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This subject is an introduction to the core of biochemistry, building on chemical principles and relating structure to function. The subject is an approved biochemistry prerequisite for entry to graduate medicine (and kindred vocational study) at the University of Melbourne. The molecular basis of life as discussed in this subject is essential for the understanding of any biological system and is at the core of all degrees in life science that use molecular techniques. The content includes an introduction to the molecular architecture of cells and the structure of biological building blocks (amino acids, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids). The coverage includes the structure and function of proteins, including the properties of enzymes, their regulation and kinetic behavior. How nucleic acids replicate information and serve as a template for the synthesis of RNAs and proteins (i.e. molecular biology). The structure of lipids is examined to show their major biological roles, particularly as components of cell membranes. Metabolic pathways (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen metabolism, TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation) will complete this core coverage of essential biochemistry. The subject is designed to complement the laboratory experiences in the subject BCMB20005.
Intended learning outcomes
By the end of the subject the student should understand:
- the structure and composition of a cell as the basic unit of life, including the concept of cell signalling as a means of transmitting information within a cell;
- the molecular basis for information storage and transmission from DNA to protein, including a basic understanding of genomics;
- the chemical nature of amino acids and their role in determining the folding and functions of proteins;
- the chemistry and structure of lipids and carbohydrates as components of cell membranes;
- the complete breakdown of glucose (glycolysis, TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation) as an example of the complexity of cellular metabolism which provides the macromolecules and the energy needed for cells to carry out their functions.
On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:
think critically and organise and expand knowledge from consideration of the lecture material;
learn to adopt new ideas from participation in the lecture and tutorial programs; and
plan effective work schedules and grow more confident in the synthesis of knowledge.
Last updated: 15 February 2020