Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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




Associate Professor Martin Stone



  • First semester 2016 (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.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe how the structure of biologically relevant molecules contributes to their function in cells and organisms;

  1. Define the molecular structure of biological membranes and their role in cellular metabolism;

  1. Explain the physical and biochemical properties of proteins and describe how proteins function as enzymes;

  1. Summarise the techniques and underpinning science that is exploited for the isolation, separation and characterisation of biological molecules;

  1. Demonstrate technical skills in basic laboratory techniques used for the separation and identification of biological molecules and for measuring enzymatic behaviour;

  1. Demonstrate the skills necessary to accurately interpret biochemical data;

  1. Demonstrate an ability to research original published scientific literature and effectively communicate your findings either orally or in writing.


Mid-semester test (45 min): 10%
Examination (3 hours): 60%
Evaluation of practicals/ assignments/ self-directed learning exercises: 30%
A pass in both the final examination and practicals/small group sessions/tutorials must be obtained to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


12 points of level one chemistry or level one biology; OR BMS1011; OR CHE2165 and CHM2735. Recommended: VCE Chemistry if Chemistry is not taken at University.