Biochemistry of Metabolism in Health and Disease

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Biochemistry of Metabolism in Health and Disease

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    BIOL1020 or BIOL1040

    Recommended prerequisite

    BIOC2000, (CHEM1100 and CHEM1200) or (CHEM1010 and CHEM1020)

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course provides an introduction to metabolism at the molecular level. The content will be presented in the context of the normal, exercise and disease states. Applications and examples drawn from current research areas with an emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. The course will build on and extend knowledge gained in the second level course BIOC2000 and will include the modern discipline areas of metabolomics and nutrigenomics. Core topics include aspects of carbohydrate, lipid, protein and amino acid metabolism built around the theme of obesity and the metabolic syndrome as an exemplar of the application of modern knowledge gained through our understanding of the genome and metabolome. The course will show how knowledge from these disciplines aids in our understanding of this health problem affecting many world-wide. The course is designed for those students who are interested or planning careers in the biomedical area, including health science, exercise science, nutrition/dietetics, food science and the biological sciences more broadly.
    Course Introduction
    Metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism. It describes how molecules are interconverted to meet the needs of living cells. Metabolism is also closely linked to nutrition and the availability of nutrients. Ingested nutrients provide the building blocks for our own body constituents. Metabolism also encompasses bioenergetics - the biochemical or metabolic pathways by which the cell ultimately obtains energy. Energy formation is one of the vital components of metabolism. The first half of this course will cover the principal metabolic pathways associated with carbohydrate, lipid, protein and amino acid metabolism and how they work together. This provides the background knowledge to help you understand the health problems of life-style disease such as coronary heart disease, Type II diabetes and stroke, that are estimated to represent about one-third of serious health problems.
    The early years of biochemical research were devoted to understanding the metabolic processes that enable cells to perform their specific roles. Much of this early work was undertaken by physiologists (biochemistry was a sub-speciality of physiology in those days) and focussed on elucidating the details of particular metabolic events. Highlights from this era of significant discoveries will be presented and their fundamental importance in the evolution of our biochemical knowledge will be provided. More recently, building on this foundation, the revolution in molecular techniques has provided insights into how and why metabolic events are initiated and controlled. Starting with genomics and proteomics we now have the research fields of nutrigenomics and metabolomics. These approaches have advanced our understanding of metabolism dramatically and have the potential to provide us with strategies to combat life-style diseases and will be discussed in the latter half of the course.
    The course will be presented primarily by lectures supplemented where appropriate by tutorials or workshops including computer-based practicals. A short course of laboratory practicals will also be undertaken.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • appreciate the complexity of metabolic processes in the body and to have an understanding of the major metabolic pathways of carbohydrate, lipid, protein and amino acid metabolism.
    • understand the molecular regulation of metabolic processes and its impact upon cell, tissue and whole body function.
    • appreciate the role of metabolic dysfunction in diseases of current major concern, e.g. diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome.
    • appreciate the potential of metabolomic and nutrigenomic research in combating such diseases.
    • develop critical thinking, and practical skills in the acquisition, analysis, interpretation and presentation of scientific data.
    Class Contact
    3 Lecture hours, 3 Practical or Laboratory hours
    Assessment Summary
    Practical (Lipid oxidation): 10%
    Practical (Metabolic pathways): 10%
    Practical (Purine Necleotide Degradation): 10%
    Practical (Metabolic Diseases: Aetiology and Epidemiology): 10%
    Final Exam: 50%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.