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Unit information: Advanced Organic & Biological Chemistry in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Advanced Organic & Biological Chemistry
Unit code CHEM30011
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Russell
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit develops the organic chemistry given in CHEM20180 to expand that essential base of organic chemistry into this more advanced level of study. The unit covers the main areas of the subject e.g. protein structures, modern synthetic methods, the application of main group elements and transition metals to transformations and synthesis, selective synthesis, medicinal chemistry, natural products and saccharides. Workshops are integral to the unit.

This unit aims to provide a deepening understanding and widening knowledge of the chemistry of the carbon, which is appropriate for a BSc student and will enable progress to even more advanced aspects in a variety of areas of organic chemistry. The implications of these ideas are illustrated with real world examples to set them in context and highlight their relevance in the modern scientific world. The unit aims to explore key reactivity in new areas of chemistry which build upon and broaden concepts introduced in the second year.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understanding of metal-mediated coupling mechanisms
  • Appreciate similarities in metal mediated reaction mechanisms
  • Ability to use functionalised organometallic reagents to solve synthetic problems
  • Knowledge of enzyme mechanisms
  • An appreciation of the interaction between enzymes and their co-factors
  • An ability to predict selectivity in organic reactions and suggest how it may be controlled
  • Understand how the anomeric effect influences structure and reactivity
  • An appreciation of conformation in both saccharides and protein structure
  • Understand how carbonyl chemistry underpins much natural product chemistry
  • Understanding of the principles of drug design and action

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops (classes of 20 students with two staff members) and masterclasses (interactive seminar sessions of the whole class) and independent study. The Dynamic Laboratory Manual provides important e-learning resource in advance of workshop sessions. Pre-workshop online material will be provided to assist students with the contact workshop.

Assessment Details

Students will be assessed by a total of 3 hours of written exams (summative 100%).

Reading and References

Essential reading will be from the following books: Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition, J Clayden, N. Greeves, S Warren, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Further reading from: An introduction to Enzyme and Coenzyme Chemistry, 2nd Edition T. Bugg. Blackwell Science 2004; Transition Metals in the Synthesis of Complex Organic Molecules, 2nd Edition, L S Hegedus, University Science Books, 1999; Carbohydrate Chemistry, B. G. Davis and A. J. Fairbanks, Oxford Chemistry Primer, 2002; Carbohydrate Chemistry, B. G. Davis and A. J. Fairbanks, Oxford Chemistry Primer, 2002; Natural Products: The Secondary Metabolites, J. R. Hanson, Royal Society of Chemistry, Tutorial Chemistry Texts, 2003; Organic Stereochemistry, MJT Robinson, Oxford Chemistry Primer, 2000.