cod. 00061

Academic year 2021/22
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Scienze biomediche
Type of training activity
14 hours
of face-to-face activities
2 credits
hub: -
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to enable the student to know and understand the macromolecules of biological interest. The student must understand and be able to describe:
1) the structure of the molecules,
2) how biological molecules interact and react,
3) the functions performed by the molecules that make up the cell, seen as an elementary unit of living matter,
3) fundamental aspects of cellular metabolism by locating the reactions’site within the cell.
At the end of the course, the student have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the biological strategies and interdependence goals between the various phases of metabolism (anabolism, intermediate metabolism and catabolism). The student must acquire an overview of the cellular metabolic processes and their connection with energy consumption and production.
The student must be able to apply the knowledge and comprehension skills acquired in carrying out its training activities.


Knowledge of the following topics. 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 and covalent bonding. Polarity of the 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: Balance of simple chemical reactions (oxidation-reduction and salting). Mole concept, conversion from grams to moles and vice versa, stoichiometry elementary. The solutions: what is a solution, the main ways of expressing the concentration of solutions.

Course unit content

Enzymes. Oxygen-containing protein. General scheme of metabolism: catabolic and anabolic pathways. Role of ATP. Cellular respiration. Metabolism of carbohydrates, triglycerides and amino acids.

Full programme

Protein function. Enzymes - Structure and classification of enzymes. Coenzymes. Enzyme-substrate interactions. Enzymatic kinetics. Mechanisms of enzymatic regulation.
Introduction to metabolism - Anabolism and catabolism.
Glucose Metabolism - Aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis. Gluconeogenesis. Cori cycle. Glycogen syntesis and glycogenolysis.
Lipid metabolism - Plasmatic lipoproteins. Lipolysis. Beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Ketogenesis. Synthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Aminoacid and protein metabolism - Intracellular protein degradation. Transamination and desamination. Transport of ammonia to the liver. Alanine cycle. Urea cycle. Glucogenic and ketogenic amino acids.
Mitochondrial metabolism - Cyclic acid cycle. Complexes of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Mitchell's chemo-osmotic theory. Respiratory control.
Hormones - General mechanism of cellular action of hormones based on their structure. Structure, receptors and mechanism of action of insulin.
Vitamins - Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins: structure, functions, mechanism of action and main deficiencies.


Biochimica Essenziale con richiami di Chimica Generale e Chimica Organica.
Gabriele D'Andrea, Edises.

Introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger, D.L. Nelson, M.M. Cox, Casa Editrice Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Lectures will be held on-site in compliance with safety standards, provided that further instructions on the ongoing health emergency are not implemented. Supporting material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly) and will include slide presentations, audio-video aids or video-recording of the lectures.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course consists of a written examination on the whole Biochemistry program.
In the case of coronavirus emergency, the exams will be performed with written test online using Teams and/or Elly platforms.

Overall, particular attention will be paid to ascertain whether the student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the content.

Other information

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