CHY3007 : Chemical Biology

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Eimer Tuite
  • Owning School:
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The module aims to provide students with an overview of aspects of chemical biology in a manner that is cross-disciplinary and provides a thorough understanding of: catalysis in the context of biological reactions; the roles of cofactors and metal ions in biomolecule structure and function; the biological chemistry of selected proteins; the application of biomimetic chemistry to elucidate the details of the biological reactions; biophysical techniques particularly in the context of nucleic acids

Outline Of Syllabus

Basic Principles of Chemical Biology
Professor BT Golding

1 Overview of the role of amino acid side-chains, metal ions and coenzymes in catalysis
2 Characteristics of enzymes: stability, substrate specificity, stereospecificity, catalytic groups, factors affecting catalysis, enzyme kinetics
3 Model systems for enzymes (probing proximity effects, solvation, strain), acid-base and nucleophilic catalysis
4 Overview of selected enzyme mechanisms including those with no cofactor/metal (e.g. glutathione transferases)

Action of Selected Cofactors
Professor BT Golding

5 Redox cofactors
6 Small molecule activation by non-metallic cofactors
7 Radical enzymes

Metalloproteins Exemplified by Nitrogenase
Professor RA Henderson

8 The functions of metal sites in proteins. Metal centres and metal transport/storage sites. Substrate activation by the entire active site.
9-10 Nitrogen fixation

Chemical Biology of Dioxygen
Professor RA Henderson

11 How biology uses metal centres in proteins to control the reactivity of dioxygen
12 Metabolism and O2: removing toxic O2- (superoxide dismutase) and O22- (peroxidases and catalases)
13 Activation of saturated hydrocarbons by cytochrome P450
14 Methane monooxygenase

Biophysical Chemistry and Nucleic Acids
Dr EM Tuite

15 Weak forces in biochemistry
16 Structure of DNA
17 Biological role of DNA
18 Binding to DNA
19-20 Recombinant DNA and cloning
21 Sequencing and electrophoresis

Revision Seminars

22 BTG topics
23 RAH topics
24 EMT topics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion162:0062:00This will augment and consolidate the student's understanding of the lecture material
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:3012:00Revision for end of semester examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00End of semester examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CHY8829Chemical Biology
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are used to instil in students the subject matter corresponding to the Course Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes.
Private study, partly guided by the teachers of the course, will augment and consolidate the student's understanding of the lecture material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A100N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination will test the extent to which students have acquired the skills defined.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.