First Cycle Degree


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First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

At the end of the course the students should demonstrate the understanding of the overall rational of metabolism, of the structure and function of biological macromolecules and of the mechanisms that allow chemical reactions in living organisms, their regulation and coordination. In detail, the student should be able to:
1) describe the function and structure of biological macromolecules and of relevant molecules of metabolism (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
2) write the chemical structure of relevant mono- and disaccarhydes, amino acids and nulceotides; of the intermediates of the main metabolic pathways; of relevant cofactors and prostetic groups (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
3) describe the main metabolic pathways and explain the chemical rational of metabolism (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
4) write the mechanism of enzymatic reactions described during the course (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
5) identify relationships in the mechanism of action of different enzymes and establish connections among metabolic pathways (APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
4) explain the topics the course effectively with a language that uses appropriate scientific terminology (COMMUNICATION AND LEARNING SKILLS)


Knowledge of General and Organic Chemistry and of Biology are required

Course contents summary

Structure and function of biological macromolecules.
Overall rational of metabolism.
Metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids.
Principles of protein and nucleic acids metabolism.

Course contents

Principles of living organisms.
Molecular and macromolecular components of cells.
Structure, dynamics and function of proteins.
Myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Allostery and allosteric models.
Enzymes and coenzymes.
Mechanisms of catalysis, inhibition and regulation.
Lipids and biological membranes.
Principles of metabolism and bioenergetics.
Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and their regulation.
Degradation and synthesis of glycogen.
Degradation and synthesis of fatty acids.
Ketone bodies.
Krebs cycle.
Oxidative phosphorylation and synthesis of ATP.
Pentose phosphate pathway
Degradation and synthesis of amino acids, urea cycle.
Degradation and synthesis of purines and pyrimidines.

Recommended readings

Nelson e Cox
Appling, Anthony-Cahill e Mathews
BIOCHIMICA: Molecole e Metabolismo
All the suggested textbooks have an original English version.

Teaching methods

The teaching activities will be carried out in the form of in-person lectures, with classroom exercises. Alternative online lectures will depend on decisions from the University.
Lessons will be integrated with classroom exercises.
The teaching activities will be carried out through lectures with the help of slides that will be made available weekly to the students on the Elly website.
Digital content will be available to students (video recording of lessons or other audio-video support material).

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is written, followed by an oral interview. The examination will be carried out in person, if allowed by the regulations for the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic. Otherwise, the remote examination will be carried out following the same procedure.
The exam will cover all the topics of the program. The written test consists of 3 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. The questions require schematic answers aimed at clarifying the candidate's knowledge of the enzymatic reaction mechanisms, the reactions of metabolic pathways and her/his ability to solve a biochemical problem. The oral test focuses on the discussion of the written test and questions about topics not covered in the written exam. The final mark (on a 18-30 scale) is given by the overall evaluation of the two written and oral tests and the candidate's ability to present biochemical topics with appropriateness of language, ability to synthesize and ability to insert the topics covered in the general framework of metabolism.

Students diagnosed with specific learning disorders (SLD), certified in accordance with law No. 170/2010, will be able to take the exams in the forms required by law.