CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Genetics; Molecular Life Sciences; Biochemistry of Nutrition major sequences
  • Level 1 option in the Pharmacology major sequence
  • Level 1 elective
Chemistry underpins life. This unit takes you from the small, ionic molecules you have seen in earlier chemistry units, through an introduction to important concepts from organic chemistry, to the macromolecules—DNA, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates—that organise and maintain our existence. The point of view also changes as you progress, from individual reactions to metabolic pathways. The chemistry and structure of membranes and the way in which they affect cell functions are discussed. Protein chemistry describes the structure and role of proteins in the cell. Energy transduction deals with the concept of biochemical energy, and the role of proteins in storing and using energy within the cell.
Students are able to (1) understand principles and concepts related to (a) molecular geometry and stereochemistry; (b) nomenclature of organic molecules; (c) structure, properties and elementary reactions of common classes of organic molecules; (d) chemistry of molecules of biological relevance; (e) molecular architecture of the cell; and (f) protein chemistry and storage and use of energy in cells; (2) acquire basic practical skills in (a) basic experimental techniques in physical chemistry; (b) demonstration, manipulation and use of basic chemicals and standard laboratory apparatus (c) recording and analysis of experimental measurements and procedures; and (3) gain scientific writing communication skills through preparation of written laboratory exercises, and research skills through involvement in practical class experimentation.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) online quizzes; (2) laboratory work; and (3) an end-of-semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Liz Quail and Dr Dino Spagnoli
Unit rules
ATAR Chemistry, WACE Chemistry 3A/3B or TEE Chemistry or CHEM1003 Introductory Chemistry or equivalent
Contact hours
lectures: 3 hours per week; labs: 4 x 3 hours (unsatisfactory attendance and/or performance at the laboratory sessions leads to a laboratory mark of zero)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.