CHEM20030 Biological Molecules - Interactions and Functioning

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module covers the fundamental molecular principles of organization and functioning of biological systems and their applications in biomedical, biotechnological, pharmaceutical, food and other industries. The subjects include: molecular architecture of living matter, the driving forces of biomolecular transformations, fundamentals of biomolecular transport, structural self-organization and functioning of biomolecules, biomolecular binding, kinetics of biomolecular processes, chemical principles utilised in design of biologically active formulations.
The module is designated for students who are pursuing a carrier in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, biotechnology and other disciplines of life science.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module students will:
Know the main molecular components of biological systems and their functional role;
Understand the key interactions between atomic groups of biomolecules and their role in structural organisation and functioning of biomolecules;
Understand the molecular meaning and the role of temperature, pressure, entropy and energy in biomolecular transformations;
Have knowledge of the primary, secondary and tertiary structures of biopolymers, factors determining stability of the structures and conformational transitions in biopolymers and biomembranes;
Have knowledge of the self-organisation of lipids and other components of biomembranes;
Understand the fundamentals of biomolecular binding including binding affinities, energetics, effects of cooperatively and environmental conditions;
Understand the fundamental principles, energetics and functioning of biomolecular transport systems;
Understand the molecular principles of osmotic effects and transport of water;
Being able to apply the concepts of transition state, activation energies reaction rate laws and Michaelis-Menten equation for analysis of kinetics of molecular processes including enzyme reactions.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module contains three components, lectures, tutorials, and laboratories.
The lectures focus on the fundamentals and theoretical aspects of the chemical/molecular principles of the functioning of biological molecules.
The tutorials comprise problem-solving sessions and active/task-based group work with student presentations.
Laboratory sessions combine learning of practical la skills with the case-based study of subjects of high importance. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Entry to this module requires completion any one of the modules listed below, or their equivalent covering basic concepts of molecular structures and processes:
CHEM00010, 'CHEM00020, CHEM10010, CHEM10030, CHEM10040, CHEM10050, CHEM10070, CHEM10080, CHEM10090, CHEM10100, CHEM20090, BIOC00010, BMOL10030, CHEN10010

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

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?

Review of results of tutorial tests at subsequent tutorials. Feedback individually to students on laboratory reports and tutorial tests from demonstrators and tutors.

The Molecules of Life: Physical and Chemical Principles
John Kuriyan, Boyana Konforti , David Wemmer

C.K. Mathews, K.E. van Holde and K.G. Ahern

Chemistry: Human Activity, Chemical Reactivity
P. Mahaffy, R. Tasker, B. Bucat, J. C. Kotz, G. C. Weaver, P.M. Treichel, J.E. McMurry

Chemical Principles
S.S. Zumdahl
Name Role
Dr Demetra Achilleos Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Aisling Fleming Tutor
Mr Oisin McCorry Tutor
Mr Eoin O'Neill Tutor
Smit Patel Tutor
Emily Sheridan Tutor
Mr Qiwei Wang Tutor
Ms Eleanor Windle Tutor