Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Steve Bottomley


The course will give students an advanced understanding of protein structure-function in the context of human disease. Major themes relate the various levels of protein structure to their wide ranging functions, introduce modern techniques used in the analysis of structure and function, and explore the rapidly developing area of protein-related biotechnologies and drug design. Topics to be covered include examples of aberrations in protein structure that lead to alteration in function in a variety of biological contexts, emphasizing disease. Additionally the use of bioinformatics in aiding our understanding of protein sequence, structure and function will be highlighted.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the relationship between protein sequence, structure and function and relate this to specific examples in human health and disease;

  1. Explain how proteins fold to their correct three dimensional shape and how this process may go wrong and cause disease;

  1. Illustrate how NMR and X-ray crystallography are used to determine the structure of a peptide or protein;

  1. Critically analyse how our understanding of proteins contributes to biotechnology and medicine, in particular comment on the contribution of protein engineering and proteomics to these fields;

  1. Describe the use of fluorescent proteins as tools for characterising the role of proteins in vivo;

  1. Apply experimental techniques and methodologies to determine the structure and function of an unknown protein.


Examination (2 hours): 60%
Practicals and assignments: 40%
A pass in both the final examination and practicals and assignments must be obtained to pass the unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Two hours of lectures and four hours of laboratory or tutorial sessions per week