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Second semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Upon completion of the "Pharmaceutical Biochemistry" section, the student should be able to analyse, from a biochemical perspective, the mechanisms of drug action encountered in this and other courses. He\she should be able to analyse the molecular targets of the molecule, to give the correct biochemical classification and to foresee possible side effects.

Upon completion of the "Biomolecular Techniques" section, the student should have gained insight into the main biochemical laboratory techniques. He\she should be able to address simple
biochemical problems and analyse simple instrumental data.


Basic knowledge of biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry. It is highly recommended that the student has passed the Biochemistry exam before sitting the Applied Biochemistry exam.

Course contents summary

The first part of the course focuses on the main biological macromolecules and on the major metabolic pathways as drug targets.
The second part focuses on the main biochemical and molecular biology techniques.

Course contents

Biochemistry of drug targets: general aspects.
• DNA as a Drug Target: Drugs that interact with DNA.
• RNA-targeting drugs: antisense polynucleotides and their structural analogous.
• Drugs that interact with ribosomal RNA and other ribozymes. RNA interference.
• Membrane lipids as drug targets.
• Proteins as Drugs Targets: Enzymes; receptors and pathways for signal transduction; Transmembrane transport proteins; Pumps and channels.

Introduction: Biochemical Methodologies;
• Recombinant DNA technology
• Expression of recombinant proteins
• Purification of proteins
• Electrophoretic techniques
• Spectroscopic Techniques
• Enzyme kinetics
• Immunochemical techniques
• Blotting techniques
• DNA sequencing
• Proteomics

Recommended readings

The teaching material includes all the slides shown in class and will be made available on a weekly basis on the Elly platform.

Reference books:
- Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare - Principi e tecniche. A cura di Keith Wilson e John Walker. Raffaello Cortina Editore.
- Metodologie Biochimiche. A cura di Carmela Bonaccorsi di Patti, Roberto Contestabile e Martino Luigi di Salvo. Casa Editirce Ambrosiana.
- “Stryer – Biochimica”. A cura di Berg, Tymoczko. Zanichelli editore

Teaching methods

The teaching activities will be carried out mainly as frontal lessons, with short classroom exercises for student self-assessment. In the section "biomolecular technologies", the teacher will show some of the instruments discussed in class and will show short films to clarify their laboratory applications.

Assessment methods and criteria

The achievement of the objectives will be assessed in an oral examination divided into two parts. The exam will take place on the official exam dates, upon online registration.

One part of the exam will focus on the main biochemical techniques. The student could be asked to solve simple biochemical problems or analyse instrumental data. The in-depth understanding of the techniques will be required.

The second part of the exam will cover the biochemistry of drug targets. The student will be required to analyze the various molecular mechanisms of drug action and to discuss the examples given in class.
The evaluation on a scale of 0 to 30 will take into account the level of study, the ability to apply critically the acquired knowledge, the appropriateness of scientific language and the autonomy in the discussion.