Course Description

Course Name

The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.

Overview

An introduction to the concepts of chemistry underlying important processes in biology and human health, including chemical bonding, energetics, kinetics, equilibria and solubility, properties of water and solutions, acids, bases, complexation and electron transfer, mechanisms of organic reactions and properties of amino acids and carbohydrates.

CHEM 191 aims to instil a fundamental knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity, with particular focus on concepts which provide an understanding of why chemical reactions proceed and how this understanding may be applied to the chemical processes in biological systems.

CHEM 191 is a required part of the Health Sciences First Year programme at Otago and is a prerequisite paper for a number of other science courses.

CHEM 191 Semester 1: It provides an introduction to concepts influencing chemical reactions in biological systems including

  • Concepts of Chemical Bonding
  • Thermodynamics/energetics of biological systems
  • Properties of water
  • Reaction rates and chemical equilibria
  • Metals in biology - electron transfer, complexation
  • Organic/carbon-based compounds - stereochemistry, reaction mechanisms, functional groups, polymers
  • Biological molecules - carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleic acids, nucleic acids, proteins/enzymes

Course Structure
Provides an introduction to concepts influencing chemical reactions including:
- Concepts of chemical bonding
- Thermodynamics and Equilibria
- Acid-Base and Electron Transfer Reactions - roles of metal ions in biology
- Reaction rates
- Organic/carbon-based compounds - stereochemistry, reaction mechanisms, functional groups, polymers
- Biological molecules - saccharides, amino acids, nucleic acids, proteins/enzymes

Learning Outcomes
- Apply an understanding of chemical structures and processes to biological systems
- Write chemical equations to describe reactions
- Use knowledge of chemical bonding and reaction mechanisms to predict and rationalise the outcome of chemical reactions
- Use mathematical procedures to analyse data and solve chemistry problems
- Safely use appropriate apparatus to carry out chemistry reactions in the laboratory

*Course content subject to change