This unit provides a general introduction to the field of biochemistry, providing fundamental knowledge of the molecules of life and principles of metabolic processes that underpin life.

This unit builds upon knowledge from RBF1310 Biology 1, providing further detail on the structure and function of the biological macromolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.  The link between the structure of these molecules and fundamental biological processes, including membrane function, enzyme catalysis, how nucleic acids underpin genetics and heredity will be explored.  Key concepts in bioenergetics, enzyme kinetics and how these link to the function and regulation of metabolic pathways in the cell will also be described.

This content will be supported by laboratory-based work, wherein key techniques in spectrophotometry, carbohydrate analysis, enzyme assay and protein analysis, as well as the analysis and presentation of scientific data, will be undertaken.  This will provide key skills for further study and careers in biological-based research.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


RBF1310 - Biology 1

RCS1601 - Chemistry 1A

or equivalent

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Classify the major biological macromolecules and summarise their general structures and functions;  
  2. Review the mechanisms that underpin enzyme function and calculate the kinetic properties of an enzyme;  
  3. Elaborate on the function of nucleic acids, focusing on DNA replication, transcription, the genetic code and protein translation in relation to cellular function;  
  4. Summarise the energy producing pathways of cells, focussing on central metabolism and photosynthesis, evaluating the function of these pathways and contrasting the mechanisms that regulate them;  
  5. Collect and analyse biochemical data, including protein analysis (SDS-PAGE) and quantitative UV/Vis spectrophotometry data in a laboratory setting; and  
  6. Assess the scientific literature and review this information to probe a specific topic in biochemistry demonstrating accountability for personal learning.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Laboratory Work Eight (8) Lab Reports (total 2000 words) 30%
Examination Final Exam (3 hours) 55%
Assignment Assignment (1500 words) 15%

Required reading

Biochemistry: a short course 2nd
Tymoczko, JL, Berg, JM & Stryer, L. (2011)
WH Freeman and Company

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