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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[40/39]  MEDICINE AND SURGERY [39/00 - Ord. 2015]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 60


The student has to acquire the fundamentals of general chemistry in order to understand the behavior of the molecules that make up living organisms, being aware that much of the vital processes consist of chemical transformations. Especially, he needs to know the characteristics of atoms and molecules and the principles underlying their behavior in biological systems, the properties and the reactivity of the different classes of organic compounds, which can then be transferred to biomolecules, in order to correctly interpret the molecular biochemical, physiological and pathological processes, goals of more advanced courses. The student has to describe in a clear, comprehensive and appropriate scientific language the knowledge learned during the course.
Knowledge and understanding:
To understand the structure of matter and its reactivity, in relation to the kinetic and thermodynamic feature.
To know the structure and the reactivity of the most important classes of organic compounds, with particular attention to the functional groups most present in biological systems.
To know the basic structures and properties of the most common biological compounds: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids. Being able to graphically represent its molecular structures.
Applying knowledge and understanding:
The student will be able:
- to know the reactivity of the most common elements in biological systems;
- to describe and interpret the most common chemical reactions in terms of type and reaction equilibrium;
- to use the reaction formulas to understand mechanisms of the main organic reactions;
- to apply the acquired knowledge as a starting point for the study of subsequent biological disciplines such as Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Physiology, Microbiology;
- to apply the theoretical-practical knowledge acquired for standard analysis of biological matrices.
Making judgements:
The student will be able:
- to discern between fundamental and complementary topics, identifying the logical thread underlying the rational study of Chemistry, and avoiding the merely mnemonic acquisition of definitions, schemes, equations, graphs and structural formulas;
- to interpret and define the main chemical-physical characteristics of the biomolecules starting from their structural formula (polarity, solubility, reactivity, etc.);
- to enumerate the basic concepts, and among these specifically those potentially useful in the study of the following subjects along the course of studies;
Communication skills:
The student will be able to explain the course topics using formalism, language and vocabulary typical of the discipline. Interact with the teacher arguing the salient points of the study program, with the necessary detail. Thanks to the interacting lessons will also be able to interact profitably with colleagues, possibly forming study groups.
Ability to learn:
The interaction with the teacher, the self-assessment tests, and the teaching material (lesson slides, online exercises) will provide the student with the tools necessary for the fruitful, reasoned and non-mnemonic learning of the discipline.


Basic scientific knowledge acquired at the high school.


Atom: Atomic particles; isotopes; quantum numbers and orbitals. Electronic configuration. Auf-bau.
Chemical Bonds: Strong and weak bonds; inorganic nomenclature and molecule structures.
Solutions: Concentrations of solutions; solubility of gases in liquid (Henry law); osmotic pressure of ideal solutions and electrolyte solutions.
Chemical equilibrium: Expression of equilibrium constant; equilibrium influencing factors; Le Chatelier’s Principle. Acids and bases following Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry and Lewis definitions; dissociation of water, Kw, pH and pOH; dissociation constant of acid and bases; pH in strong and weak acid and base solutions; salt hydrolysis and pH of salt solutions; acid-base titrations; buffers and pH of buffer solutions.
Chemical kinetic: Kinetic equations and reaction order; activated complex theory, activation energy; catalysts.
Redox Reactions: Redox reactions; oxidation number; redox standard potentials; Nernst equation; electromotive force of cell and half-cell; chemical and concentration cells.
Molecular formula of hydrocarbons and functional groups: Nomenclature; aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons; functional groups: alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, amines and amides.
Isomerism: Conformational isomerism and geometric isomerism; stereoisomerism, chirality, enantiomers and diastereoisomers; relative (D and L) and absolute (R and S) configurations.
Organic reactions: Homolytic and heterolytic reactions; nucleophiles and electrophiles, reactions of hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, amines.
Propedeutical biochemistry: Polyfunctional compounds. Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides and glycosidic bond. Lipids: triacylglycerols and phosphoglycerides. Purine and pyrimidine bases, nucleosides and nucleotides. Amino acids and peptide bond.

Teaching Methods

Lectures: The course of Chemistry and Propedeutical Biochemistry is divided initially in two phases involving the treatment of the fundamental concepts of general chemistry and the description of the main classes of organic compounds and their reactivity. The course ends with the study of the structure and physicochemical properties of the most important classes of biomolecules.
Exercises: exercises are related to the solution of numerical exercises (mole, Avogadro's Number, concentration of solutions, osmotic pressure, pH, electromotive force of cell), structural formulas, chemical equations, solving quiz tests with multiple-choice questions.
Tutoring: supporting the study, the solution of exercises and tests.

Verification of learning

• The knowledge and ability acquired by students are assessed through written test (ongoing and final assessment) and/or an oral exam.
• The ongoing assessments (during classes) include multiple-choice tests and exercises (similar to those done during classes) linked to the lessons content.
• The ongoing tests with positive score will be part of the final assessment.
• The students who doesn’t pass the ongoing test, as well as who want have higher score, can take the test again.
• The final assessment is made on the basis of ongoing assessment and/or oral exam.

The final grade takes into account several factors:
Quality of the knowledge, skills, competences:
a) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of knowledge
b) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of abilities
c) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of ability to apply knowledge and understanding

Communication skills:
a) Proper use of the specific formalism and language of the discipline;
b) Logical skills and inherent consequentiality in communicating;
c) Ability to connect different subjects by finding the common points and establish a consistent overall design, i.e. taking care of structure, organization and logical connections of speech;
d) Ability to summarize also through the use of specific symbolism of each discipline and graphic expression of ideas and concepts, for example in form of formulas, schemes, equations.
Relational qualities:
a) Availability to exchange and interact with the teacher during interactive lessons and exam;
b) personal qualities;
c) critical thinking;
d) ability of self-evaluation.

Consequently, the judgment can be:

a) Sufficient (from 18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates little acquisition of theoretical knowledge, superficial level, many gaps. Modest communicative abilities, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of elementary level; poor capacity of synthesis and rather stunted ability of graphical expression, scanty interaction with the teacher during the interview.

b) Moderate (21 to 23)
The applicant demonstrates a moderate acquisition of knowledge but lack of expatiation, a few gaps; communicative abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the scientific language, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of moderate complexity, good enough capacity of synthesis and acceptable ability of graphical expression.

c) Good (24 to 26)
The candidate demonstrates a rather large wealth of knowledge, moderate in-depth, with some gaps; satisfactory mastery of the communicative abilities and meaningful scientific language; dialogical ability and critical thinking well detectable, good capacity of synthesis and more than acceptable ability of graphical expression.

d) Outstanding (27 to 29)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive wealth of notions, high in-depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable ability in communicating and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogical capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis, high capacity of synthesis and graphical expression.

e) Excellent (30)
The candidate demonstrates a wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, no gaps, high capacity and high mastery in communicating through the scientific language; excellent dialogical ability and marked aptitude to make connections among different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and very familiar with the graphical expression.

The praise is attributed to the candidates clearly above average.


Bettelheim, Brown, Campbell, Farrell (Introduction to general, Organic, and Biochemistry) Brooks/Cole
Denniston, Topping, Caret (General, Organic, and Biochemistry) McGraw-Hill

More Information

The PowerPoint presentations of lectures and exercise are available.
Teachers are available for meeting by appointment.

Questionnaire and social

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