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Organic and Biological Chemistry


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Paul King
  • Assessment: three 30-minute multiple-choice tests (10% each) and three homework tests (15%, 15% and 40%)

Module description

This is the second module in a two-module sequence at Level 4 designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of the foundational chemical principles required by biomedical scientists and molecular biologists. By applying the knowledge gained in General Chemistry, you will come to understand the chemical/biochemical properties of the key 'molecules of life': carbohydrates, nucleic acids, proteins and water.

Indicative syllabus

  • Structure and physical properties of the organic molecules: hydrocarbons, alcohols, thiols, ketones and aldehydes, amines, acids and its derivatives
  • Stereochemistry: chirality, isomers, enantiomers
  • Common chemical reactions of organic molecules
  • Structure and physical properties of the main biomolecules: lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, amino acids and proteins
  • Common chemical reactions involving biomolecules, with a focus on redox, hydrolysis, and condensation reactions

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain how the chemical properties of organic functional groups influence the reactivity, structure, and functioning of biomolecules (particularly amino acids, proteins, sugars, lipids and nucleic acids)
  • describe the molecular composition of each major class of biomolecule (carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids) and give brief accounts of (i) the chemical reactions that give rise to these polymers and (ii) the chemical reactions they are subjected to that lead to their degradation
  • discuss how the structural features of a biomolecule is influenced by the extent of interaction between water and different parts of that molecule.