BI2BPB5-Physiological Biochemistry

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1MB2 Metabolic Biochemistry or BI1BAB2 Metabolic and Practical Biochemistry
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lizzy Lander


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will build on the cellular biochemical concepts covered in part 1 to provide students with an understanding of the impact of biochemistry at the physiological level. The lecture content will discuss the biochemistry of different organ systems/bodily processes and how biochemical actions dictate physiological outcomes. The focus of this module is therefore how cellular biochemistry produces organ system changes and their physiological outcomes. The practicals will focus on the technical application of biochemistry to study the enzymes of the body.


This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of metabolism and cell communication through signalling molecules. Students will then apply these key concepts to the in-depth study of the biochemistry of selected organ systems (for example blood, liver, muscle and kidneys). Finally, students will acquire an appreciation of the integrated nature of biochemistry across organ systems and the body.

To understand the wide-reaching implications of biochemical processes from both the physiological and pathological perspective.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Describe the principles of metabolism, metabolic pathways and their control, and enzyme kinetics.

  • Discuss the key concepts of how cells communicate, and using hormone/neurotransmitters as examples describe their synthesis, release, transport, cellular effects and inactivation.

  • Differentiate the role of biochemical pathways in selected organ systems (e.g. blood, liver, muscle and kidneys)

  • Recognise the role of biochemical processes in the integration of physiology of the human body.

  • Discuss how practical biochemistry can be used to study enzymatic processes

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

This module will provide fundamental knowledge of the biochemical processes of the human body and its organ systems, as well as the cellular and metabolic processes that underpin these physiological effects. Through the lectures/tutorials/practicals in this module the following content will be discussed:

  • Metabolism and its organisation/enzymes, as well as principles of energy generation.

  • The principles of metabolic control (enzymes, substrates, inhibitors and genes)

  • How cells communicate through signalling molecules (e.g. hormones)

  • How signalling molecules are synthesised, stored, released, transported, responded to and destroyed.

  • The role and nature of biochemical processes in selected human organ systems

  • Practical investigation of enzymes

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be 20 ~50 minute lectures (divided by a short break) each week and 3 x 1 hour tutorials. There will also be 4 x 2 hour practical sessions. Additionally, students will be expected to use their free time to engage in background reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Supervised time in studio/workshop 3
Guided independent study 169
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Set exercise 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One-and-a half-hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    August - September re-examination

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Course textbooks: Essential Physiological Biochemistry (~£40). 

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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