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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/71]  CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY [71/10 - Ord. 2021]  Advanced cellular studies 7 60


The course is taught in English.
The course provides specific and applicative knowledge and skills on human biochemistry at the level of tissues by studying the biosynthesis and catabolism of biological molecules with a high impact on metabolic balance from a biomedical point of view. The course aims to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying metabolic and hormonal regulation and biochemistry pathways of specific biological processes. In the final part of the course will be considered the inhibition of specific enzymes of biomedical interest by exogenous molecules such as drugs.

Comprehension of the fundamental rules of lipids, carbohydrate and protein structures and functions. A peculiar attention is dedicated to the synthesis, modification, and destruction of the polypeptide chain, so to better understand how cells functionality is finely managed. Comprehension and analysis of the main metabolic pathways (anabolic and catabolic) and their main regulatory mechanisms.

Practical activities aim to acquire general techniques about protein structures analysis.

Students will be able to identify the logics underlying the rational study of biochemical processes, avoiding a merely mnemonic study. A deepening of the topics treated during the frontal lessons with the participation of the student, results in a better capacity to evaluate and verify the knowledge acquired. The laboratory experience offers the ability to evaluate and interpret data obtain from experimental activity.

The students will be able to discuss the topics of the course by using scientific terminology typical for Biochemistry. They will acquire the ability to describe specific metabolic events as well as their interrelation and regulation. Capacity to correctly describe the experimental data obtained and demonstrate their understanding through dialogue and by using graphical representations.

Acquisition of adequate scientific knowledge of biochemistry through specific scientific texts, lectures and the interaction with the teacher. Development of a methodology of study that allows the student to be able to interpret and deepen the information regarding the study of biochemistry that he can find in his future study and career.


Good knowledge of general biochemistry and molecular biology


• Lipids: polyunsaturated fatty acids; arachidonic acid cascade; eicosanoids; phospholipases.
• Carbohydrates: glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans; protein glycosylation (N-, O- glycosylation and GPI-linked proteins);
• Proteins: protein folding and unfolding; control of protein function (phosphorylation, proteolysis, ADP-ribosylation, protein targeting by lipid modifications, calnexin and calreticulin). Proteins of ECM: structure and function of Collagen and Elastin. Proteins involved in immune system: structure and functions of different classes of immunoglobulins. Genetics of immunoglobulins: generation of antibody diversity.
• Metabolism of carbohydrates: Metabolism of glycogen in the liver and muscles. Regulation of carbohydrate metabolism by hormones and transcriptional circuits. Genetic diseases related to carbohydrate metabolism;
• Metabolism of lipids: Biosynthesis of cholesterol, and bile acids. Regulation of lipid metabolism by hormones and transcriptional circuits. Genetic diseases related to lipids metabolism.
• Metabolism of proteins and amino acids: the aromatic amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan hormone precursors and neurotransmitters (dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, serotonin, melatonin). The amino acids precursor of biogenic amines and ketoacids. Genetic diseases related to proteins and amino acids metabolism.
• Metabolism molecule derived from amino acids : porphyrins synthesis and catabolism. Purine and pyrimidine synthesis and catabolism. Genetic diseases related to heme and purine metabolism.
• The metabolism of alcohol
• Inhibition and regulation of enzymes: enzymatic inhibition mechanisms by specific drugs.

Laboratory (12 hours): Characterization of proteins by electrophoresis. Spectrophotometric determination of biomolecules in solution.

Teaching Methods

The course comprises 48 hours lectures in 8 weeks (2 hours per day, two days a week). At the end of lectures there is the laboratory part of the course (12 hours).
Teaching will be organized mainly in frontal classes, integrated and "augmented" with online strategies, in order to guarantee its use in an innovative and inclusive way.
As regards laboratory activities, on the basis of the contextual conditions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, online shifts and / or replacement activities may be envisaged.

Verification of learning

The final evaluation is an oral exam that takes into account several factors:
Quality of the knowledge, skills, competences showed:
a) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of knowledge
b) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of skills
c) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of skills
Exhibition mode:
a) Capacity of expression;
b) Proper use of the specific language of the discipline;
c) Logical ability also in the consequential fitting of the contents;
e) Ability to connect different subjects by finding the common points and establish a consistent overall design;
f) Ability to summarize through the use of symbolism on the matter, and including the graphic expression of ideas and concepts, for example scheme of biological processes and structures.
Relational qualities:
Ability to talk and interact with the teacher during the interview.
Personal qualities:
a) critical spirit;
b) ability to self-evaluation.

Consequently, the judgment can be:
a) Fair (18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates little knowledge acquired, superficial level, many gaps. Expressive abilities modest, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical and consequential in the fitting of the subjects of the elementary level; poor capacity for synthesis and ability to graphic expression rather stunted, lack of interaction with the examiner.
b) Moderate (21 to 23)
The applicant demonstrates a discreet acquisition of knowledge but lack of depth, a few gaps; expressive abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the language of science, logical and consequential in the fitting of the arguments of moderate complexity, more than enough capacity for synthesis and ability to graphic expression acceptable.
c) Good (24 to 26)
The candidate demonstrates knowledge rather large, moderate depth, with few gaps; satisfactory mastery of the expressive capabilities and significant scientific language; critical ability, good capacity for synthesis and ability to graphic expression more than acceptable.
d) Outstanding (27 to 29)
The candidate demonstrates a wealth of notions very extensive, well depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable powers of expression and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogue capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logic synthesis, high capacity for synthesis and graphic expression.
e) Excellent (30)
The candidate demonstrates a wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, gaps irrelevant, high capacity and high mastery of the expressive language of science; excellent ability dialogical aptitude to make connections between different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and very familiar with the expression graphics.
The praise is attributed to the candidates clearly above average, and whose notional limits, if any, expressive, conceptual, logical, as a whole are completely irrelevant.


TextBook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations- Sixth Editions-Thomas M. Devlin
I Principi di Biochimica di Lehninger; Nelson-Cox, Zanichelli.

More Information

Students will be given slides of lectures, scientific publications (reviews) on specific topics covered in class (English),

Questionnaire and social

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