cod. 08619

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

The aim of this course is to give the student the ability to acquire the basic principles of biochemistry, biology and genetics; learn and apply an evolutionary logic and perspective to interpreting the biological phenomena at different levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismic); understand the correlation between structure and function at the different organizational levels.


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Course unit content

This is an integrated course including 3 teaching modules:
1. Biochemistry
2. General Biology
3. Developmental morphology and genetics.

Full programme

A) INTRODUCTION: fundamentals of organic chemistry.
Carbohydrates. Structure and classification of monosaccharides. The glycosidic bond, disaccharides. Homopolysaccharides: starch and glycogen. Amino acids: structural properties and classification. Peptides and proteins: the peptide bond and its characteristics. Protein structure: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure. Conformation and function of proteins. Lipids: classification, structure and function of fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterol. Biological membranes: the lipid bilayer and membrane proteins. Nucleotides and nucleic acids.
Hemoglobin: structure and function. Molecular mechanism of O2 transport. Factors that change the affinity for O2.
Enzymatic catalysis. Active site, specificity. Nature of enzymes and their classification.
Free energy and spontaneity of reactions. The thermodynamics of biological reactions, ATP as an energy carrier.
Cellular metabolism. Oxidation and degradation reactions, biosynthesis reactions.
Mitochondrial bioenergetics. Coenzymes and biological oxidationreductions.
The respiratory chain: components and functions. Mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation.
The metabolism of carbohydrates. Glycolysis, energy balance and regulation. The fate of pyruvate in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The Krebs cycle. Gluconeogenesis. Glycogen metabolism. Hormonal control of glucose metabolism by adrenaline, glucagon and insulin. Lipid and protein metabolism in brief.
D) Biochemistry of vision: Composition of acqueous humor, vitreous humor, lens and cornea. Phototransduction and Visual Cycle Components.

The Nature of science and biology: methods and organizing concepts. The scientific method.
Cell Biology: Procaryotic and Eucaryotic cell.
The cell cycle and reproduction: mitosis and meiosis.
Principle of heredity: DNA, RNA, gene expression (DNA replication, transcription and translation)
Origins and evolution of life on Earth. Evolution of the cells: Procaryotic, Eucaryotic and virus

Genes, genotype and phenotype. The chromosomes: structure and
Basic concepts of development: determination and differentiation,
development patterns in Metazoa: the Drosophila.
Development of the body patterns: segmentation genes.
Genetic control of eye development and evolution of the eye and


Biochimica Essenziale
Gabriele D'Andrea
Editore: EdiSES

SOLOMON. Fondamenti di Biologia. Edises
Dispensa: Parmigiani, Palanza. Lezioni di Biologia. Santa Croce Edizioni


Suzuki DT, Griffiths AJF, Miller JH, Lewontin RC. Genetica. Principi di Analisi Formale. Zanichelli
Gilbert SF, Barresi MJF. Biologia dello sviluppo. Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Interactive class lectures. During classroom lectures the teacher illustrates and discusses the state of the art, concepts and experiments in a specific issue. Students are strongly encouraged to ask questions and insert comments.

Assessment methods and criteria

The achievement of the learning objective described above will be verified by a written test on all the topics of the three modules.
The student will then, after applying online, be expected to take a written exam on the dates of the official exam calendar. The students must obtain at least 18/30 for each module and the final mark will correspond to the arithmetic average of the score obtained in each module.
A grade of 30/30 in all 3 modules will result in the final grade of 30 cum laude.
Exam results are posted on the Esse3 website within one week from the date of the exam, and students will have one week to reject the grade. Students can review the exam by making an appointment with the professor.
Students with DSA/BSE must contact the University's Reception and Inclusion Centre (CAI) in advance and follow the CAI's instructions for any requests for personalised examinations (

Other information

The slides used to support the lectures will be uploaded weekly to the Elly platform ( The slides will be available only for the Studenta of the Course: 3044 - Ortottica ed assistenza oftalmologica (abilitante alla professione sanitaria di Ortottista ed assistente di oftalmologia)