BIOSCI 203 : Biochemistry


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Presents core areas of modern biochemistry. Emphasis is on macromolecular structure and function. Areas covered include protein structure, oxygen and carbon dioxide transport in humans and other species, metabolism in mammals, proteases and human disease, cholesterol metabolism and transport and signal transduction.

Course Overview

Biochemistry is the study of biological processes at the molecular level, and this molecular description underpins all of biology and medicine. As such, it is key to an understanding of the life sciences. BIOSCI 203 presents core areas of modern biochemistry with an emphasis on how they are best understood in the context of macromolecular structure and function. Areas covered include protein structure and folding; mechanism of enzyme catalysis; allosteric proteins and molecular machines; metabolic regulation in mammals in health and disease; proteases in human disease with a focus on Alzheimer's disease; human nutritional energy balance; and signal transduction. Students interested in biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, food science and nutrition, or any other aspect of molecular biology should consider this course.

BIOSCI 203 is a core requirement in both the Biochemistry and Cellular Biology pathway and the Cell and Molecular Biomedicine Pathway  within the Biological Sciences Major and Biomedical Science Specilisation. It is also a component of many pathways within the Biomedical Science program. BIOSCI 203 leads into our stage 3 BIOSCI papers BISOCI 353 Cellular Regulation and BIOSCI 350 Protein Structure and Function. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 101, 106 and 15 points from CHEM 110, 120

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop the ability to form a hypothesis about a biochemical question, and work out what techniques are required to test the hypothesis. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Develop the practical skills associated with biochemical research in a group-based learning environment. Use these practical skills to answer biochemical questions and communicate the answers in the form of a lab report. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Describe the four levels of protein structure, the principles of protein folding, and types of bonds and interactions that are important for protein structure. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Describe the relationship between pH, pKa and charge in relation to protein function. Be able to calculate if an amino acid is ionised at a particular pH and what effect this may have on the function of an enzyme. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe how proteins can form multimeric quaternary structures, and how this affects their function, using molecular motors, and functioning of ATP synthase as examples. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Using Alzheimer's disease as an example, describe how differential processing of a protein by enzymes can lead to major abnormalities of function within a cell. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  7. Assess critically, current biochemical literature on Alzheimer's disease to describe how current diagnostic techniques work, and which clinical trials are most likely to succeed. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  8. Describe the key pathways involved in maintenance of a cell or organisms metabolic needs, including carbohydrate metabolism, and how metabolism is altered through exercise, cancer and diabetes mellitus. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  9. Define how nutrient (energy) balance in humans is achieved, by comparing and contrasting energy metabolism during the fed state with that during fasting and starvation, cold exposure and in response to various functional foods. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  10. Define the components of signal transduction pathways that function to transfer chemical messages within and between cells. Use examples to show how signal transduction pathways can be modulated to treat human disease. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 25% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 6% Individual Coursework
Test 23% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 46% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam
Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall. 


For more information and to find contact details for the BIOSCI 203 Biology Tuākana coordinator, please see

Key Topics

Protein Structure
Enzyme action and drug discovery
Multimeric proteins
Signal Transduction

Special Requirements

Students must pass the practicals (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, test and exam) independently to pass the course overall. 
Evening Test 6.30-7.30pm

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, 66 hours of reading and thinking about the content including work on laboratory assignments, practice questions/revision quizzes, test/exam preparation. This is a minimum of 5 hours per week outside lectures and labs. 

If you choose to not attend lectures you miss out on active learning, handouts and discussions held in the lectures. In addition you will need to be doing 8.5 hrs minimum study at home to stay on track with the course. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and /exam
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

A remote version of the course can be made available to students located overseas because of border restrictions, or those with an exemption to study remotely.

Learning Resources

Lab guide is required 
Text Book: Biochemistry Concepts and Connection by Appling, Anthony-Cahill and Matthews (Pearson 2nd edition)
Lab coat and safety glasses

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.

Digital 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.

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 against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


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

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 your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: [Lectures, labs, tutorials, office hours, field trips, etc.]
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/12/2020 05:49 p.m.