Queen's University
BCHM 270 Biochemical Basis of Health and Disease

This course will introduce general biochemical concepts that will allow for an understanding of the biological and chemical principles underlying human physiology, health and disease. The course will provide self-paced learning and utilize evidence-based teaching principles, small group learning, peer-learning, and guided-independent learning methodologies to provide an inclusive learning environment. Students will gain an enhanced appreciation of general applications of biochemistry as applied in day-to-day healthy life and during the disease states, diagnosis and clinical management of metabolic disorders.

Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing , 4U Biology recommended, and (PHGY 170/3.0) or (BIOL 102/3.0), or permission of the instructor.

For non-BHSc students

  • No more than 3.0 units from BCHM 102/3.0 and BCHM 270/3.0
  • May not be taken with or after BCHM 315/3.0 or BCHM 310/6.0

After completing BCHM 270 Biochemical Basis of Health and Disease, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the structures and functions of the major classes of biochemical molecules in the body and explain how they are synthesized and broken down in metabolism.
  2. Explain the concepts of regulation by inhibition and activation at the enzyme level, and extend these concepts to describe biochemical pathway regulation in the processes of metabolism at the level of the cell, organ, and body in health and disease.
  3. Collaborate and communicate an understanding of the biochemical basis of an error in metabolism, including current and future diagnosis and treatments.
  4. Integrate the roles of biochemical molecules and their associated processes to explain the consequences of a change in a particular biochemical process in health and disease.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Biotechnology: An Ethical Discussion (LO 1, 3)

The purpose of this assignment is to collaborate to provide a well-researched and organized argument in support of a viewpoint of a controversial topic in biochemistry. The assignment will enhance professional and collaborative work, which will be applicable in the future when working with colleagues. Acting as an advocate will also improve communication skills and acquiring up to date information on the topic will prepare the student to be an active scholar
in the field of biochemistry.

Assessments 2 and 3 – Homework and Group Discussions (LO 1 – 4)

For these assessments, students will have the chance to discuss and further their understanding of concepts introduced in the course modules. These assignments will have components for both individual and group work. By completing these assignments, students will solidify and expand on their understanding of complex concepts and strengthen their ability to work in groups. There will be seven homework and discussion assignments, each worth 1.5% each, related to the content of seven course modules.

Assessment 4– Written Report (LO 1 – 4)

The purpose of this assignment is to research a genetic disease to discover its underlying biochemical basis. Students will develop an understanding of the disease and be able to relate this knowledge to module content. Students’ first draft will be reviewed by peers and constructive feedback will be provided to allow students to improve the final submission of their report. Students will develop the skills necessary to perform independent research and evaluate the quality of primary literature, as well as the ability to write about scientific topics required for many healthcare, research, and policy-related careers.

Assessment 5 – Midterms (LO 1, 2)

Two midterms will cover content from the first two-thirds of the course, in order to ensure student comprehension of content presented up to each point. The midterm will be comprised of well developed multiple choice and/or short answer questions to assess student comprehension of the topics covered.

Assessment 6 – Final Exam (LO 1, 2)

The final exam is cumulative, covering all course content (Modules 1 – 7), with slightly more weight given to the last third of the course. It will be comprised of both multiple choice and short answer questions designed to assess student understanding of key concepts explored in the course.

Required Texts

BCHM 270 course notes via modules posted online and select readings made available by the instructor.

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for BCHM 270 Biochemical Basis of Health and Disease, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.