cod. 07852

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
- Mariana GALLO - Ileana RAMAZZINA
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: BIOSCIENCE

Learning objectives

The course has the learning objective to provide the students with a solid knowledge and understanding of the essential principles of chemistry, the electronic structure of atom, chemical bonding in inorganic/organic molecules and the macromolecules of biological interest.
The student will be required to know and understand:
1) the main concepts of chemical reactions;
2) the functional role of biomolecules that compose the living matter;
3) the essential aspects of cellular metabolic pathways.

At the end of the course 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.


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Course unit content

Organic chemistry: functional groups and their reactivity.
Biomolecules: aminoacids and proteins; carbohydrates; lipids.
Haemoglobin and myoglobin.
Overview of metabolism: catabolism and anabolism.
Conversion of chemical energy into other forms of energy useful for the body.

Full programme

Periodic table and electron configuration of the elements. Pure and polar covalent bonds. Oxidation number. Acid-base concepts. Fundamental concepts in chemical kinetics.
Basic principles of organic chemistry. Main characteristics of the following compounds: hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, amines. Macromolecules of biological interest: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids. Enzymes and enzyme kinetics.
Myoglobin and hemoglobin. The blood and the transport and storage of oxygen. The heme group. Structure of myoglobin and hemoglobin. Cooperative binding of oxygen to hemoglobin and uncooperative binding of myoglobin. Transport of oxygen in the blood and transfer from hemoglobin to myoglobin. Allosteric modulators of hemoglobin: Bohr effect and 2,3-BPG. Fetal hemoglobin. Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Heme catabolism: neonatal jaundice.
Introduction to metabolism. Catabolism. Anabolism. Reaction Coordinate Plots. The metabolic pathways. Energy production and energy storage in the living cell. Some basic principles of bioenergetics. High energy compounds. ATP extension. Oxidized and reduced coenzymes. General aspects of metabolism regulation. General scheme of catabolism.
Cellular respiration and carbohydrate metabolism: Glycolysis and its regulation. Gluconeogenesis. Insulin and glucagon. Diabetes. Fermentation. Cori cycle. Cellular respiration: Krebs cycle and respiratory chain. ATP-synthase. Energy balance of cellular respiration.
Overview of lipids metabolism. Digestion of fats and transport of lipids in the blood. storage of triglycerides. Lipolysis. Beta-oxidation of fatty acids, energy balance. Chetonic bodies


"Biochimica essenziale" con richiami di Chimica Generale e Chimica Organica di G. D'Andrea. Editore EdiSES.

"Chimica & Biochimica" di Stefani e Taddei. Editore Zanichelli.

“Introduzione alla Biochimica di Lehninger” di David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox. Editore Zanichelli.

“I principi di Biochimica di Lehninger” di David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox. Editore Zanichelli.

"Le basi della Biochimica” di E. A. Abali, S. D. Cline, D. S. Franklin, S. M. Viselli. Editore Zanichelli.

Teaching methods

Lectures will be held on-site. Supporting material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly).

Assessment methods and criteria

Written test with open-ended and multiple-choice questions (33 questions). The time allotted for the execution of the test is 60 minutes. The final grade is notified through Esse3 platform.

Students with special educational needs (S.L.D.) may contact Centro di Accoglienza e Inclusione dell'Ateneo (

Other information