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CHEM205 Biological Chemistry

Bioenergetics of metabolism at a molecular level. Metal ion coordination chemistry and its applications in biological systems. Chemistry of amino acids and peptide formation. Chemistry of nucleic acids, phosphate esters and enzyme reactions.

CHEM 205 Biological Chemistry focuses on the application of concepts and techniques of chemistry to gain an understanding of the nature and function of biological systems. An overview of biological systems from a molecular perspective is developed.

Paper title Biological Chemistry
Paper code CHEM205
Subject Chemistry
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CHEM 111 or CHEM 112 or CHEM 191
Recommended Preparation
CHEM 111 and (CHEM 112 or CHEM 191)
Schedule C
CHEM 205 is intended for BSc and BSc(Hons) students majoring in chemistry irrespective of what areas of chemistry they choose to specialise in. It is also a good foundation course for students requiring a knowledge and understanding of the molecular basis of biological systems to underpin their major subject.

Dr Courtney Ennis
Tel 64 3 479 5288
Location: Science II, 5N1

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Courtney Ennis
Professor Sally Brooker
Dr Eng Wui Tan
Dr Andrea Vernall

Paper Structure

The topics covered include a number of fundamental areas of chemistry that have wide applications in the biological sciences:

  • Physical principles in biology
    • An introduction to the bioenergetics of metabolism at a molecular level
  • Bio-inorganic chemistry
    • An introduction to metal ion coordination chemistry and its applications in biological systems
  • Chemistry of amino acids and peptides
  • Chemistry of DNA and RNA
  • Enzyme chemistry
    • An introduction to the selectivity characteristics (stereo-, chemo-, regio-selectivity) of enzyme reactions

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Expectations at the completion of the paper:

  • An understanding, based on established chemical concepts, of vital biological molecules and processes
  • An ability to assess critically and use information relating to biological chemistry in the context of informed social debate
  • Tested experience with the use of standard practical and experimental techniques
  • Tested experience with the generic activities of information retrieval, critical analysis and presentation employing logistical planning and cooperative teamwork
  • An understanding of how chemical knowledge is applied in a practical, problem-solving context
  • Students who are majoring in chemistry will have acquired knowledge and practical skills which will benefit them in 300- and 400-level papers in chemistry
  • Those students majoring in biological science subjects will have acquired knowledge that will enable them to understand better the chemical foundations of their chosen subject. The practical skills obtained will be applicable to many areas of science

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 08:00-08:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 08:00-08:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 08:00-08:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A3 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41