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BCHM2072 - Human Biochemistry
Faculty of Science - 6 credit points
HECS Band six
Domestic Fee: $3,630
International Fee: $4,260
EFTSL: 0.125000000
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Department: School of Molecular Bioscience
Offered session(s): 2
Prerequisites: Either MBLG (1001 or 1901) and 12 credit points of Junior Chemistry or either MBLG2071 or MBLG2971
Prohibitions: BCHM2972, BCHM2002, BCHM2102, BCHM2902, BCHM2112
Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Gareth Denyer

Classes: Two lectures per week, one tutorial per fortnight, and one 4-hour practical per fortnight

Assessment: One 3-hour exam, practical reports, in semester assignments (100%)

This unit of study aims to describe how cells work at the molecular level, with special emphasis on human biochemistry. The chemical reactions which occur inside cells are described in the first series of lectures, Cellular Metabolism. Aspects of the molecular architecture of cells which enable them to transduce messages and communicate are described in the second half of the unit of study. At every stage there is emphasis on the 'whole body' consequences of reactions, pathways and processes. Cellular Metabolism describes how cells extract energy from fuel molecules like fatty acids and carbohydrates, how the body controls the rate of fuel utilisation and how the mix of fuels is regulated (especially under different physiological circumstances such as starvation and exercise). The metabolic inter-relationships of the muscle, brain, adipose tissue and liver and the role of hormones in coordinating tissue metabolic relationships is discussed. The unit also discusses how the body lays down and stores vital fuel reserves such as fat and glycogen, how hormones modulate fuel partitioning between tissues and the strategies involved in digestion and absorption and transport of nutrients. Signal Transduction covers how communication across membranes occurs (i.e. via surface receptors and signaling cascades). This allows detailed molecular discussion of the mechanism of hormone action and intracellular process targeting. The practical component complements the lectures by exposing students to experiments which investigate the measurement of glucose utilisation using radioactive tracers and the design of biochemical assay systems. During the unit of study, generic skills are nurtured by frequent use of computers and problem solving activities. However student exposure to generic skills will be extended by the introduction of exercises designed to teach oral communication, instruction writing and feedback articulation skills.
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