BIOCHEM 3004 - Molecular and Structural Biology (Theory) III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

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 problem solving to complement the lecture material.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOCHEM 3004
    Course Molecular and Structural Biology (Theory) III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites BIOCHEM 2500 & BIOCHEM 2501 or BIOCHEM 2502 & BIOCHEM 2503
    Incompatible BIOCHEM 3230, BIOCHEM 3000 and BIOCHEM 3125
    Assessment Exam on lecture material, written and online assessments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Bruning

    Tara Pukala
    John Bruning
    Keith Shearwin
    Dan Peet
    Murray Whitelaw
    Pirjo Apaja
    Cameron Bracken
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understand aspects of protein structure and function including protein folding, degradation, development of new therapies, molecular interactions and recognition.
    2 Understand aspects of the control of gene expression including genetic circuits, chromatin structure and remodelling, gene promoter assembly, eukaryotic mRNA synthesis, processing and translation.
    3 Understand 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 Find, read, interpret and critically analyse relevant scientific literature.
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required 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 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. The stacked / same time teaching components are the lectures timetabled with the existing course, BIOCHEM 3000.

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

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

    Lectures will all be delivered in person and online, with a combination of prerecorded and live-streamed (Zoom) lectures.It is anticipated that tutorials will be a combination of face-to-face and live-streamed (Zoom) tutorials, with one each week recorded.

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

    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
    1. Introduction to macromolecular X-ray crystallography 
    2. Applications of structural biology
    3. Protein life cycle
    4. Proteomics
    5. Protein-nucleic acid interactions
    6. Genetic circuits and synthetic biology
    7. Membrane Trafficing 
    8. Chromatin remodelling and transcriptional control
    9. How transcription factors are regulated to control complex promoters
    10. How transcription factors are regulated to control complex promoters  
    12. RNA-Processing
  • 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 Oucome
    Written test on lecture material Summative Week 6 30 1-4
    Online assessment Formative and Summative Weeks 6, 10 and 12 10 1-4
    Written exam on lecture material Summative Examination period 60 1-4
    Assessment Detail
    End of term Exam (60% 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 (30% of total course grade) – A 1 hour examination covering the lecture material. It is made up of short and long answer type questions.

    Online exercises: Three multiple choice tests in weeks 4, 8 and 12 (10% 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.

  • 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.