BIOCHEM 4010B - Advanced Biochemistry (Hons) Pt 2

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

This modular course covers a range of advanced topics in Biochemistry, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to module.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 4010B
    Course Advanced Biochemistry (Hons) Pt 2
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Mixed mode - flexible and/or intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Incompatible BIOCHEM 4000A/B
    Restrictions Available only to students admitted to the relevant Honours program
    Course Description This modular course covers a range of advanced topics in Biochemistry, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to module.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Keith Shearwin

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Design, analyse and interpret experiments, and effectively communicate these in written and oral reports.

    2 Develop interdisciplinary solutions to a variety of biochemical problems.
    3 Critically analyse and evaluate quantitative & qualitative biochemical information.
    4 Obtain and evaluate information from a variety of sources.
    5 Communicate effectively in a variety of forms.
    6 Use terminology appropriate to the field of study correctly and contextually.
    7 Extend knowledge and understanding of a variety of biochemical concepts in a range of contexts.
    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. 1-7
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4,5,7
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Journal club-based small group workshops designed to build knowledge of current literature in Biochemistry.

    Individual research proposals presented in both written and oral formats to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, and help develop written and oral communication skills.

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

    A student enrolled in this 6 unit course should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., workshops and presentations), as well as non-contact time (e.g., self – directed reading and literature searching).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Students will participate in a series of Journal Clubs, wherein they will critically examine and discuss a research paper chosen by a member of the academic staff. The second major part of this course is designed to develop and test critical thinking, originality and ability to integrate information and ideas. This is the Research Proposal, where the student will come up with an original, testable proposal on a topic of their choice. Once the student has formulated the idea, he/she will need to design a detailed set of experiments that can provide either evidence for or against their idea, and present this proposal in both written and oral form.
  • 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 Type of Assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle (Yes/No) Learning Outcome

    Series of journal club meetings.

    Overall mark for Journal Club:

    Oral Participation (50% of final journal club mark)

    Discussion of specific questions (50% of final journal club mark)
    Formative & Summative


    No 3-7

    Overall mark for Research Proposal & defence:

    Written proposal (30% of final research proposal mark)

    Oral delivery of proposal (30% of final research proposal mark)

    Proposal Defence (40% of final research proposal mark)
     Formative & Summative 80% No 1-7
    Assessment Detail


    Overall, performance in four group based journal club sessions will make up 20% of the final mark within the 6 unit course Advanced Biochemistry (Honours); there are two components of this mark, one part for the overall oral participation and one part for the role as a discussion leader for an “element” in the paper. Each part is worth 50% of the final journal club mark, that is, each Journal club is worth 5%, made up of 2.5% for role as discussion leader and 2.5% for oral participation. Journal clubs will be held in semester 1, approximately two weeks apart and will be assessed by at least two academic/research staff.




    The research proposal will be worth 80% of the 6 unit Advanced Biochemistry (Honours) course. The written proposal will be submitted in approximately week 15 of semester 1, and the presentation and question and answer period will be held approximately one week later.

    The development of an original testable research proposal will be assessed as follows.


    Written proposal: (4800 words maximum; 30% of proposal assessment; )

    1. Clear and concise introduction of research area, including a summary of the primary literature and appraisal of key experiments.
    2.  Succinct statement of the research proposal question (the hypothesis or proposition). There should be a clear relationship between the background material in the proposal and the hypothesis, and the hypothesis should address an important unsolved issue.
    3.  Logical outline of the proposal’s aims (the experiments), with an explanation of how the data from the experiments will allow the student to answer their proposal question.
    4.  Detailed presentation of each proposed experiment. Include the type and quality of data generated by each experiment, and be sure to mention possible experimental pitfalls, and how the approach would be re-designed or substituted with another experiment if one proposed experiment fails.
    5.  Scholarship: appropriate referencing and attribution of data and concepts to the correct sources

    The written document will be assessed by three academic/research staff. Supervisors will not assess their own student’s proposal.


    Oral presentation delivery and content: (20 min; 30% of proposal assessment)

    1. Logical flow of ideas and data; the talk should flow in roughly the same order as the written presentation
    2. Particular attention should be paid to making sure the logic of the proposal is well expressed in the oral presentation. The audience should be able to see an obvious relationship between the background data and the hypothesis, and the presentation of proposed experiments and the data they will generate should clearly related back to the hypothesis.
    3. Clarity, both in design of slides and in oral commentary

    Question/answer period: (Up to 30 minutes; 40% of proposal assessment)

    1. Demonstration of analysis and synthesis of scientific concepts and scientific relevance. Critical analysis of background literature.
    2. Demonstration of understanding and evaluation of primary experimental details
    3. Students should be prepared to defend two essential aspects of their paper/presentation: one, the hypothesis and its scientific importance, and its scientific “originality;” two, the choice of experiments, and specifically if the experimental design of the proposal will give a definitive answer to the hypothesis.


    The presentation and Q&A period will be assessed by all available academic staff.

    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.

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    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.

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