CHEM20090 Chemistry for Biology

Academic Year 2023/2024

The module is designed for students pursuing a degree in biological and biomedical sciences. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of physical and inorganic chemistry.
The physical chemistry part will cover relevant intermolecular interactions, solutions and mixtures, states of matter and phase transitions, energetics of molecular processes (including entropy, enthalpy and free energy), equilibrium in chemical reactions and molecular binding, acidity and ionization of molecules, introduction to chemical kinetics.
The inorganic chemistry part of the module will provide an introduction to steric and electronic aspects in coordination complexes, including shape, ligand properties, ligand substitution processes and electron transfer processes and implications of the above on biological process

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students will:
• Understand the major types of intermolecular interactions: hydrogen bonding, van der Waals forces, electrostatic interactions, dipoles, dispersion forces, hydrophobic interactions.
• Understand the structural attributes of homogeneous mixtures and colloids, and be able to deal with concentrations: molarity, weight and volume fractions, mole fraction; being able to write and balance chemical equations.
• Understand the structural and dynamic attributes of solids, liquids and gases, transitions between them and the effect of pressure and temperature on the transitions. Understand the kinetic theory of gases, ideal gas law and solubility of gases in liquids.
• Understand the concepts and the molecular interpretation of temperature, entropy (as amount of disorder), enthalpy, free energy and chemical potential. Understand and be able to find the equilibrium conditions for molecular systems, to predict the directions of molecular processes, estimate the energies required for molecular transformations and transport.
• Be able to apply the law of mass action for prediction of equilibrium concentrations in chemical reactions, molecular binding, etc. Understand the relationships between the equilibrium constants and free energy of reactions. Understand standard conditions for calculations of free energy and the effect of pressure and temperature on equilibrium constants.
• Understand the concepts of pH, pKa and buffer solutions and be able to utilize the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation for predictions of the effect of pH on the electrostatic charge of biomolecules.
• Be able to do the calculations of rate for unimolecular, bimolecular, trimolecular etc. reactions. Understand the concept of transition state, activation energy and Arrhenius equation and be able to perform the experimental analysis of reaction rates.
• Be able to predict the geometry of an inorganic entity
• Be able to explain the affinity between ligands and metals
• Be able to assign oxidation states to metal centers
• Be able to apply the Nernst equation to predict thermodynamic aspects of electron transfer reactions

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is composed of three components: lectures, laboratories, and tutorials.
Lectures will deliver the fundamentals of physical and inorganic chemistry relevant to biologists.
Laboratories will include four experiments illustrating the chemical principles discussed at the lectures. Students attending the laboratories are expected to be familiar with the chemical principles behind each experiment, experimental procedures, and safety measures discussed at the lectures and outlined in the laboratory manual available on the module Brightspace.
Four tutorials will review the problem-solving algorithms based on the material discussed at the lectures and include a test question at the end of each tutorial. Students attending the tutorials are expected to be familiar with the chemical principles relevant to the subject of the tutorial.
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: CHEM 00010 Introductory Chemistry; CHEM 10050 Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM20100 - Basis of Inorganic Chemistry

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Class Test: 50 min (approx.) test Week 12 n/a Graded No


Class Test: 50 min (approx.) test Week 6 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: 10 – 15 min tests at the end of tutorial classes Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Lab Report: Graded lab reports and lab performance for each lab Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



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

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The results of the tests will be discussed at subsequent lectures and tutorials. On request, demonstrators will provide feedback on laboratory reports.

Name Role
Ioanna Bampouri Tutor
Bodhayan Biswas Tutor
Ms Christine Coffey Tutor
Celine Erkey Tutor
Maria Rosa Fernandez Pison Tutor
Ms Aisling Fleming Tutor
Ms Aoife Martin Tutor
Ms Freya Martin Tutor
Mr David Mc Laughlin Tutor
Mr Oisin McCorry Tutor
Ms Viktorija Mikaite Tutor
Mr Daniel Molloy Tutor
Ms Eva Naughton Tutor
Mr Eoin O'Neill Tutor
Niall Quinn Tutor
Mr Aizuddin Sultan Tutor
Donal Whelan Tutor
Ms Eleanor Windle Tutor