BIOCHEM 3230 - Molecular & Structural Biology III (Biomed Sci)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course aims to extend the discussions of protein structure and function presented in the Biochemistry Level II courses and to use this knowledge to gain an understanding of some of the essential processes of molecular biology. The course covers two principle themes: Protein Structure and Function: topics include - structure and function of different classes of proteins, protein folding, targeted protein degradation, the development of new therapies, molecular interactions and recognition. The Control of Gene Expression: topics include; genetic circuits and synthetic biology; chromatin structure and its remodelling during transcription; the recruitment and assembly of transcription factors and the RNA polymerase complex on a gene promoter; artificially manipulating gene expression with the use of "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 with cutting edge research-based practical exercises to complement the lecture material.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 3230
    Course Molecular & Structural Biology III (Biomed Sci)
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 23 hours per fortnight
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites BIOCHEM 2500 & BIOCHEM 2501 or BIOCHEM 2502
    Incompatible BIOCHEM 3000 and BIOCHEM 3125
    Restrictions Available to BSc (Biomedical Science) students only
    Assessment Exam on lecture, practical reports and online assessment
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Bruning

    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, chromatin structure and remodelling, gene promoter assembly, eukaryotic mRNA synthesis, processing and translation.
    3 Understanding key experimental processes required to evaluate protein structure, function and gene expression, and knowledge of how to apply them to solve specific biochemical problems.
    4 Specific skills in planning, performing, interpreting, quantitatively analysing and communicating biochemical 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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 - 6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1 - 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1 - 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1 - 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1 - 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1 - 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 of 1 hour each per week.

    1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week.

    1 Practical of 15 hours per fortnight. (Odd weeks = 5 hours & Even weeks = 10 hour duration) Includes 2 oral presentations in weeks 6, 12/13, with immediate feedback provided.

    3 online multiple choice tests of 1 hour duration per semester (weeks 4, 8 and 12, with immediate feedback provided).

    1 hour written test in week 7.

     The course content will include the following:

     ·   Protein Life Cycle

     ·   Protein-Protein Interactions

     ·  Protein-carbohydrate / small molecule interactions     

     ·  Proteins and Drug Design

     ·  Protein-nucleic Acid Interactions

     ·  Genetic Circuits and Synthetic Biology 

     ·   Chromatin Remodelling and Transcriptional Control

     ·   How Transcription Factors are Regulated to Control Complex Promoters

     ·   RNA-processing

     The research-based practicals are run by the Biochemistry Academic staff as well as PhD students.

    The tutorials are based around the lecture content as well as current relevant research papers

    The online tests reinforce the lecture material.



    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
    Topic Lecture
    1 Protein Life Cycle Lecture
    2 Introduction to Macromolecular X-ray Crystallography Lecture
    3 Applications of Structural Biology/Proteomics Lecture
    4 Proteomics/Protein-nucleic Acid Interactions Lecture
    5 Genetic Circuits and Synthetic Biology Lecture
    6 Genetic Circuits and Synthetic Biology Lecture
    7 Chromatin Remodelling and Transcriptional Control Lecture
    8 Chromatin Remodelling and Transcriptional Control Lecture
    9 How TranscriptionFactors are Regulated to Control Complex Promoters Lecture
    10 How TranscriptionFactors are Regulated to Control Complex Promoters Lecture
    11 RNA Processing Lecture
    12 RNA Processing Lecture
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students perform small group discovery in their practical sessions and PBLs in which they work together in small groups of approximately 12.
  • 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 tasks Type of Assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle Outcome being assessed Approximate Timing of Assessment
    Practical report summative 15 no 4, 5, 6 Week 12
    PBL report summative 15 no 4, 5, 6 Week 12
    Online tests summative 5 no 1, 2 Weeks 4, 8, 12
    Exam summative 40 no 1, 2, 3 Exam Period
    Written Test summative/formative 25 no 1,2,4 Week 7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance and active participation at all practicals is mandatory
    Assessment Detail
    End of term Exam (40% of total course grade) – A 2 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of short and
    long answer type questions.

     Mid-term written test (25% of total course grade) – A 1 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of short and long answer type questions.

     Practical (30% of total course grade). The semester long practical exercise will include experimental work, keeping an up to date laboratory notebook, 2 oral presentations and the submission of a final practical report. The two oral presentations are each 10-15 minutes, cover the research performed in the practical, and performed in small groups in weeks 6, 12/13. Students receive feedback throughout the semester on laboratory performance and keeping of laboratory notebooks immediately after each oral presentation, and on the final report. Outstanding students may have the option of a laboratory-based research project in place of the practical exercise.

     Online exercises: 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 students. This is done outside of contact time.

    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.