CHEM10010 Introduction to the Chemistry of Biomolecules

Academic Year 2022/2023

The module initially covers the simple chemical functional groups that are found in bio-molecules, (alkane, alkene, alcohol amine, carboxylic acid, ester, amide), their systematic naming and some of their common reactions (acid/base, oxidation/reduction, condensation/hydrolysis). Then the focus will switch to the common bio-molecules themselves (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, DNA/RNA) with a description of their structure, how they are formed and their reactions with water. Later parts of the module will deal with how and why these chemical reactions occur in terms of their energetics and rates. Finally the acidity of certain of these molecules will be discussed. Students should note that they must achieve a minimum of 40% in the practical component of this Module in order to pass the module as a whole.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the module the student will be able to draw the structures of simple compounds from their systematic name and name compounds from their structures; identify the reaction products from simple chemical reactions (acid/base, oxidation/reduction, condensation/hydrolysis). They will also be able to recognise and discuss the structures of the common bio-molecules (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, DNA/RNA) and know how they are formed in Nature and how they are broken down by reaction with water. They will also be able to analyse the energetics and rates of such reactions, especially the hydrolysis and acid/base reactions.

Indicative Module Content:

Basic Organic Chemistry: Structures and Reactions
Key Biological Molecules: Fats, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Nucleic Acids
Basic Physical Chemistry: Why Biological Reactions Happen

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning










Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The key approaches to teaching and learning are through the delivery of lectures, completion of tutorials and laboratories 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Leaving Certificate Chemistry Grade C Hons or Introductory Chemistry (CHEM00020 or CHEM00010)

Learning Exclusions:

CHEM10030, CHEM10050, CHEM10060, CHEM10070, CHEM10090

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM10030 - Chemistry for Engineers, CHEM10050 - Basis of Organic & Biol Chem, CHEM10060 - Phys & Inorg Chem, CHEM10070 - General & Physical Chemistry, CHEM10090 - Organic Chemistry (Med)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of Semester Exam 1 hour End of Trimester Exam Yes Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Lab Report: Assessment based on laboratory practice, reports, samples and data. A minimum of 40% must be obtained in this component in order to pass the module as a whole. Throughout the Trimester n/a Other Yes


Examination: Mid - Term Examination (1hr) Week 6 Yes Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Class Test: Test held as part of tutorials (5 tutorials) Throughout the Trimester n/a Other No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on Tutorial homework and tests is built into Tutorial classes Mid-Term Test class feedback via the lectures and individually to students Practicals Feedback is individually to students fortnightly during Lab classes

Name Role
Assoc Professor Michael Casey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Aniello Palma Lecturer / Co-Lecturer