cod. 1007257

Academic year 2017/18
1° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
SPISNI Alberto
integrated course unit
5 credits
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

The student will have to become familiar with the name and the corresponding chemical formula of the substances of biochemical-clinical interest. It will also have to know how to recognize the functional groups of the molecules. The student will have to acquire an overview of the cellular metabolic processes, their connection with consumption and the production of energy and how this is based on the concept of living being.


The constitution of matter, elements and compounds. The fundamental particles of the atom. Atomic number and mass number. Atomic weight and molecular weight. Isotopes. Ions: cations and anions.
The periodic table and the electronic configuration of the elements of biological interest.
Electronegativity and chemical bonding: ionic bond and covalent bond. Polarity of molecules. Valence and oxidation number.
Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry: formulas and names of the most common inorganic compounds.
The principle of conservation of mass and charge: balancing of simple reactions. Mole concept, conversion from grams to moles and vice versa, elementary stoichiometric calculations.
Solutions: main ways of expressing the concentration of solutions.

Course unit content

The course aims to provide essential information on the structure of biological macromolecules and their chemical properties. The student will have to learn how the molecules react and acquire knowledge on the functional role of the biomolecules that make up the cell, seen as an elementary unit of living matter. The student must also understand the fundamental principles of cellular metabolism.

Full programme

- Water: chemical and physical properties of water. Water as solvent: weak interactions in aqueous systems. Dipoles and interactions between different molecules. The hydrogen bond. Osmosis.
- Ionization of water. Acids, and bases. The pH. Buffer solutions and their biological meaning
- Elements of organic chemistry
- Overview of thermodynamics and bioenergetics: connection between chemical reactions and energy transfer
- The biological macromolecules

Chemical properties of amino acids, the peptide bond.
Overview of the three-dimensional structure of proteins
Protein function:
Myoglobin and Hemoglobin
Enzymes, notes on coenzymes and cofactors
Enzymatic kinetics

Chemical properties of carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides and homopolysaccharides

Chemical properties of lipids: reserve lipids and structural lipids of membranes.
Notes on the structure and function of biological membranes.

Cellular metabolism

- Bioenergetics and general scheme of cellular metabolism: metabolic pathways, high-energy compounds, redox coenzymes, principles of metabolic regulation

- Carbohydrate metabolism
Glucose handling and transport, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and pentose pathway (synthesized)

- The cycle of Krebs or tricarboxylic acids

- Metabolism of fatty acids
Movement and transport of fatty acids, beta oxidation

- Cellular respiration
The respiratory chain
Oxidative phosphorylation


Biochimica Essenziale
Gabriele D'Andrea

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

The exam includes a written test that will focus on the entire program of the course and consists of 10 multiple choice questions and 6 open questions. To pass the exam you must respond appropriately to a number of questions covering the whole program.
Exam Commission: Spisni Alberto, Ferrari Elena.
Alternate members: Casali Emanuela, Pertinhez Thelma,

Other information

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