The aims of the course are to familiarize students with all the important components of the chemistry of life and the foundations of Biochemistry. More specific aims are:  ·      To familiarize students with the important properties of buffering systems and the biochemical properties of water.  ·      To provide the necessary background on the relationship of structure and function of most biologically important macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates. ·      To provide experience on how to scientifically answer biological questions by designing the proper experiments. 


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Learning Outcomes

This course will cover water as a basic solvent of all biomolecules, amino acids, peptides and proteins, the three-dimensional structure of proteins, enzymes, nucleotides and nucleic acids (nucleic acid structure, nucleic acid chemistry, other functions of nucleotides), lipids and carbohydrates.    Specific measurable objectives are:  1.    Students will demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of all major biological macromolecules.  2.    Students will demonstrate knowledge of the technologies utilized as of today for the study of proteins and nucleic acids.  3.    Students will show the potential to choose the right methodology for the study and exploration of a specific biological problem.  4.    Students will enhance their skills to incorporate knowledge and process it fast and in a productive way and get the right answers in a time limited manner and under pressure.


·      The foundations of Biochemistry.  ·      Water (weak interactions in aqueous systems, ionization of water, weak acids and bases, buffering against pH changes in biological systems.  ·      Amino acids, peptides and proteins (amino acids, peptides & proteins, working with proteins, the structure of proteins)  ·      The three-dimensional structure of proteins (overview of protein structure, protein secondary structure, protein tertiary and quaternary structures, protein denaturation and folding)  ·      Enzymes (an introduction to enzymes, how enzymes work, enzyme kinetics)   ·      Nucleotides and nucleic acids (some basics, nucleic acid structure, nucleic acid chemistry, other functions of nucleotides)  ·      Lipids (storage lipids, structural lipids in membranes)  ·      Carbohydrates and Glycobiology (monosaccharides and disaccharides, polysaccharides, proteoglycans, glycoproteins, glycolipids) - Brief introduction in the state-of-the-art biochemical and bioanalytical methods for the study of biomolecules.

Content Delivery

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Coursework And Assignment Details

Written examination at the end of the course:           70/100   (50/100 is required) Homework (Scientific presentation):                                   30/100 For the homework the students have to select one of the papers provided on the first day of lectures  (relative to the context of Biochemistry), search the scientific literature, and then prepare a 15 min presentation for the last day of lectures.  The presentation should have the typical structure of a scientific presentation: 1. Abstract 2. Introduction/Background 3. Methods 4. Results 5. Discussion (this section can be merged with results: Results and discussion) 6. Literature/References