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Unit information: Special 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 Special Organic & Biological Chemistry
Unit code CHEMM0006
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Russell
Open unit status Not open

CHEM30011 or CHEM30001 or CHEM30002 or CHEM30003



School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit develops the organic chemistry given CHEM 30011 and expands that essential base of organic chemistry into a more advanced level of study and extends into specialist/cutting edge areas. The unit covers several core areas of the subject e.g. advanced heterocyclic chemistry and asymmetric synthesis. The unit also introduces specialized areas including advanced NMR spectroscopy for use in probing biological systems and proteins, strategy and ‘the art’ of total synthesis as well as second stage to the use of transition metals catalysis.

This unit aims to provide a deepening understanding and widening knowledge of the chemistry of the carbon, which is appropriate for a MSc student and will enable progress to even more specialised 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 and applications in new areas of chemistry which build upon and broaden concepts introduced in the second and third year.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understand how kinetics and thermodynamics can be investigated
  • Understand how non-covalent interactions are exploited in supramolecular chemistry
  • Understand advanced metal-mediated coupling mechanisms
  • Appreciate similarities in metal mediated reaction mechanisms
  • Ability to use functionalised organometallic reagents to solve synthetic problems
  • Understand how multi-dimensional NMR may be applied to large biological systems
  • Explain the use of modern NMR in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Devise strategies for the total synthesis of more complex organic molecules
  • Recognise and apply a variety of methods used in asymmetric synthesis
  • Explain the synthetic approaches used in complex heterocyclic ring chemistry

Teaching details

Lectures, 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.

Assessment Details

Students will assessed by a total of 3 hours written examination (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 will be from the following books:

Organic Synthesis: Strategy & Control, P Wyatt and S Warren (Wiley, 2007); Heterocyclic chemistry, 5th edition, JA joule and K Mills, Chapman and Hall, 2010; Supramolecular Chemistry 2nd edition, JW Steed and JL Atwood, Wiley, 2009; Marchs advanced organic chemistry: reactions, mechanisms and structure, 6th edition, MB Smith and J F March, Wiley, 2007; An NMR primer for life scientists, H. Rattle, Partnership Press, 2001; Asymmetric synthesis, Eds RA Aitken and SN Kilenyi, Blackie, 1992.