CHM2942 - Biological chemistry - 2019

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.



Organisational Unit

School of Chemistry

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alison Funston


Associate Professor Lisa Martin

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


One of CHM1022 or CHM1052; and

One of BIO1022 or BMS1021.


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 bioconjugate 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 bioimaging data.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (2 hours): 50% (Hurdle)

Mid-semester test (45 mins): 20%

Laboratory work: 30% (Hurdle)

Hurdle requirement: To pass this unit a student must achieve a minimum score of 50% in the laboratory practical component and a minimum of 30% for the end-of-semester exam.

Supplementary assessment is not available for the lab practical component.

Workload requirements

  • Two 1-hour workshops per week
  • One-hour workshop/tutorial every fortnight
  • One-hour directed independent study; and
  • Four hours of laboratory activity for 10 weeks

See also Unit timetable information

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