cod. 21954

Academic year 2023/24
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: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: BIOSCIENCES

Learning objectives

- Knowledge and understanding of the chemical and structural properties of the major molecules of biological interest;
- knowledge of the fundamentals of cellular energy metabolism;
- knowledge of the fundamentals of enzymatic catalysis, its regulation, and major metabolic pathways.


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Course unit content

After a brief introduction to the basic principles of Organic Chemistry, the main molecules of biological systems will be presented: carbohydrates,
lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, and ATP as energy carrier. In the second section main subject will be General and Metabolic Biochemistry with particular emphasis on bioenergetics, red-ox biological reactions, and cell metabolism. The last part deals with the biochemistry of vision.

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.


Biochimica Essenziale
Gabriele D'Andrea
Editore: EdiSES
Learning material, assembled by the teacher, can be found at

Teaching methods

The course will be held through lectures to Students in the classroom.
Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, which will be available to students on Elly platform (

Assessment methods and criteria

The written exam of Biochemistry will deal with Structural and General Biochemistry; knowledge of the structure of the most important biomolecules, of enzymatic catalysis, bioenergetics and major metabolic pathways will contribute to the evaluation.
To produce the final grade, the Biochemistry grade will be averaged with the grade of the other two sections of the integrated course.
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

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