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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.

Eligibility and requirements


One of:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
CHEM10004 Chemistry 2
Summer Term
Semester 2
CHEM10009 Chemistry for BioSciences
Semester 1

Candidates who have taken chemistry subjects at other universities may be accepted for BCMB20002 if their studies are equivalent to a full first year of chemistry with basic organic chemistry well covered. Contact the coordinator to ask for a waiver of the prerequisites (include previous chemistry subject details, the institution, the year(s) of study and the grades achieved).



Non-allowed subjects

Bachelor of Biomedicine students taking

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
BIOM20001 Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine
Semester 1

are excluded from this subject.

Passing BCMB20002 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology precludes subsequent credit for BCMB20006 Biochemistry in Agricultural Systems.

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points

Recommended background knowledge

Level 1 Biology is strongly recommended.
A biomedical or biological practical subject such as

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
BCMB20005 Techniques in Molecular Science
Semester 1
Semester 2

or equivalent is strongly recommended.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



Mid Semester Test 1

  • 30 minutes
Week 510%

Mid Semester Test 2

  • 30 minutes
Week 910%

12 x Online quizzes based on text book pre-reading (approx. 40 pages) (0.83% each)

  • 40 pages
Throughout the semester10%

Written Exam

  • 3 hours
During the examination period70%

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    CoordinatorsTerrence Mulhern and Heather Verkade
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019
  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorsTerrence Mulhern and Heather Verkade
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

Time commitment details

48 contact hours with an estimated total time commitment of 170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Nelson and Cox, Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 7th edn. 2017

  • Subject notes

    BCMB20002 satisfy the Biochemistry prerequisites for progression in the Animal Health and Disease major.

    This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and New Generation degrees).

    This subject is not available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Biomedicine.

    Students undertaking this subject will be expected to regularly access an internet-enabled computer.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 September 2019