CHEM 750A/B : Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1


2023 Semester Two (1235) / 2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

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Course Overview

Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1

CHEM 750 A and B 15 points (7.5 points each)

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 in the same module twice.
Lecture times for individual modules will be posted on Canvas at least one week prior to the semester's start.
In the event of a change to a higher alert level, all lectures will be given as pre-recordings from 2020 and supplemented by live Zoom sessions in the original timetable slot. The scheduled tests will be conducted online test and will be available for 24 hours, starting at the original scheduled date and time.
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 through anonymous questionnaires.

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 evaluate experimental data (Capability 2 and 3)
  2. Be able to critically discuss problems related to health, safety and environment (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Research, analyse and communicate the results of your research to a range of audiences (Capability 4 and 6)
  4. Be able to establish the link between the scientific theory and experimentation (Capability 4 and 5)
  5. Identify and analyse the significance of a related discipline in society and business (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Understand and explain the link between the scientific theory and experimentation (Capability 1, 2 and 3)


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

This is a general list of assessments. The specified assessments for each of the eight modules are provided in the Key Topics section.


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

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of chemical sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

Modules offered for CHEM 750 and CHEM 751 in 2023
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 1950s, 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, and 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
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
Assessment: Two tests - (25 %) and (75 %).

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: Dr Benjamin Dickson (ACSRC, FMHS), Dr Lydia Liew (ACSRC, FMHS)
Lectures: 8 lectures
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 that have 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 on 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. cyclization, 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
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 progress 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
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-signaling pathways
• Antibody approaches to tumor targeting
• Drugs targeting oncogenic signal transduction pathways (kinase inhibitors)
Coordinator/Lecturer: (Dr Julie Spicer, Dr Peter Choi, Dr Jiney Jose)
Lectures: 8 lectures
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 is 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
Assessment: Assignment (40 %) and a one-hour test (60 %).

Aqueous Radical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology
Since the discovery that radicals play important roles in aging and disease, there has been much research interest in 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 an 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 the consideration of redox potentials, and kinetic factors, as well as the identification of transient intermediates and products. The course will include the 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
Assessment: Assignment (25%) and a one-hour test (75%).

Structure and Bonding in Inorganic Materials
The crystal structure and bonding situation are essential factors in understanding the structure-properties relationships in materials, which are significant to the future application of novel materials. This module will discuss the basics in understanding crystalline materials in real space and reciprocal space, resulting in an understanding of the electronic band structure of crystalline materials. As part of this module, the following aspects will be covered:
Basic definitions in the solid: Lattice, Bravais lattices, symmetry operations, point groups, space groups, Pauling rules, lattice energy, Madelung constant, electrostatic valence principle
Elementary band theory of solids: the nearly-free electron model, particle in a one and three-dimensional box, electronic absorption spectra of solids, Hückel approximation for molecules, Fermi level.
The reciprocal lattice: the Brillouin zone, orbitals and bands in 1D solids, 2D and 3D structures, lattice distortions.
Electronic conductivity in solids, Krogman’s salt: a quasi one-dimensional material.
Coordinator/Lecturer: Professor Tilo Söhnel
Lectures: 8 lectures, 1 optional tutorial
Assessment: Assignment (40%) and a one hour test (60%).

Special Requirements

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

Workload Expectations

CHEM 751 (15 points)

CHEM 751 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 in the same module twice.

Lecture times for individual modules will be posted on Canvas at least one week prior to the semester's start.

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.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including seminars/tutorials to complete/receive credit for components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars/tutorials will be available as recordings.

The course will not include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.

Attendance on campus is required for the test.

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


Attendance is expected at scheduled online activities including seminars/tutorials to complete/receive credit for components of the course.

The course will include live online events including gr tutorials/lectures and these will be recorded.

Attendance on campus is not required for the test.

Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement and be released progressively throughout the course.

This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

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.

Learning resources will be given in a Talis reading list. Each module will have a specific reading list.

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.

The lecturers will make changes where appropriate, which will be included in the specific information regarding each module in this course.

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.

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

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 31/10/2022 09:28 a.m.