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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB20002)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBCMB20002
Semester 1
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is an introduction to the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, building on 1st year chemical principles relating molecular structure to biological function. The content includes a detailed introduction to the structure of biological building blocks (amino acids, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids). The subject covers the structure and function of proteins, including the properties of enzymes, their regulation and kinetic behaviour. How nucleic acids replicate information, are maintained and repaired and serve as a template for the synthesis of RNAs and proteins (i.e. molecular biology) is addressed. 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 a prerequisite for lecture-based level-3 subjects in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The subject is designed to stand alone, but it complements the laboratory experiences in the subject BCMB20005 “Techniques in Molecular Science”, Each of these level-2 subjects can be taken independently, concurrently or in either order.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the subject the student should be able to:

  • Explain the covalent, non-covalent and thermodynamic contributions to the structure and function of biomolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids & carbohydrates).
  • Generate and interpret pictorial representations of biomolecules.
  • Apply mathematical models to analyse the function of biomolecules (e.g. chemical equilibria, ligand binding, enzyme kinetics and hydropathy index).
  • Analyse nucleic acid and amino acid sequences to predict structural properties and evolutionary relationships.
  • Discuss the molecular basis of chromosome structure, heredity, gene transcription and translation, DNA repair and cell cycle.
  • Describe how extracellular signals are transmitted across membranes and become amplified in the cell
  • Describe how lipid and protein composition affect the structural and functional properties of biological membranes.
  • Explain how the linkage of monosaccharides gives rise to the structural and functional diversity of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides
  • Compare and contrast cellular energy metabolism under anaerobic and aerobic conditions.
  • Predict the changes in flow of metabolites in response to hormonal regulation and gene mutations.

Generic skills

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: 21 September 2019