Module FXX-1104:
The Chemistry of Us

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Hongyun Tai

Overall aims and purpose

This module illustrates key chemical principles through the chemistry found in nature, including reactivity, intermolecular interactions, structure and function. Methods for isolations and characterisation of natural products will be studied (including data processing and use of databases). This is achieved through a mixture of lectures, workshops and in-course assignments and extended problem based learning exercise (Dragon's Den workshops).

Course content

This module introduces the major classes of biomacromolecules and medicinally active natural compounds and their relationships and relevant analytical techniques. Topics covered include an introduction to biomacromolecules (eg proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids), functional group chemistry of natural products, and a case study of medicinally active compounds. Trace elements, cofactors and vitamins will be introduced. A special emphasis will be placed on examples of chemistry relating to everyday life.

Course Team : Prof B Paizs, Dr H Tai, Dr L Murphy, Dr J Thomas The module comprises 15 hours lectures and workshops Dr Tai 6 hours lectures Prof Paizs 6 hours lectures Dr L Murphy 6 hours video lectures (timetabled directed self-study) 8 hours workshops (including 2 hours student presentations) Dr J Thomas

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS ESSENTIAL READING 1. Chemistry3 Burrows et al.* Publisher Open University Press (OUP) RECOMMENDED READING - None SPECIFIC RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS It is expected that students will purchase or have ready access to the essential text book above

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (40%) Knowledge and understanding of the content covered in the course is basic; Problems of a routine nature are generally adequately solved; Transferable skills are at a basic level.


Good (~60%) Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the programme and shows good evidence of enquiry beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


Excellent (>70%) Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the programme. Conceptual understanding is outstanding. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good.

Learning outcomes

  1. The student will be able to demonstrate presentation skills and team working within a group format

  2. The student will be able to relate properties of various functional groups to chemical properties such as nucleophilicity, hydrogen bonding ability and polarity. To recognise fundamental classes of natural product and be able to elucidate common features in their chemical properties.

  3. The student will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the importance of biomacromolecules, natural products, cofactors, vitamins and trace elements.

  4. The student will be able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding on isolation and structure elucidation of natural products.

  5. The student will be able to demonstrate a good basic understanding of the major classes of biomacromolecules, including where they are commonly found in nature, their general chemical properties and their constituent chemical building blocks.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Task 1 Dragons 25
Task 2 Workbook 8
Bioinorganic Chem class test 17
Examination 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The module has 22 hours of lectures, 8 hours computer workshops (staffed) and 4 hours of computer workshops (unstaffed).

The material of this module is delivered in workshops, directed self-study units and formal lecture type teaching allowing for the most appropriate learning mode for the cross-disciplinary content.


8 hours computer workshops (staffed) and 4 hours of computer workshops (unstaffed).

The material of this module is delivered in workshops, directed self-study units and formal lecture type teaching allowing for the most appropriate learning mode for the cross-disciplinary content.

Private study 66

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team

Subject specific skills

  • CC3 Skills in thePractical application of theory usingComputational methodology and models
  • CC4 the ability to recognise and analyseProblems andPlanStrategies for theirSolution
  • CC5 Skills in the generation, evaluation, interpretation andSynthesis ofChemical information and data
  • CC6 Skills inCommunicatingScientific material and arguments
  • CC7 information technology and data-processingSkills, relating toChemical information and data.
  • CC8 the ability to adapt and apply methodology to theSolution of unfamiliarProblems
  • CC9 the ability to assimilate, evaluate andPresent research results objectively
  • PS1 CommunicationSkills,Covering both written and oralCommunication with a variety of audiences
  • PS3 Problem-solvingSkills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • PS5 information location and retrievalSkills, in relation toPrimary andSecondary informationSources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS6 information technologySkills whichSupport the location, management,Processing, analysis andPresentation ofScientific information
  • PS7 basic interpersonalSkills, relating to the ability to interact with otherPeople and to engage in teamworking
  • PS8 time management and organisationalSkills, as evidenced by the ability toPlan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • SK1 are fullyConversant with major aspects ofChemical terminology
  • SK2 demonstrate aSystematic understanding of fundamentalPhysicochemicalPrinciples with the ability to apply that knowledge to theSolution of theoretical andPracticalProblems
  • SK3 gain knowledge of a range of inorganic and organic materials
  • SK4 demonstrate, withSupporting evidence, their understanding ofSynthesis, including related isolation,Purification andCharacterisation techniques
  • SK5 demonstrate an understanding of the qualitative and quantitative aspects ofChemical metrology and the importance of traceability
  • SK6 develop an awareness of issues withinChemistry that overlap with other relatedSubjects
  • CC1 the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts,Concepts,Principles and theories relating to theSubject areasCovered in theirProgramme
  • CC2 the ability to applySuch knowledge and understanding to theSolution of qualitative and quantitativeProblems that are mostly of a familiar nature
  • PS10 other relevant professional skills such as business awareness