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CHEM2005 The Molecules of Life

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Chemistry; Chemistry - Synthetic major sequences
This unit provides an introduction to the chemistry relevant to biological systems. Topics to be covered include the important classes of biomolecules: amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and oligonucleotides, addressing their stereochemistry, structure, synthesis, biosynthesis (including the function of selected coenzymes) and importance in living systems. The biological activity of important secondary metabolites along with their biosynthetic pathways will be highlighted. The role of metal ions in biology, with an emphasis on the fundamental transition metal chemistry relevant to the mechanisms of metalloenzymes and metal-based drugs, is also explored.
Students are able to (1) describe key knowledge and concepts about organic and inorganic chemistry relevant to biological systems; (2) critically review basic facts, principles and theories of organic and inorganic chemistry; (3) solve problems at the biology/chemistry interface; (4) critically review chemical terminology, nomenclature and conventions associated with the classes of biomolecules; (5) critically review functional groups, their reactivity and interconversion; (6) acquire skills in performing standard laboratory procedures for simple synthetic organic, inorganic and analytical chemistry; (7) use instrumentation and interpretation of spectroscopic data for structure determination of inorganic and organic compounds; and (8) produce clear written communication of results of laboratory work and reading using correct scientific style.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) final examination; (2) quizzes; and (3) laboratories. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the laboratories component.

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)
Dr Gavin Flematti
Unit rules
CHEM1001 Chemistry—Properties and Energetics and CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity
CHEM2001 Core Chemical Concepts and Techniques
CHEM3008 The Molecules of Life, CHEM2221 Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; labs: 36 hours across the semester; tutorials: 1 per week

Clayden, J. et al. Organic Chemistry, 2nd edn: Oxford University Press 2001

Dewick, P. Medicinal Natural Products, John Wiley and Sons, 1997-2008, any edition

Weller, M. et al. Inorganic Chemistry, 6th edn: Oxford University Press 2014

  • 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.