cod. 1007978

Academic year 2021/22
1° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
COMPARI Carlotta
integrated course unit
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the students with the thermodynamic concepts necessary to the knowledge and the understanding of the interconversion of the energy in biological systems (bioenergetics) as well the ligand-biomacromolecule interactions. The molecular basis of protein-ligand complex ormation will be provided together with the biochemical basis of drug action.
Learning results
At the end of the course, the student will have acquired extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the interactions between ligands and biological macromolecules. Such knowledge will be applied to the interpretation of the molecular mechanisms of drug action.


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Course unit content

Modul of Biological Physical Chemistry (6 CFU) Prof. C. Compari
-Thermodynamics and Biochemistry.
- Changes of state: physical transformations of pure substances.
- Macromolecules in solution.
- Chemical equilibria involving macromolecules.
- Bioenergetics.
- Intermolecular forces.
- Colloid Chemistry.
- Non-viral vectors for gene therapy.

Pharmaceutical Biochemistry (6 CFU) Prof. S. Bruno
- Definition of drug and drug target.
- Binding properties of proteins.
- Enzymes as drug target.
- Treatment of HIV and NSAIDs as examples of the therapeutic use of enzyme inhibitors.
- Receptors as drug targets.
- Recombinant drugs.

Full programme

Modul of Biological Physical Chemistry (6 CFU) Prof. C. Compari
-Thermodynamics and Biochemistry: heat, work and energy. First law of thermodynamics. Molecular interpretation of thermodynamic quantities. Entropy, free energy and equilibrium. Second law of thermodynamics. Experimental Thermochemistry. Calorimetry. An outline of Statistical Thermodynamics.

- Changes of state: physical transformations of pure substances. Phase diagrams. Gibbs phase rule.

- Macromolecules in solution: thermodynamics and equilibria. Partial molar quantities, the chemical potential, ideal and non-ideal solutions. Application of the chemical potential to membrane equilibria: membrane equilibria, dialysis equilibrium, osmotic pressure, membrane potential.

- Chemical equilibria involving macromolecules: chemical equilibrium, thermodynamics of chemical reactions in solution. Interaction between macromolecules, binding equilibria, binding curves, cooperativity.

- Bioenergetics: molecules through membranes: transport modes, endoergonic and exoergonic reaction, coupled reactions.

- Intermolecular forces: van der Waals forces, hydrogen bond, hydrophobic interactions.

- Colloid Chemistry: definition and classification, surface tension, DLVO theory, structure and classification of surfactants, micelle and liposome.

- Non-viral vectors for gene therapy: non-viral methods for gene transfection. New non-viral vectors for gene therapy: cationic surfactants

Pharmaceutical Biochemistry (6 CFU) Prof. S. Bruno
• Drug and drug target: definition

• Binding properties of proteins

• Enzymatic catalysis

• Intracellular receptors


• Receptor tyrosine kinases

• Tyr kinase-associated receptors

• Receptor guanylyl cyclases

• Enzyme inhibition and rug discovery:
o Enzymes as drug targets
o Reversible inhibitors
o Irreversible inhibitors
o Tight-binding and slow-binding inhibitors
o Enzyme inhibition in HIV therapy

• Transporters

• Overview of recombinant drugs


Modul of Biological Physical Chemistry (6 CFU) Prof. C. Compari
- K.E. Van Holde, W. C. Johnson, P.S. Ho Principles of Physical Biochemistry, Pearson Prentice Hall
- P. Atkins, J. De Paula, Chimica Fisica Biologica 1, Zanichelli, Bologna
- P. Atkins, J. De Paula, Elememti di Chimica Fisica, Zanichelli, Bologna
- P. Atkins, J. De Paula, Chimica Fisica, Zanichelli, Bologna.
- David G. Nicholls Bioenergetics Academic press, inc.
- Scientific reviews on specific topics

Pharmaceutical Biochemistry (6 CFU) Prof. S. Bruno
- Selected scientific papers and copy of slides can be downloaded from the Elly website.
- David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
- Copeland R. Evaluation of enzyme inhibition in drug discovery, Wiley.

Teaching methods

Modul of Biological Physical Chemistry (6 CFU) Prof. C. Compari
- During the oral lesson, integrated with informatic tools and the support of multimedia, will present the basic concepts of physical chemistry with particular emphasis on biological applications .

Modul of Pharmaceutical Biochemistry (6 CFU) Prof. S. Bruno
- Oral lessons integrated with informatic tools and the support of multimedia

The course will be held through lectures to Students either in the classroom (“in presenza”) or in synchronous-streaming (“in telepresenza”) on the Teams platform. Therefore, the opportunity of Student/Teacher interaction will be preserved both face to face and remotely, by the simultaneous use of the Teams platform.
Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, which will be available to students on the Elly platform (

Assessment methods and criteria

A final oral examination will have to be passed, during normal examination sessions.
The questions will have the purpose of establishing the level of knowledge and understanding of the course content, in relation to the educational goals.
The final mark of the examination will be the mean of the marks obtained in the individual modules.

In case of the persistence of the health emergency, the exams will be conducted remotely, as follows:
remote oral questions, through the Teams platform (guide
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

Other information

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