cod. PR21954

Academic year 2022/23
1° year of course - First semester
- Mariana GALLO
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Scienze biomediche
Type of training activity
20 hours
of face-to-face activities
2 credits
hub: Parma Azienda USL
course unit

Integrated course unit module: BIOMOLECULAR PRINCIPLES

Learning objectives

The module has as its formative objective to provide the students a solid knowledge and understanding of the essential principles of Chemistry, structure of organic molecules and the macromolecules of biological interest. The student will be required to know and understand 1) the main elements of chemical reactions 2) the functional role of biomolecules that compose the living matter 3) the essential aspects of cellular metabolic pathways.
Results of learning Knowledge and understanding At the end of the module the student will be required to : show knowledge and understanding about the name and corresponding chemical drawing of main classes of compounds with biological relevance; be able to identify the functional groups of organic molecules responsible of their reactivity. Know the general scheme of metabolism, the major metabolic pathways and their connection with energy production and energy consumption. Understand the connection between chemistry and biology.


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

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

I. Chemistry
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.


Elementi di Chimica e Biochimica.
E. Chiricozzi, D. Colombo, F. Magni, O. Marin, P. Palestini, V. Tugnoli,
Chimica e Biochimica.
M. Stefani, N. Taddei, 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 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

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