Biochemistry (BIO200)

The course teaches about the chemistry that happens inside organisms, like us. The structure and function of components, their interactions, and the variability of chemical reactions that maintain a cell alive are described. The experimental tools to make the chemistry of life visible are presented and explained.

Course description for study year 2023-2024


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The course introduces the structure of macromolecules and the biochemistry for their synthesis and degradation and cellular metabolism and function. Topics that address protein function include enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways. The interconnection of regulated networks, the genetic and pharmacological manipulation of enzymes and pathways, and the development and progression of some human diseases are explained. Red blood cells, the muscle, the liver, the brain, and the tissues' metabolic complexity are analyzed. General problem-solving and analytical skills applicable to the life sciences are addressed.

Learning outcome

Students can explain the chemical and structural properties of carbon-based organic molecules and determine the factors driving the equilibrium, directionality, and spontaneity of biochemical reactions and the flow of matter and energy in and between living systems.

The 20 natural amino acids and basic building blocks of protein structure and the forces regulating protein folding are known to make predictions about the effect of mutations.

They can apply PyMOL for protein structure representation and navigation. The interaction between enzyme and substrate and the fundamental principles of Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics and mutation design can be applied to predict the mode of action and the impact of substrates and inhibitors on enzyme kinetics.

The chemical and physical properties of fatty acids and their assembly into structural lipids and membranes, as well as interactions between proteins and membranes, can be described. The function of glucose and the formation of complex and branched carbohydrates can be explained, as well as the central importance and regulation of glycolysis and fermentation and how glycolytic intermediates impact oxygen binding and protect red blood cells.

Students can foresee the biochemical impact of linear and branched fermentation pathways and metabolic switches in bacteria exposed to changes in their environments and understand the complexity of aerobic and anaerobic respiration and its impact on human microbiota and health. The production of reduced electron carriers in the citric acid cycle and the production of ATP by oxidative phosphorylation can be linked to the entry of electrons in the electron transport chain, and the yield of ATP synthesis can be calculated by substrate-level phosphorylation and by oxidative phosphorylation. Students explain the role of allosteric enzymes in controlling the flux of intermediates in a pathway and determine how transient covalent modification affects enzymes that are controlling key steps in metabolic pathways and explain the hormonal regulation of metabolic pathways.

They can predict how changes in blood glucose levels affect the biochemical and hormonal regulations of metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, and glycogen degradation. Students can identify the major energetic pathways operating in human cells, describe the response of the liver to metabolic perturbations, and recall the physiological changes that occur during fasting and starvation. They can describe why the brain is a metabolically different tissue and identify the primary metabolic regulatory hormones that operate in humans and their main functions in response of the brain to hypoglycemia and hypoxia. Students can describe the metabolic adaptations of muscle tissue to generate ATP for mobility, differentiate cardiac and skeletal muscle metabolism, and explain how the body and muscles adapt to physical challenges.

They understand the synthesis, recycling, and degradation of nucleotides, the steps of the urea cycle, and the metabolic basis and treatment of gout. Knowledge of processing complex and simple dietary carbohydrates and how biochemical transformations of the simple sugars feed the glycolytic pathway allows them to differentiate the different steps of the pentose phosphate pathway. They can explain how catalysis leads to fatty acids with an even number of carbons, predict the energy inputs and yield of fatty acid anabolism and catabolism, and relate genetic deficiencies in fatty acid metabolism to human diseases. Students can describe the relationships between metabolic and cell signaling pathways in cancer pathogenesis and the role of redox balance in cell proliferation.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

KJE150 General Chemistry, KJE200 Organic Chemistry 1


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 4 Hours Letter grades None permitted

Coursework requirements

Mandatory activity
Five mandatory questionnaires must be approved for the student to be admitted to the exam.

Course teacher(s)

Head of Department:

Ingunn Westvik Jolma

Course coordinator:

Lutz Andreas Eichacker

Method of work

4 hours of lectures weekly for 14 weeks.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Biochemistry (BBI150_1) 10
Biochemistry (BIK110_1) 10
Biochemistry and biotechnology (BIK110_2) 10

Open for

Biological Chemistry - Biotechnology - Bachelor's Degree Programme Chemistry and Environmental Engineering - Bachelor in Engineering Biological Chemistry - Master of Science Degree Programme Environmental Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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