CHEM40290 Special topics in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (level 4)

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module is comprised of three parts which aim to introduce the students to current topics in Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. The module will give an introduction to glycobiology and carbohydrate chemistry with a close relation to active research areas at UCD and in Ireland, both biological, synthetical, and analytical aspects will be covered. The possibilities to use glycoconjugates and carbohydrate, both natural and synthetically prepared, as drugs and as vaccines will be covered as well as the importance of understanding protein glycosylation in the emerging biopharmaceutical area. The second part covers the principles of proteins engineering and design. The main focus will be the use of non-natural amino acids to introduce bio-orthogonal reactive groups into proteins for site-specific modifications. Case studies on various techniques available (PEGylation, HESylation, etc) to generate therapeutic proteins with longer half-lives will be presented. An introduction in Molecular Biology and protein folding and architecture will be part of this course. In the third part, the students will be introduced to the concept of the development and application of biocatalysts in organic chemistry.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mode of delivery, assessment and content of the module may be subject to change.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module, students will be expected to be able to discuss and explain parallelisms between chemical reactions and enzymatic ones, protein production, purification and immobilization techniques, they will have an uderstanding of how mutagenesis can be applied to investigate enzymes (mechanism and substrate recognition). Further, the students will be expected to be able to apply basic and advanced concepts in protein engineering and design and should be able to explain the use of different bio-orthogonal chemical reactions for protein modifications. The students will learn about the different types of glycoconjugates and carbohydrates that are found in nature, and their synthesis, structure and biological function. They will also understand the principles of protein architecture and the principles behind intervening in some of the biological processes involving carbohydrate-protein interactions and, accordingly, have the ability to recognize the rationale behind the design of drug and vaccine candidates.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
lectures; problem solving 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

This module is intended for students in the final year of an Honours degree in either Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology or Chemistry programs or post graduate students in a Chemical discipline. Other students wishing to take this module must have a comparable background in chemistry and must consult the School.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM40810 - Topics in MCCB, taught MSc

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
Summer Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Eoghan McGarrigle Lecturer / Co-Lecturer