Course Title: Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Assoc Prof Donald Wlodkowic

Course Coordinator Phone: 03-9925-7157

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora 223.1.32A

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Fundamentals of Biochemistry course is designed to introduce engineering students to essential concepts of biological chemistry processes underlying all life on Earth. During this course you will explore chemical fundamentals underpinning structure and function of cells, the fundamental building blocks of life.

You will learn unifying themes of biological chemistry such as roles of major macromolecules, enzymes and their role in key metabolic pathways such as aerobic and anaerobic respiration. The course will also explain differences in structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells as well as how cells can form tissues and organs.

Finally a brief outline of practical examples of biological chemistry in drug discovery, diagnostics as well as laboratory techniques used to study biochemical processes will be demonstrated.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the Program Learning Outcomes for BH079 Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) (Honours) and BH098 Bachelor of Science (Applied Chemistry)/Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) (Honours)

PLO 1.1. Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.

PLO 1.3. In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.

PLO 1.5. Knowledge of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.

PLO 3.2. Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.

PLO 3.4. Professional use and management of information.


On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of fundamentals concepts in biochemistry;
  2. Explain the role of various classes of macromolecules and explain the way in which assembly of biological membranes as well as higher orders of supramolecular organization contribute to cellular functions;
  3. Explain the chemistry and energy flows underpinning cellular metabolism including fundamentals of bioenergetics, enzymatic biocatalysis and cellular respiration;
  4. Explain how genetic information is stored in DNA and how this information is further expressed into proteins;
  5. Explain how cells and some model organisms can be utilized in pharmaceutical drug discovery, toxicology and diagnostics;
  6. Have a practical experience from laboratory classes enabling you to interpret experimental biochemistry data and draw appropriate conclusions based on basic theoretical concepts

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course include:

  1. Attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained;
  2. Completion of ten online Multi Choice Quizzes (MCQ) to consolidate your knowledge;
  3. Completion of laboratory exercises designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
  4. Critical reflection on laboratory results, particularly when the results aren’t as you expect;
  5. Completion of laboratory reports consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter;
  6. Private study time, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and consolidation of your knowledge by reading selected chapters from the prescribed textbook.

Total Study Hours

A total of 120 hours of study is expected, comprising:

Teacher-guided hours (32 hours): Two hours of lectures per week (24 hours) and a total of 8 hours of four laboratory sessions over 4 weeks.

Student-directed hours (88 hours): About 7 hours per week of independent study is recommended


Overview of Learning Resources

Prescribed textbook: Becker’s World of the Cell, 9th Global Edition (GE) is required. This textbook is available as an Ebook from

Resources provided on a dedicated Canvas site of the PROC2048 course include:

  • Lecture slides and practical laboratory classes manual;
  • Laboratory Safety Induction training;
  • Pre-recorded lectures available for high-definition on-demand streaming;
  • Additional and supporting learning resources;
  • Online quizzes and laboratory reports

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

This course will be assessed by a series of module quizzes, practical class reports and a final examination to be conducted during the university’s formal semester exam period.

Ten online multi-choice quizzes (a total of 20% mark weighting)

These assessments support CLOs 1-5.

Four laboratory reports (a total of 30% mark weighting)

These assessments support CLOs 1-3, 6 3.

Final exam (a total of 50% mark weighting)

This assessment supports CLOs 1-5