cod. 21954

Academic year 2019/20
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
"struttura, funzione e metabolismo delle molecole d'interesse biologico"
Type of training activity
80 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit


Learning objectives

The student is asked to understand and learn the content of the course. Attendance to lessons, which is mandatory, will allow the student to acquire skills appropriate to describe, communicate effectively, use independence of judgment and comment features, functions, structure and the metabolic role of the main bio-molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes and co-enzymes, water and fat soluble vitamins); the mechanisms of metabolic energy production, energetic and structural homeostasis of living cells; structure and function of eukaryotic genes, replication of DNA, gene expression, DNA repair; the main metabolic pathways and their regulation; structure and functions of hormones, endocrine regulation of the metabolism; metabolic and biochemical correlations between organs and tissues under normal and pathological conditions; the molecular basis of human diseases; research approaches to molecular medicine and translational research.


To be eligible for Human Biochemistry exam, at the end of the second year of the course, students must have passed the following examinations:
1) Chimica e Propedeutica Biochimica
2) Istologia
3) Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare

Course unit content

Initially the course introduces the student to the structure and functions of bio-molecules of biological interest.
Proteins: structure and functions. Myoglobin, hemoglobin and oxygen transport. Enzymes and enzyme kinetics. Cofactors and coenzymes used in metabolic reactions. Vitamins: origin, structure, mechanism of action.
Then, the molecular basis of genetic information and biotechnological applications will be addressed, with particular regard to biomedicine.
Molecular basis of genetic information. Composition and structure of nucleic acids. Structure and function of eukaryotic gene. DNA replication. DNA repair. Mechanisms of gene expression in correlation with human disease, cell aging and cancer. Types of RNA: structure and functions. Genetic code and its properties. Mechanisms and regulation of transcription. Protein synthesis and its regulation. Regulation of gene expression and fate of post-synthetic proteins. Control of proliferation. Apoptosis. Differentiation. Molecular biology techniques: cloning, DNA sequencing, restriction enzymes and restriction maps, transgenes and transgenic organisms. Recombinant DNA technology in forensic medicine.
Finally, the course will address the complexity of human metabolism and its regulation, laying the fundamentals for understanding of diseases, diagnosis, treatment at the molecular level, also illustrating the most advanced aspects of translational research.
Bioenergetics and biological oxidation. Glycolysis and the metabolic fate of pyruvate. Glycogen metabolism. Gluconeogenesis. Control of glycemia. Pentose Phosphate pathway. Citric Acid cycle and its amphibolic role. Electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. Amino acid metabolism. Metabolism of fatty acids and lipids. Ketogenesis. Cholesterol metabolism. Transport of lipids and lipoproteins. Metabolic fate of ammonia. Urea Cycle. Synthesis of uric acid. Synthesis and catabolism of heme. Bile pigments. Biosynthesis of amino acids. Biosynthesis of Purines, Pyrimidines and nucleotides. Biochemistry of the endocrine system. Structural and functional classification of hormones. Hormones: signal transduction pathways. Role of hormones in metabolism. Molecular approaches to major human diseases, molecular and translational medicine.

Full programme

La glicolisi e il destino metabolico del piruvato. Metabolismo del glicogeno. Gluconeogenesi. Controllo della glicemia. Shunt dell'esosomonofosfato. Ciclo di Krebs e suo ruolo anfibolico. Metabolismo degli acidi grassi e dei lipidi. Chetogenesi. Metabolismo del colesterolo. Trasporto dei lipidi e lipoproteine plasmatiche. Metabolismo degli aminoacidi. Destino metabolico dell’ammoniaca. Ciclo dell’ urea. Metabolismo delle basi azotate e dei nucleotidi. Sintesi di acido urico. Sintesi e catabolismo del gruppo eme, pigmenti biliari, bile e itteri. Meccanismi molecolari della contrazione. AMP-K ed omeostasi energetica. Metabolismo del ferro. Biochimica del sistema endocrino e classificazione strutturale e funzionale degli ormoni. Vie di trasduzione del segnale ormonale. Ruolo degli ormoni nel metabolismo. Meccanismo d’azione degli ormoni. Approcci molecolari alle principali patologie umane. Diagnostica molecolare. Medicina molecolare e traslazionale.


Nelson DL, Cox MM: I principi di Biochimica di Lehninger, Zanichelli, Bologna.
Lewin, Krebs, Goldstein, Kilpatrick: Il gene. Zanichelli, Bologna.
Amaldi, Benedetti, Pesole, Plevani: Biologia Molecolare. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano.
Lieberman, Marks: Biochimica Medica, un approccio clinico. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano.
Baynes JW, Dominiczak MH: Biochimica per le discipline biomediche, Elsevier Mosby, Philadelphia.
Caldarera CM: Biochimica Sistematica Umana, CLUEB, Bologna.
Devlin TM: Biochimica con aspetti clinici. Wiley-Liss, New York.
Garrett RH, Grisham CM: Biochimica. Piccin, Padova.
Mathews CK, van Holde KE, Ahern KG: Biochimica, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano.
Murray RK, Granner DK, Mayes PA, Rodwell VW; Harper Biochimica, McGraw-Hill Libri Italia srl, Milano.
Siliprandi, Tettamanti: Biochimica Medica, Piccin. Padova.
Voet D, Voet JG: Biochimica John Wiley & Sons, USA.

Teaching methods

The course will be held with oral lectures and seminars to deep single issues, and will make use of multimedia systems. During the lessons, students will have the opportunity to discuss the key aspects of the course. Teachers will be available throughout the duration of the course to answer questions and support students during their training with individual meetings by appointment.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination of Human Biochemistry, at the end of the second year of the course, includes a written examination with open questions on the main topics of the integrated program. Please refer to the detailed program below. The exam will be approved as the student will achieve a pass in all questions submitted. Approval of written exam is semi-quantitative and allows access to the oral exam for the final result. The written text, corrected by the teacher, will be discussed during the oral exam to allow self-correction and integration of content as needed by the student. The schedule of the oral exams will be made available after correction of the written exams. The hearing will continue in the traditional way spacing on other topics of the program. The commission, taking into account all the elements acquired, will formulate the final grade. Students who have not passed the written test will be allowed to see the correct text and discuss the errors and/or weaknesses with faculty members of the commission by appointment via e-mail. This activity will help to improve the individual preparation for the subsequent attempt to pass the written exam.

Other information

Support activities

The teaching material has been moved to the E-Learning University web site ->, which is accessible by clicking on the “Go” button at the bottom of Moodle. Availability and updates of teaching materials are subject to approval by the competent authorities of the University.
Access to the restricted section of the course by individual student is through username and password. The student will book the exam list following login. Exams lists are accessible and scheduled annually.