BIOCHEM 3125 - Advanced Molecular Biology IIIA (Biochemistry)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course aims to extend the discussions of protein structure and function beyond Biochemistry Level II courses to gain a better understanding of the essential processes of molecular biology. Two principle themes are covered. 1. Protein Structure and Function: topics include structure and function of different classes of proteins, protein folding, targeted protein degradation, development of new therapies, molecular interactions and recognition. 2. Control of Gene Expression: topics include genetic circuits and synthetic biology; chromatin structure and remodelling during transcription; recruitment and assembly of transcription factors and the RNA polymerase complex; manipulating gene expression using "designer genes" and synthetic transcription factors; eukaryote mRNA synthesis, processing, modification, stability and translation, and manipulation of these processes to effect selective gene expression. This course combines lectures and tutorials from Molecular and Structural Biology III with molecular biology focussed laboratory placements in professional research laboratories or practical exercises in the first six weeks of the semester. The final six weeks include specialised Problem Based Learning (PBL) exercises designed to provide a perspective of how cutting edge biochemical principles and techniques are applied to major research questions in molecular biology. The importance of cross disciplinary approaches in modern biomedical research will be illustrated.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 3125
    Course Advanced Molecular Biology IIIA (Biochemistry)
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 14 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites BIOCHEM 2510, BIOCHEM 2520, BIOCHEM 2504 & BIOCHEM 2505
    Incompatible BIOCHEM 3000 & BIOCHEM 3230
    Restrictions Available to BSc(MolBiol) students only
    Assessment Exam on lecture material, practical reports/PBL & online assessments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Tony Fratini

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understanding aspects of protein structure and function including protein folding, degradation, development of new therapies, molecular interactions and recognition.
    2 Understanding aspects of the control of gene expression including genetic circuits, chromatinstructure and remodelling, gene promoter assembly, eukaryotic mRNA synthesis, processing and translation.
    3 Understanding key experimental processes required to evaluate protein structure, functionand gene expression, and knowledge of how to apply them to solve specific biochemical problems.
    4 Specific skills in planning, performing, interpreting, quantitatively analysing and communicatingbiochemical research using a variety of modern experimental techniques.
    5 Ability to find, read, interpret and critically analyse relevant scientific literature.
    6 Ability to work in teams and communicate scientific outcomes.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3, 4, 5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4, 5, 6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1, 2, 3, 4
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 3, 4, 5, 6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 5, 6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Laboratory coat, safety glasses and closed shoes
    Recommended Resources
    Text book: Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th Edn) by Alberts et al., 2008, Published by Garland Science
    Online Learning
    Resource material such as lecture, tutorial, practical and past exams will be available on Myuni.

    Online assessment will be conducted via Myuni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    3 Lectures (same lectures as BIOCHEM 3000) of 1 hour each per week.

    1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week developing material covered in lectures. The lecturer takes the tutorial classes for their section.

    1 Laboratory based research project (45 hours) or BIOCHEM 3000 Practical  (15 hours per fortnight, odd weeks = 5 hours & Even weeks = 10 hour duration) in  weeks 1 - 6. Includes oral presentation in week 6 with immediate feedback provided.

    1 x 2 hour problem-based learning (PBL) exercise per week for weeks 7 - 12. Involves two different PBLs based on current research, each assessed by 10 - 15 minute presentation in small groups.

    3 online multiple choice tests of 1 hour duration (weeks 4, 8 and 12, with immediate feedback
    provided), to be done during non contact hours.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Protein Life Cycle Lecture
    Week 2 Introduction to Macromolecular X-ray Crystallography Lecture
    Week 3 Applications of Structural Biology/Proteomics Lecture
    Week 4 Proteomics/Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions Lecture
    Week 5 Genetic Circuts and Synthetic Biology Lecture
    Week 6 Genetic Circuts and Synthetic Biology Lecture
    Week 7 Chromatin Remodelling and Transcriptional Control Lecture
    Week 8 Chromatin Remodelling and Transcriptional Control Lecture
    Week 9 How TranscriptionFactors are Regulated to Control Complex Promoters Lecture
    Week 10 How TranscriptionFactors are Regulated to Control Complex Promoters Lecture
    Week 11 RNA Processing Lecture
    Week 12 RNA Processing Lecture
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Written exam on lecture material

    Summative examination week 65% 1, 2, 3
    Practical write up on research project Summative/Formative week 6 15% 4, 5
    PBL exercises Summative/Formative week 12 15% 4, 5, 6
    Online assessment Summative/Formative weeks 4, 8 and 12 5% 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance and active participation at all practicals is mandatory
    Assessment Detail
    End of term Exam (65% of total course grade) – A 3 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of a mixture of short and long answer type questions.

    Laboratory placement/Practical (15% of total course grade). The half semester research project (students can choose a laboratory placement or BIOCEHM 3000 practical) will include experimental work, keeping an up to date laboratory notebook,  1 oral presentation and the submission of a
    final practical report.  The oral presentation is 10-15 minutes, covers the research performed in the practical and performed individually (research placement) or small groups (BIOCHEM 3000
    practical) in week 7. Students receive feedback throughout the semester on laboratory
    performance and keeping of laboratory notebooks, as well as immediately after  the oral presentation, and on the fina lreport.

    PBL exercises,  weeks 7- 12: Involves two different PBLs based on current research, each assessed by 10-15 minute presentation in small groups (15% of total course grade).

    Online exercises (3 per semester):Three multiple choice tests in weeks 4, 8 and 12 (5% of total course grade). Encourages revision of the material soon after the relevant lectures and immediate
    feedback provided to student
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted,then a penalty for late submission
    will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Provision of Feedback to Students
    The assessor usually provides appropriate feedback of assessment tasks to the student by means of written comments. The student has the opportunity to directly liaise with the assessor to obtain additional feedback and clarification if required.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.