BIOSCI 106 : Foundations of Biochemistry


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to the core elements of biochemistry, investigating biological processes at the chemical and molecular level. Key themes include the molecular structure of proteins, enzyme kinetics, biochemical energetics, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, nutrition, cell signalling, vision and aspects of plant biochemistry including world food production. These themes provide a framework for discussion of mechanisms underpinning human disease including diabetes and obesity, antibiotic resistance, drug development and plant medicinals.

Course Overview

Haere mai and welcome to BIOSCI106! 
Our course will help you to understand the complex living world around us and the biological processes happening inside of us, using the language of chemistry. Life is really just a series of chemical reactions, that first emerged on primordial earth 4 billion years ago and are intimately connected to the birth of life on this planet, predating the emergence of cells and organisms. The modern study of biochemistry involves an amazingly broad set of disciplines sharing concepts with organic and physical chemistry, biophysics, medical science, nutrition and food science, microbiology, physiology, cell biology and genetics.  
In this course we focus on the structures and interactions of biomolecules that define the biological processes of life, and we will provide you with a grounding in the basic, universal concepts that will facilitate your future learning in biochemistry and provide an excellent grounding for a deeper understanding of biological processes across all biology subjects. 
This course will interest anyone with a genuine curiosity in the chemistry and cellular processes that support all of life and is a key course in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology pathway for both the BIOSCI and BIOMED majors. It leads directly on to Stage 2 papers in biochemistry including the core paper BIOSCI203, and will support your understanding of molecular biology subjects. 
Biochemistry underpins many research initiatives in New Zealand including biomedical research to develop new medical treatments, and studies that support our agricultural economy, contributing to developments in plant and animal sciences, and also to our understanding of the environment and sustainability. We hope to spark a little passion in all of you for the molecules of life and the concepts that govern all aspects of biology in the universe!  

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify, explain and evaluate selected fundamental, universal concepts that drive molecular interactions and processes in biological systems. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Identify and describe core chemistry concepts, the role of biological catalysts and bioenergetics that are fundamental for synthesis of biomolecules and processes in living system. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Define and describe the synthesis and role of lipids and adipose tissue in biological systems and disease. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Explain and evaluate the role of nutrients in common biochemical pathways and disease; the relationship between bacteria, their host and development of antibiotic resistance. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Identify and describe how cells recognise and respond to changes in their environment, as well as the mechanisms of signal transduction and the role of signal transduction in disease and drug design. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Use and apply scientific practical skills in a safe and effective manner, and be able to critically evaluate, interpret and communicate experimental results. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  7. Develop and demonstrate the ability to work skillfully in a collaborative setting, communicating effectively to present scientific information in an articulate and rational way. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 12% Individual Coursework
Laboratories 28% Group & Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam

Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (online assignments, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

The School of Biological Sciences has an active Tuākana programme. This course will have a Tuākana tutor and tutorials will be held weekly.
You can read more about Tuākana here :

Key Topics

Module 1: Chemistry of Life - the basic concepts of chemistry and universal rules that define the biology of life.
Module 2: Catalysing Life - the concepts underpinning biological catalysis that drive biological processes.
Module 3: Energetics of Life - the bioenergetic principles linking life's origins with all contemporary biological lifeforms.
Module 4: Lipids, metabolism and obesity - the role of water-insoluble molecules in biological processes and in medical conditions.
Module 5:  Micronutrients and antibiotics - the ubiquitous role of vitamins in biology and the interplay between host, pathogen, and medical interventions.
Module 6: Signal Transduction - the key concepts underpinning how molecules and cells "talk" to each other.

Special Requirements

You are required to attend an evening test, the date and time for the test is published on the BIOSCI 106 Canvas page.

Students are required to supply and wear a lab coat and safety glasses while in the teaching lab.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures per week & 3 hours of labs per fortnight, while the remaining ~100 hours will be spent on reading and thinking about the content, assignments, practice questions,  and, test/exam preparation. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be taught on campus and available as recordings.

The course will not include live online events.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable. 

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The BIOSCI 106 Course book (including a Lecture Guide and Laboratory guide) can be purchased from Ubiq, the university bookstore. Both are also available in Canvas in electronic format. You are required to bring the relevant pages to each laboratory section.

Recommended text book:  Appling et al., (2019) Biochemistry, Concepts and Connections, Global Edition eBook (2e)

Additional learning resources will be provided in Canvas for each module or topic. 

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Staff welcome feedback on the course throughout the semester, including the SET evaluations. Please contact your course coordinator or student representative at any time with your feedback.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

You are welcome to discuss your learning needs with the BIOSCI 106 course coordinator, Julie McIntosh (; 09 923 4023).

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.


Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2023 10:50 a.m.