Biology and Biochemistry
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course will provide students with fundamental notions regarding cells, genetics, evolution of living organisms, structure and function of plants and animals, metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and aminoacids, energy extraction from nutrients.
Basic knowledge of chemistry and organic chemistry.
Course contents summary
Introduction to the course. The study of life. Water. Biological macromolecules: proteins, lipids, sugars and nucleic acids. The prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. Plant and animal cells. Cell membranes and transport across the membrane. Cell-cell communication. Cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis. Elements of genetics. From Mendel to molecular genetics. Population genetics. Recombinant DNA, biotechnology and genetic improvement. Evolution. Mechanisms of evolution of living organisms. Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. The species and their origins. Systematic. Elements of taxonomy and biological classification. The biological concept of species. Taxonomic categories in plants and animals. The main plant tissues and organs. The main tissues and animal organs.
Protein structure; folding and unfolding of proteins. Antibodies: structure and function. Structural proteins: collagen. Enzymes: overview of the mechanism of action of enzymes and enzyme kinetics.
Lipids with energy reserve function.
Overview of Bioenergetics. “High energy” compounds.
Glycolysis. Pentose phosphate pathway. Alcoholic and lactic acid fermentation. Glycogenolysis and glycogenosynthesis. Krebs cycle. Gluconeogenesis.
Overview of lipid metabolism. Fatty acid beta-oxydation. Ketonic bodies and ketogenesis. Synthesis of saturated fatty acids.
Overview of amino acid metabolism. Degradation of amino acids. Correlation of amino acid metabolism with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation.
DNA and gene information. DNA replication and transcription. Ribosomal, transport and messenger RNA (r-RNA, t-RNA, m-RNA). The genetic code. Protein synthesis: translation.
Biologia; Russell, Wolfe, Hertz, Starr and McMillan, casa editrice Edises
Elementi di biologia e genetica; Sadava et al., casa editrice Zanichelli
Introduzione alla Biochimica di Lehninger; Nelson and Cox, casa editrice Zanichelli.
Oral lessons, with the use of multimedia means.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written exam, followed by oral discussion