cod. PR1005048

Academic year 2022/23
1° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
5 credits
hub: Parma Azienda USL
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

the main purpose is to stimulate the interest for biological topics trough the hypothetic-deductive logic applied in science. Startinng with the chemistry of life and the study of the biological molecules , the chemical reactions of the cells that constitute the metabolisms. For this reason all the full understanding of the subjects is obtained by the study of the experiments by which the major discoveries have been obtained and allowed the development of theories. This is pivotal for the students future ability to observe , make hypotheses and planning experiments to test the hypothesis. This will also increase the student capacity to communicate and use the acquired knowledge .
At the end the students should have achieved a good understanding of the inteconnection of biochemistry , Cell biology, genetics all integrated in an evolutionary theory.



Course unit content

The purpose of this course is to give students the ability to learn and appreciate the importance of scientific method and biological thinking ( especially The chemistry of life , general biology and genetic) for the cultural background of graduates in health care professions.
APPLIED BIOLOGY and GENETIC: The evolutionary approach is the core theme of the present course. In fact the theory of evolution is the unifying core of the biological sciences ranging from molecule activities to behavior of organisms. In this connection the various topics ( focused mainly on animal biology) such as molecular bases of life, cellular biology, genetic, reproduction , animal and human behavior are necessarily approached with a good knowledge of the mechanisms of evolution. This lecturing program is tailored on the potential professional application of a graduate in nursing. ( ranging from the healing of the “body” (eg. Clinical pathology, surgery) as well as of the “psyche” (eg. Clinical psychology and psychiatry, neuropsychiatry
BIOCHEMISTRY: Organic chemistry: functional groups and their reactivity. Biomolecules: aminoacids and proteins; carbohydrates; lipids. Enzymes. Haemoglobin. Overview of metabolism: catabolism and anabolism. ATP. Cellular respiration and carbohydrates catabolism. Brief discussion on tryglicerides and aminoacids degradative metabolism.

Full programme

APPLIED BIOLOGY and GENETIC: The foundation and core of biological sciences: the theory of evolution
2. Chemistry of life. Biological macromolecules and their functions. Origin and evolution of life on earth. Origin of the cell: Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cell. The endosymbiontic theory of eukaryotic cell evolution.
3. Cell Biology with particular emphasis on Eukaryotic cell. Structures and functions of cell components. Cell cycle and asexual reproduction .Mytosis and cell cycle. Basic understanding of cell metabolism: glycolisis and oxidative rerspiration. Evolution of sexual reproduction. Meiosis and cell sexual cycle. Cost and benefit of sexual reproduction. Gamete formation and hormonal control of sexual reproduction (mammals in particular). Adaptive significance of sexual reproduction : sexual selection and parental investment.
4. Genetic. Mendel and the gene idea. Mendelian genetic and its extension. Chromosomal bases of inheritance: morgan experiments. Linked genes and the mapping of genes. Sex chromosomes and inheritance of related genes. Chromosomal determination of sex . Human genetic. Molecular bases of inheritance and gene expression: from genes to proteins.Regulation of gene expression in prokaryotic cells (the operon) and eukaryotic cell.
5. Mechanisms of evolution. Darwinian theory the past and the modern synthesis(neo-darwinian theory) Hardy-weinberg principle and microevolutionary processess. Macroevolution. the origin of secies and higher taxa. Human evolution. Primate evolution : hominids , the genus Homo and brain evolution.
6. Behavioral Biology: proximal and ultimate causes . Instinct and learning: nature vs nurture debate. Genes and behavior. Understanding hormonal regulation of behavior. Social behavior . Basic understanding of Darwinian Medicine.

Elements and compounds. Composition of the atom: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atomic number and mass number. Isotopes. Ions: cations and anions. The periodic table and the electron configuration for elements with biological interest. Electronegativity and chemical bonding. Ionic bonding and covalent bonding. Pure covalent bond and polarized covalent bond. Polar molecules. Valence and oxidation number. Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry: naming and writing formulas of simple common compounds (oxides, acids, salts). Aqueous solutions. Concentration units: molarity and percent fraction.
II. Biochemistry
-Water: chemical and physical properties. Water as a solvent: weak interactions in aqueous solutions. Dipole-dipole intermolecular interactions, hydrogen bonding and Van der Waals bond. Osmosis. Water ionization. Acids and bases. pH. Buffer solutions and their biological significance.
- Organic chemistry Introduction. Hydrocarbons and functional groups with biological interest. Naming and writing formulas of simple organic compounds. Isomerism. Types of reactions in biochemistry.
- Structure and function of macromolecules: 1) amminoacids as structural units of proteins. Peptidic bond and protein structure. Structure-function relationship: mioglobin and hemoglobin. Enzymes, coenzymes and cofactors. 2) Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. 3) Lipids: fatty acids, tryglicerides and phospholipids.
- Introduction to metabolism. Catabolism. Anabolism.
- General aspects of metabolism regulation.
- Energy production and energy storage in the living cell. Some basic principles of bioenergetics. High-energy compounds. ATP.
- Cellular respiration and carbohydrates metabolism.
- The fatty acid –oxidation and amminoacid metabolism.


There are numerous excellent Biology and Biochemistry books ( see the corresponding Italian translatuion) .
Since the lectures and exams are in Italian we recommend the use of the Italian version.

Teaching methods

The course will be held with oral lectures and will make use of multimedia systems(i.e. Power point and video presentation) The course will be held through lectures to students either in front of the classroom (“in presence”) or in synchronous-streaming on Teams platform (internet telepresence technology ) During the lessons, students will have the opportunity to discuss the key aspects of the course. The teachers will be available throughout the duration of the course to answer questions and support students during their training with individual meetings by appointment. Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, which will be available to students on Elly platform.( This will be particularly useful in case of Covid-19 emergency persistence

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the module includes a written exam, consisting of multiple choice quizzes and open questions. The knowledge and understanding of the contents by the students will be assessed through questions on the topics of the whole module. Through the resolution of problems the students ability to apply the acquired knowledge will be assessed. The final valuation will give more weight to the open questions.
In the case of coronavirus emergency, the exams will be performed with written test online using Teams and/or Elly platforms.

Other information

- - -