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, 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.

  1. Communicator
  2. Advocate
  3. Scholar
  4. Professional
  5. Collaborator

All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.


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.

10–11 hours a week (120–132 hours per term).

Required Texts

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