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CHM2942 - Chemistry of life

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Steve Langford


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Covers the basic physico-chemical principles relevant to the application and activity of chemicals in biological systems: The spectroscopy of biological systems and the concept of energy applied to biological sciences will be developed. Examples of classes of molecules and their synthesis and design will be discussed. Biologically important natural products (including terpenes, steroids, alkaloids) will be discussed from a historical perspective as leads for new drug discoveries. Basic coordination chemistry, as it relates to biological systems, will be discussed and then extended to explore the roles of cisplatin, heavy metal toxicity, and antidotes involving metal ion complexes.


On completion of this unit, students will have knowledge of the relationship between structure and function for many biological molecules. The study of thermodynamics is of central importance in chemistry and related disciplines and the student will gain a better understanding of these principles. The student will learn to appreciate the history of discovery and application of selected clinically important drugs and natural products, and the traditional sources of such drugs that include terrestrial and marine plants and microorganisms. Students will also have been introduced to the techniques required to isolate and purify new chemicals from these sources. Each student will gain a basic understanding of the application of physico-chemical principles to living systems, and also the roles played by main and transition group elements in living systems, drugs and antidotes. This new knowledge will be enriched and exemplified by the accompanying practical classes. During practical classes, students will become conversant with the identification and management of risks concerned with their individual experiments, experience group work, interact with modern information technologies and develop skills in report writing and oral presentation.


Examination (2 hours): 47%
Mid-semester test (1 hour): 23%
Laboratory work: (30%)
Students must achieve a pass mark in their laboratory work to achieve an overall pass grade.

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and an average of 3 hours laboratory activity per week


CHM1011 OR CHM1022 OR CHM1031 OR CHM1042 OR BMS1011