CHEM 750 : Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

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Course Overview

CHEM 750 (15 points)
CHEM 750 A and B (7.5 points each)
Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1
Prerequisites: No formal prerequisites but a good understanding of chemical concepts encountered at stage 3 will be assumed

CHEM 750 is a postgraduate multi-modular course that is designed to incorporate and present the diverse research interests existing in the School of Chemical Sciences and the Medical School.
The diverse nature and the free-to-choose multi-modular approach represent a significant advantage of this course. The CHEM 750 course is designed to offer students a solid working comprehension of advanced principles related to physical, organic, inorganic and medicinal chemistry.
After completing the course, students will become well equipped with extensive and well-balanced knowledge of the range of subjects that form modern chemistry – and the chance to extend that knowledge into leading-edge scientific areas. Students will develop analytical and problem-solving skills, which will prepare them to succeed in both academia and industry.
Modules offered in 2020:
Semester 1
1) Solid-state NMR Spectroscopy: Principles and Applications
2) Heterocycles
3) Practical Organic NMR Spectroscopy for Research Chemists
4) Flow Chemistry
5) Synthesis of Peptides and Peptidomimetics
Semester 2
6) Peptide Design, Engineering and Applications
7) Cancer drugs: Design, Chemistry and Mechanism of Action
8) Inorganic Rings, Chains and Polymers
9) Aqueous Radical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology

A course representative will be appointed for this modular course at the start of each semester, as arranged via Canvas.
Students are urged to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements face-to-face and/or in written form with the course convenor/lecturer and/or tutor.
Students will be asked to provide feedback on the course and individual modules by anonymous questionnaires.
Course Director: Dr Zoran Zujovic

Course Requirements

To complete this course students must enrol in CHEM 750 A and B, or CHEM 750

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and critically analyse experimental data (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of of the fields's scientific theories and methods (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Understand the significance of a related discipline in society and business (Capability 4 and 6)
  4. Communicate and explain the results of your research to a range of audiences (Capability 4 and 5)
  5. Understand the problems related to health, safety and environment (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Understand the link between the scientific theory and experimentation (Capability 1, 2 and 3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 50% Individual Coursework
Essay 50% Individual Coursework
Presentation Individual Coursework
Quizzes Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6

Assessments vary for each module. The assessment information is provided in the course overview.

Key Topics

Modules offered for CHEM 750 and CHEM 751 in 2019

Note: This is a provisional list and updated information will be available at the beginning of each semester. Some modules may be withdrawn if there are insufficient enrolments.


Solid-state NMR Spectroscopy: Principles and Applications

Since its discovery in the early 1950’s, NMR spectroscopy has mainly been associated with the study of solutions. However, more recent developments have resulted in a situation where solid-state NMR spectra can now be obtained (almost) as easily as solution spectra. There are two main advantages of solid-state NMR: (a) There is more information in solid-state spectra than in solution spectra, and (b) The method is applicable (with some variations in technique) to all types of solids so that it can be applied to a wide range of materials of practical importance. A particularly important aspect is that commercially important materials such as minerals (including zeolites, coal), wood, polymers, and foodstuffs can be investigated, as well as solid organic, inorganic and organometallic compounds. The lectures in this course will cover the background theory of the solid-state NMR of both spin ½ and quadrupolar (spin > ½) nuclei and will illustrate the applications of the technique in the various areas mentioned above.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Zoran Zujovic
Lectures: 8 lectures (Dr Zoran Zujovic)
Assessment: Assignment (20 %) and a one-hour test (80 %).


Cyclic molecules in which one or more carbon atom is replaced by a heteroatom (commonly nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur) account for well over half of all known organic compounds. Many classes of natural products, as well as a large majority of commercially important drugs, agrochemicals, reprographic materials, dyes, etc., contain heterocyclic rings. The commercial relevance of heterocyclic compounds is amply demonstrated by a recent list of best selling pharmaceuticals. In the 12 months to 2010, seven of the top ten best sellers were nitrogen heterocycles. This module will discuss the synthesis, fundamental chemistry and applications of various heterocyclic rings.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Sperry
Lectures: 8 lectures (Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Sperry)
Assessment: Two tests - (25 %) and (75 %).

Practical Organic NMR Spectroscopy for Research Chemists

The course will introduce organic research chemists some of the most important and widely applied NMR techniques in structure elucidation, stereochemical assignment and purity assessment. The aim of this course is to equip research chemists with the essential knowledge and know-how to deal with the NMR problems that they may encounter during organic chemistry research. We will discuss the information that may be obtained from different modern NMR experiments, and examine their advantages and limitations. This course will focus on application, data interpretation and problem solving. A non-mathematical approach will be taken wherever possible.
Although there is no formal prerequisites, this course builds from the “Mass Spectrometry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance” module presented in CHEM 350. An understanding of basic NMR parameters including chemical shifts, J-couplings and integrals, and interpretation of simple 1D and 2D NMR spectra will be assumed. For those who are interested in biological and protein NMR spectroscopy (CHEM 738; Semester 2), this course will provide a useful foundation to the analysis of the more complicated protein NMR spectra.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Ivanhoe Leung:
Lectures: 9 lectures (Dr Ivanhoe Leung)
Assessment: assignment (30%) and an hour test (70%)

Flow Chemistry

Flow chemistry is a highly relevant, modern synthetic technique. This module aims to introduce key concepts behind flow chemistry and its advantages and disadvantages versus batch chemistry. We will cover the variety of equipment and related technologies developed for use with flow chemistry and conclude with some real-world examples of flow in synthesis.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Benjamin Dickson/Dr Lydia Liew (ACSRC, FMHS)
Lectures: 8 lectures (Dr Benjamin Dickson/Dr Lydia Liew)
Assessment: In-class Canvas quizzes (10%), in-class seminar (30%) and a one hour test (60%).

