Subject Description:

This course presents the complementary nature of chemistry and biology by providing a solid understanding of the fundamentals of general chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The connection between atomic, chemical, and molecular structures as applied to biological systems is presented. Relevant chemical concepts of atomic structure, thermodynamics, acid-base reactions, reaction kinetics and catalysis are shown to be closely associated with biological ideas of building blocks, energy transformations, and biological information processing that defines a living biological system. Furthermore, how current technology has driven scientific investigation and the advancement of our understanding of living systems will be examined. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on scientific methodologies, experimental design, problem-solving, and data analysis.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the term, students will be able to:

  • Identify the atomic structure and its relationship to chemical bonding and the various intermolecular interactions that determine the chemical and physical properties of molecules, for example, how these factors influences the structure and function of biomacromolecules.
  • Apply thermodynamic properties (enthalpy, entropy, and Gibbs free energy) to calculate equilibrium concentrations and yields of chemical and biological reactions, including acids and bases in buffer systems.
  • Examine reaction kinetics, including examples of kinetics of radioactive decay and catalysis, various chemical rate laws and use of the steady state approximation approach to study the reaction mechanisms in both chemical and biological systems.
  • Describe the energy transformations and chemical reactions that occur in the cell, including the metabolic processes that contribute to life.
  • Explain how the structure of DNA is crucial for its self-replication and its function as the carrier of hereditary information, including the flow of information from DNA to RNA to polypeptides through the processes of transcription and translation, and the role of gene regulation in cell differentiation and adaptation to different environments. 

Delivery Format*:


Grading Scheme:

Attendance and in-class activities (clicker, Q+A) 10%
Mid-term 1 15%
Mid-term 2 15%
Problem Sets 15%
Group Project (1D Designette) 15%
Group Project (2D Designette) 10%
Final Exam 20%        

*The first number represents the number of hours per week assigned for lectures, recitations and cohort classroom study. The second number represents the number of hours per week assigned for labs, design, or field work. The third number represents the number of hours per week assigned for independent study.