Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Jackie Wilce (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)


This unit introduces the student to the chemistry of organic molecules and the biochemistry of cells. We examine the role of functional groups in biological molecules of biomedical importance and common reactions in metabolism. We reinforce concepts of ionisation and pH. We discuss the chemistry of proteins and their physical properties in solution leading up to an examination of enzyme catalysis and kinetics. This lays the foundation for an examination of the biological oxidation of fats and carbohydrates that provides the cell with energy. We examine the way energy is stored in times of plenty and relate our understanding to normal and disease states that occur.


This unit is an introduction to the chemical principles of life with an emphasis on the molecular building blocks of living cells. At the conclusion of this subject, students will be able to identify the chemical and biochemical aspects of functional groups in biological molecules. Students will be able to explain the common reactions found in metabolic systems such as oxidation-reduction, bond formation, bond breaking events and a knowledge of the role of water. The students will be able to explain the role of equilibrium and kinetic processes in biology and the describe concepts of enzyme catalysis. They will also be able to describe biological oxidation and the metabolic release of energy. Students will be able to describe the chemistry of important biological polymers and lipids and the reactions they undergo in the cell. On completion of the subject, students will be able to describe the biochemistry of molecules and reactions of biomedical importance and be able to draw relationships between these reactions and normal and disease states that occur.


End of semester exam: 60%;
Assessment during semester which can include small group session marks, self-directed learning exercises and on-line quizzes: 25%;
Mid-semester test: 15%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Jackie Wilce

Contact hours

3 lectures and a 3-hour small group session or computer based or self-directed learning per week


Must be enrolled in Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) or Diploma of Health Science