Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Chemistry
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Brendan Wilkinson


CHM2942 has been designed for students from chemical and biological backgrounds who have a strong, common interest in the chemistry of living systems. In this unit students will be able to apply their knowledge by examining chemical processes in a biological context: the relationship between stereochemistry and biological activity; transition states of enzyme catalysed reactions; molecular mechanisms underlying glycoside bond formation and breakage; describe the chemical reactivity of organic and inorganic molecules and the reactions occurring at different functional groups; develop a basic understanding of bio-conjugate chemistry and its applications; classical and contemporary bioinorganic chemistry of metals; metal coordination chemistry; molecular mechanisms for redox potentials within living systems; metalloproteins and co-enzymes; transport and storage of naturally occurring and toxic metals; role of metals in medicine; applications of modern bio-spectroscopic and bio-imaging techniques; visualisation and monitoring of chemical processes occurring in living tissues; processing bio-imaging and bio-spectroscopic data.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Add to their understanding of the chemical reactivity of organic molecules and the relationship between stereochemistry and biological activity;
  2. Understand the concept of a transition state in enzyme-catalyzed reactions and the difference between inverting and retaining mechanisms in carbohydrate processing enzymes;
  3. Apply the concept of protective groups in organic chemistry for the synthesis of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates;
  4. Understand and describe the physical and chemical behaviour of metal ions in aqueous solution, particularly in relation to formation, stability and ligand lability;
  5. Understand the role of metals in biology, and the development and application of metal-based therapeutics and diagnostics;
  6. Apply an understanding of the use of spectroscopic techniques for determining the structure and function of biomolecules;
  7. Understand the different types of bio-imaging techniques and the methods used to process bio-imaging data.


Examination (2 hours): 50%
Mid-semester test (45 mins): 20%
Laboratory work: 30% +Students must achieve a pass mark in their laboratory work to achieve an overall pass grade in the unit.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures per week, a one hour workshop/tutorial every fortnight, and four hours laboratory activity for 10 weeks

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study