The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course is designed to examine chemistry at the important interface between the chemical and biological sciences. The basic principles of synthetic and structural chemistry are applied to examination of the synthesis of biologically active molecules and drugs, and the structure, activity and interaction of biomolecules, including metalloproteins and natural products. The course aims to develop an understanding of the key features of the rational design of new medicinal agents. The importance of close links between the biological and chemical sciences will become apparent.

The course forms part of the accredited degree program required for Membership of Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. and Chartered Chemist qualifications.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. To develop expertise relevant to the professional practice of medicinal and biological chemistry

2. To develop an understanding of the range and chemistry of compounds of biological or medicinal relevance

3. To establish an appreciation of the role of the chemist in investigations of biological molecules

4. To develop an understanding of the role of the chemist in the development of drugs and pharmaceuticals

5. To provide an understanding of the principal tasks for the synthesis or isolation and characterization of natural molecules and proto-drugs

6. To provide experience in the scientific methods employed in natural products, bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry

7. To develop skills in procedures and instrumental methods applied in structure determination of natural molecules

8. To further develop skills in the scientific method of planning, developing, conducting, reviewing and reporting experiments

9. To develop some understanding of the professional, legal and safety responsibilities residing in working with natural and pharmaceutical products


The course involves study of:

  1. Natural Compounds:
  • the isolation of compounds from natural organisms such as bacteria, fungi, plants and invertebrate animals
  • applications of isolated compounds
  1. Metal-containing Natural Compounds:
  • metal ions in natural systems, particularly metalloproteins and metalloenzymes
  • the role of the metal ion in these biomolecules
  • the development of synthetic model systems to mimic natural enzymes
  1. Medicinal Compounds:
  • the range and role of synthetic molecules in medicine
  • current approaches to the chemical synthesis of new drugs
  • current approaches to the rational design and development of new drugs


Students must have successfully completed CHEM2310 or CHEM2201 to be enrolled in this course.

Assumed knowledge

CHEM2210 and CHEM2310

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written Assignments

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory Exercises *

Formal Examination: Formal Examination *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course. - Students must attend all scheduled laboratory sessions
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - All submitted and overall mark of 50 or more to pass courses
  • Formal Examination: Minimum Grade / Mark Requirement - Students must obtain a specified minimum grade / mark in this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a mark of 40 or more to pass this course.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks