cod. 00062

Academic year 2018/19
3° year of course - Second semester
Stefano BRUNO
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Discipline biologiche e farmacologiche
Type of training activity
64 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student should have gained insights into macromolecular drug targets (1st part) and into the main biochemical techniques (2nd part). Particularly, the student should be able to:1. Define the different biochemical mechanisms of action that drugs can exhibit depending on the macromolecular target they interact with. Understand the principles of the main biochemical techniques. (Knowledge and understanding).2. Define a simple experiment based on the techniques studied in the Course to tackle a simple biochemical problem regarding DNA and proteins, particularly for their characterization as drug targets. (Applying knowledge and understanding).3. Express the contents of the course with appropriate scientific language, both orally and in writing. (Communication skills).4. Recognize which technique is best suited to tackle a simple biochemical problem (Making judgements)5. Integrate the teachings of this Course with others, especially those of pharmacology, to gain an overall view on the action of drugs. Be able to read scientific literature and to interpret information on drug-macromolecule interactions (Learning skills).


Basic knowledge of biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry

Course unit content

The first part of the course will be focused on the evaluation of key biological macromolecules and the main metabolic pathways as drug targets. Several examples will be provided.
The second part will focus on the most relevant biochemical and molecular biology techniques.

Full programme

1st PART
Biochemistry of drug targets.
The nature of drug targets.

Proteins as drug targets: Enzymes; receptors and signal transduction pathways, transmembrane carriers; pumps and channels

DNA as a drug target: Drugs that interact with DNA.
RNA as a drug target: antisense nucleotides and structural analogues.
Drugs that interact with ribosomal RNA and other ribozymes.
RNA interference.

Membrane lipids as drug targets.

2nd PART
• Recombinant DNA technology
• Expression of recombinant proteins
• Purification of proteins
• Electrophoresis
• Spectroscopic techniques
• Enzyme kinetics at the steady-state
• Immunochemical techniques
• Blotting
• DNA sequencing
• Introduction to proteomics


The teaching material will be made available on a weekly basis and loaded on the Elly platform. The teaching material includes the slides and additional material provided by the teacher.

Reference Books:
- Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare - Principi e tecniche. A cura di Keith Wilson e John Walker. Raffaello Cortina Editore.
- Metodologie Biochimiche. A cura di Carmela Bonaccorsi di Patti, Roberto Contestabile e Martino Luigi di Salvo. Casa Editirce Ambrosiana.
- “Stryer – Biochimica”. A cura di Berg, Tymoczko. Zanichelli editore

Teaching methods

The teaching activities will be carried out as frontal lessons, with short classroom exercises to enhance student self-assessment. The lessons will be integrated with short demonstrations on simple biochemistry techniques, also with the support of videos.

Assessment methods and criteria

The achievement of the objectives will be assessed in an oral examination. The exam will take place on the official exam dates, upon online registration.

The evaluation on a scale of 0 to 30 will take into account of: 1. the general knowledge (18 point for a basic knowledge of all topics of the program); 2. the ability to apply the acquired knowledge critically (particularly on the biochemical techniques); 3. the appropriateness of scientific language (up to 3 points); 4. the autonomy in the discussion.
Erasmus students can opt for a written exam (approximately 1 h 30’) which includes 3 questions on the program. The exam will be followed, if they wish, by an oral discussion to explain specific points.

Other information

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