Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit involves the study of enzymes, primary and secondary metabolism and natural products chemistry from an organic chemist's perspective. Topics include enzymes as catalytic proteins; how enzymes enhance reaction rate and achieve substrate and product (stereo)selectivity; mode of action and inhibition, enzymes as reagents for synthesis; primary metabolism including photosynthesis, the Calvin cycle, glycolysis, fermentation, the citric acid (Krebs) cycle and amino acid biosynthesis; secondary metabolism including building blocks and mechanisms of construction; biosynthetic pathways to natural products, the acetate pathway (fatty acids and polyketides); the shikimate pathway; terpenes from the mevalonate and non-mevalonate pathways; alkaloids, peptides, proteins and carbohydrates; bioactive natural products, pharmaceuticals, medicinal compounds; production and manipulation of biosynthetic pathways; nutriceuticals, agrochemicals; chemical ecology, pheromones, defence substances, elicitors; and marine natural products.

6 points

Students learn that the chemistry underlying life is complex but that this complexity can be understood using the tools and rules that apply to synthetic chemistry. Synthetic laboratory skills are further honed.


This comprises a mid-semester examination (35 per cent), end-of-semester examination (35 per cent) and laboratory work (30 per cent).

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Matthew Piggott and Dr Scott Stewart
Unit rules
CHEM2210 Structure Determination and Physical Chemistry.
CHEM2221 Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
Advisable prior study
CHEM2211 Synthetic and Materials Chemistry
Contact hours
lectures: 26 x 1 hour
labs: 36 hours, as per timetable

Clayden, J. et al. Organic Chemistry, 2nd edn: Oxford University Press 2012


Dewick, P. Medicinal Natural Products: A Biosynthetic Approach: John Wiley & Sons Ltd 2009

Mann, J. Chemical Aspects of Biosynthesis: Oxford University Press 1994

Dobson, C. M. et al. Foundations of Chemical Biology: Oxford University Press 2001

  • 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.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.