Skip to content | Change text size

BCH2011 - Structure and function of cellular biomolecules

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Rebecca Lew


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit focuses on the action of major classes of biomolecules in biologically and medically relevant systems. Protein structure is related to function in contexts such as blood cells and extracellular matrix. The folding of proteins and the consequences of misfolding, as a cause of disease, are also explored. The mechanism of action of enzymes in medically important systems is examined. Carbohydrates and lipids are examined in the context of their function in diverse cellular compartments and biological membranes, respectively. The techniques used to isolate and study proteins, including their analysis using the tools provided by the new science of bioinformatics, are explored.


The specific objectives of the lecture program are to give students a basic understanding of the principles of the structure (especially three-dimensional structure) of molecules associated with the life process and the role of these molecules in the function of living cells; the molecular organisation of cellular structures, especially that of membranes and the role of membranes in cellular metabolism; the physical and biochemical properties of proteins, especially in their roles as enzymes; the isolation, separation and characterisation of biological molecules. The specific objectives of the practical/tutorial/self-directed program are to allow students to develop problem solving skills through the evaluation of biochemical data and to provide students with the understanding and hands-on experience of the basic principles of the measurement of biological molecules; enzymology; and the separation and identification of biological molecules.


Mid-semester test (45 min): 10%
Examination (3 hours): 60%
Evaluation of practicals/ assignments/ self-directed learning exercises: 30%

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and 3-hour practical/tutorial/self-directed learning exercise per week


12 points of level one chemistry or level one biology; OR BMS1011. Recommended: VCE Chemistry if Chemistry is not taken at University.