Synthesis of Peptides and Peptidomimetics

Peptides are biologically occurring oligomers of amino acids, distinguished from proteins by their smaller size. Peptide based therapeutics now constitute a multi-billion dollar market with over 400 peptide candidates having entered clinical trials. With the growing interest in peptide and peptidomimetic therapeutics, so too has grown the importance of modern synthetic approaches to provide these valuable medicinal candidates. This module covers the basic components and structural aspects of peptides and their synthesis, placing an emphasis on modern solid phase methodologies, including:
• Amino acid chemistry, the nature of the peptide bond and peptide primary, secondary and tertiary structure.
• The synthesis of peptides, with an emphasis upon modern solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) techniques.
• Native Chemical Ligation (NCL) implemented in the total chemical synthesis of proteins such as erythropoietin (EPO).
• Strategies to modify peptides / the synthesis of peptidomimetics e.g. cyclisation, N-alkylation, glycosylation, and the implementation of techniques such as “Click” chemistry and Ring Closing Metathesis (RCM).
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Alan Cameron
Lectures: 8 Lectures (Dr Alan Cameron)
Assessment: Assignment – (30%); Test - (70%)


Peptide Design, Engineering and Applications

Peptides are an interesting class of molecules with applications in agriculture, biology, medicine and material science. Peptides have evolved in nature to take on highly specific functions, have great potency and are much smaller than recombinant proteins and antibodies. The field of therapeutic peptides is undergoing a very exciting revival owing to substantial technological progresses during the last decade. This module covers various aspects of these fascinating molecules, including:
• Design and development of antimicrobial peptides as potential treatment options against multidrug resistant (MDR) bacterial biofilms
• Introduction to the world of Cell Penetrating Peptides
• Bio-adhesive peptides as wound sealants
• Peptide based solutions for current horticultural problems in New Zealand
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Viji Sarojini
Lectures: 8 Lectures (Dr Viji Sarojini)
Assessment: Test 1 – (25%); Test 2 - (75%)

Cancer drugs: Design, Chemistry and Mechanism of Action

The course will briefly introduce the fundamentals of cancer as a genetic disease and describe the main modalities of cancer treatment. We will focus on the principles of design, chemistry and mechanisms of action of the major classes of cancer drugs that patients receive during their treatment, including:
• Drugs that target DNA synthesis, transcription, segregation and repair
• Drugs targeting metabolite and hormone signalling pathways
• Antibody approaches to tumour targeting
• Drugs targeting oncogenic signal transduction pathways (kinase inhibitors)
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr Julie Spicer (Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre)
Lectures: 8 lectures (Dr Julie Spicer, Dr Peter Choi, Dr Jiney Jose)
Assessment: Assignment (25 %) and a one-hour test (75 %).

Inorganic Rings, Chains and Polymers

Carbon based rings, chains and polymers are ubiquitous. These molecules and macromolecules make up solvents (e.g. benzene, cyclohexane, hexane) and hundreds of other products that we see and use every day (e.g. banknotes, clothing, structural materials, plastics). In contrast, the formation of rings, chains and polymers containing exclusively main-group atoms in the backbone are in their relative infancy. These require different synthetic techniques to access but can be made from earth-abundant elements and have some very interesting potential applications. This module will cover the synthesis and utility of inorganic rings, chains and polymers with an emphasis on some of the challenges and future directions in this field.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Dr. Erin Leitao
Lectures: 8 Lectures (Dr. Erin Leitao)
Assessment: Assignment (40 %) and a one hour test (60 %).

Aqueous Radical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology

Since the discovery that radicals play important roles in ageing and disease, there has been much research interest into the mechanisms involved. This course will explore the environmental and biological sources of free radicals, their reactions with cellular targets, amelioration by both cellular and dietary antioxidants, and their use in certain anticancer treatment regimes. Central to gaining insights into the action of radicals, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, has been the radiation chemistry of target molecules in aqueous solution. Oxidation and reduction reactions are able to be studied following the fast breakdown of solvent water by ionizing radiation into radical oxidants and reductants. A full description of radical reactivity is derived from consideration of redox potentials, kinetic factors, as well as the identification of transient intermediates and products. The course will include measurement of these controlling factors and their use in understanding important reactions related to health.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Professor Bob Anderson
Lectures: 8 lectures, 1 optional tutorial (Professor Bob Anderson and Dr Pooja Yadav)
Assessment: Assignment (25%) and a one hour test (75%).

Learning Resources

The specific learning resources for each module will be recommended by corresponding lecturers.

Special Requirements

The special requirements for each module will be provided by corresponding lecturers.

Workload Expectations

CHEM 750 (15 points)

CHEM 750 A and B (7.5 points each) 

Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1 

To complete this course, students must enroll in either CHEM 750 A and B or CHEM 750 

Prerequisites: No formal prerequisites but a good understanding of chemical concepts encountered at stage 3 will be assumed  

This is a modular course that is delivered during both semesters of the academic year. The course comprises topics in physical, inorganic, organic and analytical chemistry related to School research interests. Students satisfactorily completing three modules, will be awarded CHEM 750 or CHEM 750 A and B. Students satisfactorily completing an additional three modules (six in total), will be awarded CHEM 751 or CHEM 751 A and B. To satisfactorily complete a module students must achieve a minimum mark of 50% (Grade C). The best three grades are taken for the assessment of the overall grade for each paper. Students cannot sit the same module twice.   

Lecture times for individual modules will be posted on Canvas and posted around noticeboards within the School at least one week prior to the semester start.  

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.


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.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

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 11/01/2020 02:51 p.m.