cod. 08695

Academic year 2018/19
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
"struttura, funzione e metabolismo delle molecole d'interesse biologico"
Type of training activity
70 hours
of face-to-face activities
7 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The student will have to acquire the capability to connect the chemical nomenclature to the corresponding formula and to describe the structure and function of macromolecules such as carbohydrate, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids present in the cell. He must recognize the functional groups responsible for the reactivity of the molecules. He must acquire an overview of the mechanisms that govern the transformation of the molecules and its correlation with the production and consumption of energy. He must understand and appreciate the connections between chemistry and biology.
The student must acquire the ability to select and apply the gained knowledge not only in theory but also while carrying out training activities.


The prerequisites consist of the chemical knowledges needed to pass the entrance test to Study in Medicine and Surgery.

Course unit content

In the first part, initially, an overview of the topics that will be discussed during the course will be presented and reasons which justify the time sequence with which they are presented will be explained. Subsequently the principles that govern the flow of energy associated with each chemical reaction and their meaning from a biological point of view will be discussed.

In the second part we will look at topics that concern a) the structure of the atom and its properties by introducing a series of mathematical formalism and useful graphs to represent atoms and molecules and to describe chemical reactions; b) the origin of the three-dimensional structure and reactivity of the molecules; c) The principles of chemical kinetics; d) the reactions of inorganic compounds with particular attention to acid-base reactions.

In Part three, it will be dealt with the chemical and structural properties of organic compounds.

In Part Fourth, finally, it will be treated the structural and functional characteristics of the main macromolecules present in the cells (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids).

Full programme

The atomic structure: nucleus and electrons:. Electronic configuration: electronegativity. Covalent bond types on the basis of electronegativity of the atoms involved. Molecules: reactivity and molecular chemical bonding. Spatial distribution of electrons and shape of molecules.
Acidic and basic oxides. Acid/basic compounds theories. Salts. Fundamentals of chemical kinetics, meaning of activation energy. Chemical equilibrium: acidic and basic solutions. Fundamentals of thermochemistry and thermodynamics. Chemical reactions and energy exchanges. Electrochemistry.
1) Organic Chemistry: structure and chemical bond in organic molecules. Reactions types: addition, elimination, substitution. Reactions mechanisms: radicalic and polar. Reagents types: nucleophiles, electrophiles and radicals. Functional groups: nomenclature, physical properties and chemical reactivity of biological interest: aliphatic, olefinic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Functional groups: alcohols, phenols, thiols, carbonylic compounds: aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives. Amines.
2) Chemistry of the biological systems molecules: Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Lipids: fatty acids, lipids, complex lipids and steroids. Proteins: aminoacids and peptide bond. Peptides. Nucleic Acids: purines, pirimidines, nucleotides and nucleosides, the phosphodiesteric bond. DNA and RNA structures and function.


K.J. Denniston, J.J.Topping and R.L. Caret
Italian Edition
McGraw-Hill 2011

Organic Chemistry
H. Hart, L.E. Craine, D.J. Hart, C.M. Hadad
6th Edition Zanichelli

Introduction to General, Organic and Biochemistry
F. A. Bettelheim, W.H. Brown, M.K. Campbell., S.O. Farrell
9th Engl. Ed.

Teaching methods

The course will be conducted on the basis of lectures during which after having exposed some general concepts will go on to describe their first applications in chemical systems model and then as part of the life processes of a cell.
The classes will be divided into three parts. A brief introduction to resume the arguments put forward in the previous lesson (10 '), a space for questions about the arguments (10') and 30 'to present new arguments. Due to the limited time available, during the Course, priority will be given to a thorough discussion of the most conceptual part of the program, the remaining part will be left to the student's individual study activity using the recommended text books.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives set by the Course includes a written test followed and no oral exam.
Overall, the test is intended to certify whether the student has achieved a good knowledge and understanding of the whole chemical principles that underlie life processes and if he is able to select and apply them to solve simple problems.

As required by law and University Teaching Regulations, it is not possible to carry out the examination in parts and to acquire credits to one or more parts of the program.
Board of Examiners: Spisni Alberto Franzoni Lorella, Casali Emanuela
Substitute: Pertinhez Thelma, Troglio Maria Giovanna, Elena Ferrari

Other information

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