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Course Breakdown


Laboratory Component- 25%

Post Module-Quizzes - 6%

Test - 23%

Exam - 46%

Course Information


Recommended textbook:
Biochemistry (6th ed) - Berg et al.
Official UoA Website: link.

Basic Information

BIOSCI203 is structured similarly to BIOSCI201 as the course co-ordinator is the same (Kathryn Jones🫶), making it easy to settle into your routine in this course. A positive about this course is the variety of contexts biochemistry was applied to; there is something for everyone. There is one lab that corresponds to each module and the lecturer teaching that lecture block will be at your lab. Make sure to converse with them, don’t be shy to ask any questions you have about lecture/lab content or just about their research journey.


Laboratory Component


The labs were enjoyable and very hands-on. Some questions in a lab assignment would ask for your experimental results, testing your practical skills. But displaying your results comes with tables/graphs and with heaps of figure legends to write. Although it can be tedious, it is a key skill required for all your other courses (use this opportunity to practice).


Lecture Content

The first 2 modules, Protein Structure with Shaun Lott and Multimeric Proteins and Molecular Machines with Matthew Sullivan is examined in the test.

The modules, The Biochemistry of Alzheimer’s Disease with Kathryn Jones, Metabolism in Animals with Kerry Loomes, Signal Transduction with Monica Kam and Nutrition (Energy) Balance in Humans with Jennifer Miles-Chan will be examined in the final exam. The nutrition module is a newer module that was introduced to the course, which I personally enjoyed a lot due to the interesting content and the clarity of Jennifer’s teaching.

There is no course guide for this course but the powerpoints are well-made by the lecturers, including the figures and information needed. However, I recommend writing/typing up your own notes (especially for processes). This will also speed up the time it takes to write out your notes sheet. The lectures were 3 x 8ams a week. Yes, I know, it’s winter but if you attend them you will thank yourself at the end of the semester for not piling up on the lectures you need to catch up on.

There is an MCQ section in both the test and the exam. The rest will consist of LAQ’s. The idea of LAQ’s were intimidating at first, but being able to describe certain key processes would be a good focus point in your revision.

In 2023, we were allowed to bring in a double-sided A4 sheet of paper into tests and exams. I recommend completing this AFTER having a go at past papers to make your notes concise and easy to find.

Protein Structure

This first module was delivered by Associate Professor Shaun Lott in 2023. The following topics were covered in 7 lectures:

  • Peptide bonds

  • Secondary and tertiary structures

  • pH and pKa in catalysis

  • Protein folding

  • Protein structure determination

This module was a good introduction to BIOSCI203, refreshing and introducing basic concepts that will help you in some of the later modules. This section however did require some rote learning – the names, structure, symbols and properties of all of the amino acids, as well as learning the general trends of tables and graphs etcetera. 


Multimeric proteins

Taught by Professor Matthew Sullivan. I personally enjoyed this module much more than I thought I would, the link between different proteins and how they work together to complete a process was interesting to see. He was very attentive to questions students had and made sure to clear any confusion. The following topics were covered:

  • Haemoglobin and the transport of oxygen

  • Structure and function of ATP synthase and rotary motor

  • Intracellular traffic by Kinesin and Dyenin


Taught by the course co-ordinator Kathryn Jones. This module was different because the whole module taught properties of biochemistry through the context alzheimers (like a case study almost). The topics taught include:

  • Biochemistry of Alzheimer's

  • Pathways a precursor protein takes to contribute to disease formation

  • Therapeutic strategies for disease

This was an interesting module but it is easy to get lost in regards to what to study. Focus on key concepts and any important processes.



Associate Professor Kerry Loomes taught this module. This section is taught very similarly to his section in BIOSCI106. The following topics were covered:

  • Glycolysis and gluconeogenesis

  • Glycogen and fat metabolism

  • Exercise and metabolism

  • Sugars

  • Metabolism and cancer

  • Type I diabetes

  • Type II diabetes

He utilises the document camera a lot for the diagrams and pathways he draws and he expects you to be able to reproduce them for the exam, accompanied by some sort of explanation of the processes; you can expect at least a couple of diagrams per lecture. Overall, his lectures are relatively straightforward, what makes it more difficult is the number of pathways you go through but even then, you will be fine once you get those under your belt. This is one of the more clear-cut modules of the paper.   


Signal Transduction

Taught by Monica Kam, this module builds on what was taught in BIOSCI106. She prefers to draw diagrams on the document camera and explains everything in very clear detail. The following topics were covered:

  • GPCRs and second messengers

  • RTKs and Ligand-gated ion channels

  • Signal transduction and disease

She explains concepts very clearly and she is explicit in what you need to know for the exam and what just information for one’s own interest is. 


Taught by Jennifer Miles-Chan. The following topics were covered:

  • Principles of energy balance

  • Energy balance during fed and fasted states

  • Diet-induced thermogenesis

This module showed nutrition in a different light as to what was taught in courses in the sense that it didn't deep into specific details. Rather, the physiological responses were the focus. She was a very clear and knowledgable lecturer.

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