BIOSCI 203 : Biochemistry
2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)
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; molecular mechanisms 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 Specialisation. It is also a component of many pathways within the Biomedical Science program. BIOSCI 203 leads into our Stage 3 BIOSCI papers BIOSCI 353: Cellular Regulation and BIOSCI 350: Protein Structure and Function.
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|
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
|Final Exam||46%||Individual Examination|
|Assessment Type||Learning Outcome Addressed|
Students must pass the practical (laboratories) and the theory (quizzes, test and exam) components 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 Tuākana programme offers tutorials for BIOSCI 203.
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, and a total of 66 hours of independent reading and thinking about the content, including work on laboratory assignments, practice questions/revision quizzes, test/exam preparation. This is a minimum of 5.5 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 a minimum of 8.5 hrs independent study to stay on track with the course.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 http://disability.auckland.ac.nz
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 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.
This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.
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 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.
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.