes the prior knowledge and understanding of cells and their functions at first year university level, as obtained in BIOL 2146 (Cell Structure & Function) or an equivalent course, or evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Course Description

This course provides further depth and practical skills in the structural and functional components of cells, tissues and organisms.  It provides a study of the chemical processes taking place in organisms and in the technical skills needed to investigate these processes. It introduces key concepts of biological chemistry and relates them to cell physiology, with an emphasis on structure-function relationships. It develops practical skills in the student by exposure to and practice in fundamental experimental techniques used for cell fractionation, examination of functional relationships, and analytical techniques in the study of metabolism of organisms (animals and plants) and relates these to nutrition. It also trains the student in appropriate critical assessment of scientific data and presentation of scientific results in standard methods used in the discipline.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of this course you will be able to identify key biochemical reaction pathways; understand the role of enzymes in biochemistry; know the structure of carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins; understand bioenergy production and utilisation; understand how to utilise basic bioinformatics resources (literature and sequences); obtain and measure biological materials, including enzyme activity.

Specifically, on successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • State the key chemical components in organisms, their functions and locations and how they are made and degraded
  • Recall the key metabolic pathways in organisms, the enzymes involved and how they are regulated
  • Appreciate and apply this knowledge to explain how enzymes are integral to the functioning of organic systems
  • Prepare biological materials for chemical analyses
  • Prepare biological materials for enzyme assays
  • Use common biochemical techniques including centrifugation, chromatography and biochemical assays 
  •  Tabulate, plot and discuss experimental results and integrate them with knowledge acquired through lectures, tutorials and private study
  • Take appropriate precautions to conform to practices in the laboratory with regard to environmental, occupational health and safety, and ethical regulations
  • Work independently and in teams in the laboratory and in tutorial-based exercises.

This course contributes to the School of Applied Sciences Program Learning Outcomes at AQF Level 7:

  • PLO-2 Scientific knowledge
  • PLO-3 Inquiry and Problem Solving 
  • PLO-4 Communication

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

  • attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding; 
  • completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
  • private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

The normal modes of teaching will be about 2 hours of lectures and 3 hours of laboratory practical at the City campus over most of the semester.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (including appropriate journals) and freely accessible internet sites. Other material will be provided in class. Students will be able to access course information and learning material through the Learning Hub (through myStudies via myRMIT).

The prescribed text is :
Nelson, D.L. and Cox, M.M., (2013), Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, (6th edition), W.H. Freeman and Co., New York. 

Overview of Assessment

Practical reports and pre-prac tests contribute to the assessment of this course and provide students with feedback on how they are progressing. An end of semester examination  tests students’ knowledge and comprehension of concepts presented in class and laboratory sessions.