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Bioinorganic Chemistry

Module titleBioinorganic Chemistry
Module codeBIO2091
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Chloe Singleton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Metals are required in many different biological systems and processes, and also find application in a whole host of drugs and medical diagnostic agents. You will build on your existing biochemical and chemical knowledge to understand the important interactions between metals and macromolecules (such as DNA and proteins). You will learn how organisms use metals in key life processes, such as respiration, electron transfer and catalysis; and how they transport and store metals. You will gain knowledge of techniques used to study metallobiomolecules and utilise some of these in the laboratory. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module builds upon concepts and knowledge of biochemistry and inorganic chemistry introduced in Stage 1 and now provides you with a more in-depth study of bonding, redox reactions and bio-inorganic chemistry and moves on to study the role of metallochemistry in biology.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Illustrate quantitatively physical processes as applied to chemical biology
  • 2. Discuss the inorganic aspects of biochemical processes
  • 3. Explain the roles of metals in biology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of chemical biology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 5. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Identify critical questions from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 7. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 10. Analyse and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance
  • 11. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

This module is divided into two distinct sections:

  • Bioinorganic Chemistry – Topics covered will include: Chemistry of transition metal complexes. Metal management in biological systems. Hydrolytic enzymes and zinc. Oxygen transport and storage. Electron transport and cytochromes.
  • Metalloprotein Biochemistry – Topics covered will include: Metal availability and selection. Transition metals in biological processes, their role in electron transfer reactions, active site structures and catalytic mechanisms. Metalloid biochemistry – selenoproteins.

Accessibility Statement:

As part of this course, you will undertake three laboratory sessions in GP101 that are of 2-3 hrs in duration. These sessions will be undertaken in groups, and some sessions involve fine laboratory work. Breaks are possible and students are able to leave the laboratory for short periods.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching12Laboratory sessions (4 x 3 hours)
Guided independent study2Pre-recorded lecture content
Guided independent study4Preparation for laboratory sessions
Guided independent study60Lecture consolidation and associated reading
Guided independent study20Completion of coursework
Guided independent study 30Exam revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQs during lecturesAd hoc3-4, 7-8, 10-11Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination602 hours1-6, 8-10Written
Laboratory report 1201500 words1-10Written
Laboratory report 2201500 words1-10Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination (60%)1-6, 8-10August ref/def
Laboratory report 1Laboratory report 1 (20%)1-10August ref/def
Laboratory report 2Laboratory report 2 (20%)1-10August ref/def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral - if you have failed the module (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Kaim, Schwederski and Klein. Bioinorganic Chemistry: Inorganic Elements in the Chemistry of Life, Wiley, 2nd Edition, 2013
  • Berg, Tymocko, Gatto and Stryer.  Biochemistry.
  • Housecroft and Sharpe. Inorganic Chemistry.
  • Winter. D-Block Chemistry

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Metalloprotein Biochemistry, Catalysis, Metals, Proteins, Enzymes, Inorganic Chemistry.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1347 General Chemistry; or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science.

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date