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Unit of study_

CHEM3121: Chemical Biology

The importance of chemistry to understand the inner workings of biology has led to the emergence of the field of chemical biology. In recent years, the development of cutting-edge synthetic methods, as well as analytical and imaging technologies, have underpinned advances in drug discovery, diagnostics, genome sequencing and biocatalysis. In this unit, you will learn how chemical structure and reactivity underpins the function of all nature's biomolecules, from the enzymes that enable chemical reactions to occur inside cells, to the DNA featuring chemical modifications that affect how the genetic code is read. You will also learn how the development and application of modern synthetic chemistry can be used to generate designer biomolecules to perturb, manipulate and visualise cellular processes. Key examples include how we can synthesise an entire protein using synthetic chemistry alone, and how we can use fluorescent dyes to observe what is happening in live cells as a result of disease. You will gain insight into the rapidly advancing field of chemical biology, and how new chemistry-based technologies are being used to solve major problems in biology and medicine.

Code CHEM3121
Academic unit Chemistry Academic Operations
Credit points 6
[(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2524 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916 or CHEM2924)] or (CHEM2521 or CHEM2921 or CHEM2991)
CHEM3110 or CHEM3910 or CHEM3921

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain the molecular detail for reactions and interactions that occur in biology and discuss the key methods used to synthesise and chemically modify biological molecules ​
  • LO2. ​Apply your knowledge of biological molecules to recognise how the roles and functions of these molecules are determined by their underlying chemical structure
  • LO3. Interpret biological experimental data by applying fundamental chemical principles ​
  • LO4. ​Evaluate the chemical basis of modern experimental techniques that answer important questions in biology and medicine. ​
  • LO5. Carry out experimental work safely and competently in a chemical laboratory​
  • LO6. ​Develop skills to work collaboratively in responsible data collection, analysis and communication and advance chemical enquiry.​
  • LO7. ​Evaluate and interpret scientific information and experimental data and judge their reliability and significance
  • LO8. ​Communicate scientific information and laboratory findings appropriately both orally and through written work.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.