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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Chemistry : Chemistry

Undergraduate Course: Biomacromolecules Level 11 (CHEM11043)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Chemistry CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryProteins and DNA are amongst the most sophisticated and versatile molecules on Earth. Covering the synthesis, chemistry, structure and function of biomacromolecues, this course consists of lectures, tutorials and two workshops. The course will teach how biological polymers are constructed from simple building blocks and folded into three-dimensional structures. The ability of biomacromolecules to specifically recognise other atoms and molecules, interacting and cooperating to build complexes with diverse affinities and on a range of timescales, will be discussed. Chemical complexity and functional capabilities arising from prosthetic groups, cofactors, metal ions and post-translational modifications will be described as will the ability of proteins to act, for example as molecular wires and biological catalysts.

Course description The course consists of a series of modules on the following topics: amino acids and the chemistry, folding, structure and function of proteins; RNA and DNA structures and properties and the encoding and retrieval of genetic information; protein-nucleic acid interactions as exemplars of molecular recognition; the synthesis of proteins on the ribosome, and their recombinant production and purification in the laboratory; proteins that bind metal ions, their role in living systems and bioinorganic chemistry; proteins that can be reduced or oxidised, redox potentials and cellular electrochemistry; and proteins in action as sequential catalysts in synthetic pathways of natural products.

The course emphasises how three-dimensional structure illuminates the understanding of mechanism and how "form follows function".
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Chemistry 3A (CHEM09005) AND Chemistry 3B (CHEM09006) AND Chemistry 3P Practical and Transferable Skills (CHEM09007)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Biomacromolecules Level 10 (CHEM10051)
Other requirements Must include a weighted average of Grade C or higher in all Chemistry 3 courses AND a weighted average of Grade D or higher in Chemistry 3A and Chemistry 3B, at the first attempt; or with the permission of Head of School.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts underlying the structure, function and dynamics of proteins and DNA, along with an awareness of the limitations of current understanding.
  2. Apply this knowledge and understanding to explain, using skills in molecular graphics and demonstrating originality and creativity, the key properties that equip biomacromolecules to carry out their sophisticated tasks in cells and organisms.
  3. Review current theory and practices in the study of biomacromolecules and demonstrate an ability to critically assess the robustness of proposed models and mechanisms and the extent to which they are supported or otherwise by available experimental data demonstrating an informed and critical judgement of the data supplied.
  4. Critically evaluate and understand the benefits and limitations of specialised software for simulating protein purifications, or for viewing and analysing macromolecular structures, and communicate the outcomes effectively.
  5. In workshops and small-group work, collaborate with peers in self-learning exercises and share findings and informed judgements on the production, purification and structural properties of biomacromolecules with the rest of the class.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 27 lectures plus six hours of tutorials and two three-hour workshops
KeywordsBiom (L11)
Course organiserProf Paul Barlow
Tel: (0131 6)50 4727
Course secretaryMr Craig Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 4710
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