First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCN1032659, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1177, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination APPLIED BIOCHEMISTRY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge PAOLA COSTANTINI BIO/10

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/10 Biochemistry 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 3.0 48 27.0 No turn
Lecture 3.0 24 51.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/02/2019
End of activities 14/06/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 BIOCHIMICA APPLICATA 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 COSTANTINI PAOLA (Presidente)
SZABO' ILDIKO' (Membro Effettivo)
LEANZA LUIGI (Supplente)
7 BIOCHIMICA APPLICATA 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 COSTANTINI PAOLA (Presidente)
SZABO' ILDIKO' (Membro Effettivo)
LEANZA LUIGI (Supplente)
6 BIOCHIMICA APPLICATA 2017/2018 01/10/2017 25/11/2018 COSTANTINI PAOLA (Presidente)
SZABO' ILDIKO' (Membro Effettivo)
LEANZA LUIGI (Supplente)

Prerequisites: A strong knowledge of structural and metabolic biochemistry is an essential requisite to fully acquire the contents of both lessons and laboratory sessions.
Target skills and knowledge: The main goal of the course is focused on the applications of the biochemical principles in medicine, particularly related to the metabolism and to the enzymatic alterations causing its dysregulation/dysfunction in selected examples. Several diagnostic enzymatic tests widely used in clinical biochemistry are presented and discussed by means of both theoretical lessons and practical laboratory sessions.
For this reason, the knowledge/notions and the skills expected for the course of Applied Biochemistry, in all its sections, are the following:
1. to be able to describe how a biochemical alteration modifies a metabolic pathway and the way by which this alteration can be early detected by means of specific analytical tests:
2. to possess a wide knowledge on the biochemical tests usually applied in laboratories of clinical analysis for the early diagnosis of metabolic diseases as well as other pathologies involving an alteration of hemato(bio)chemical parameters;
3. by combining the results obtained by single groups of students during the practical sessions with the contents of lessons focused on the laboratory data acquisition method, to be able to critically discuss the concept of analytical variability and its impact on the diagnostic procedures;
4. to increase the capability to work at the bench (in complete autonomy as well as in a small team) applying several biochemical techniques, both basic and more advanced;
5. by means of the own choice of a scientific paper related to the contents of the course and exposed to the class as a Journal Club, to increase the capability to do in-depth analysis of a biochemical topic of interest and the aptitude to establish links with the other subjects previously addressed.
Examination methods: To verify the expected knowledge and skills, a written test is provided, with five open questions concerning both the topics of the lessons and the laboratory sessions. Students have two hours to complete the questionnaire.
Assessment criteria: To verify the achievements of the expected knowledge and skills, the following evaluation criteria will be applied:
1. the degree of knowledge, learning and understanding of the discussed topics;
2. the capability to apply the biochemistry theoretical principles to practical clinical examples;
3. the aptitude to present and discuss selected scientific papers by means of Journal Clubs.
Course unit contents: Lessons (24 hours)
Clinical biochemistry
- The goals. Diagnosis and prognosis of diseases. The main metabolic processes of biochemical-clinical interest.
- The main hereditary metabolic deseases, particularly related to diagnosis and therapies.
- Clinical enzymology (8 hours)
i) The enzymes as analytical reagents (the immunoenzymatic assays in clinics); ii) the enzymes as diagnosis markers (measurements/monitoring of enzymes in the clinical laboratories); iii) enzymes as therapeutical reagents(i.e.: use of asparaginase for the treatment of ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia).
- Production of proteins of medical interest (diagnosis, therapies, vaccines) by means of genetic engeneering.
Methods for the formulation of laboratory data (4 hours)
Causes of analytical variability in the diagnostic tests (pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical factors). Operative features of the diagnostic tests.
The interpretation of the diagnostic test analytical data (sensitivity and specificity, the "problem" of false positive/negative, ROC curves, predictive value of a diagnostic test).
Theoretical introduction to the laboratory sessions (2 hours)
Laboratory sessions (36 hours)
- Quantification of urea nitrogen and lactic acid in the serum by means of coupled enzymatic assays (4 hours)
- Quantification of glucose and creatine-kinase in the serum by means of coupled enzymatic assays (4 hours)
- Analysis of lactate-dehydrogenase activity by activity stain on agarose gel (8 hours)
- Electrophoretic analysis of lactate-dehydrogenase by SDS-PAGE and western blot (8 hours)
- Bi-dimensional electrophoresis of a protein extract from E. coli (8 hours)
- Purification of a recombinant protein by NiNTA technology (8 hours)
Journal Clubs (10 hours)
Selection of a scientific article focused on topics of biochemical/clinical interest presented during the lessons, elaboration by small groups and oral presentation.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course combines theoretical lessons, in which the contents of the lessons are described by showing powerpoint files to the students, with laboratory sessions, in which the students are divided in groups of three persons (max four), in order to allow an active contribution to all the experiments planned by the teacher. These laboratory experiences are introduced by a lesson in which the experimental approach is described in terms of theory and procedures and of potential biomedical applications; in a further lesson the results obtained by the different groups are shown and discussed/compared. Moreover, Journal Club sessions are organized with the main goal to promote the knowledge and the capability to learn, understand and apply this knowledge (by reading reviews, looking for bibliographic material, also on line, referring to text books). Team works are aimed at improving capability of evaluation (critical discussion of the obtained results) and ability to talk to other people (oral presentation of a paper).
Additional notes about suggested reading: No books are required. Slides, papers and files containing description/protocols of laboratory sessions are provided by the teacher by a daily loading on the Moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education