Enrollment year
Academic year
Academic discipline
Cellule, tessuti e dispositivi
Year of study
1st semester (27/09/2021 - 21/01/2022)
Lesson hours
52 lesson hours
Activity type
VISAI LIVIA (titolare) - 2 ECTS
The fundamental prerequisites to be able to follow the Biochemistry course and fully understand its meaning are the passing of the General and Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry exams.
Learning outcomes
Educational objectives: The main objective of the course is to study the basic and more advanced aspects of biochemistry. Particular emphasis will be given to the aspects most closely related to biochemistry applied to bioengineering contexts.

Contents: The course will provide students with the structural characteristics of the most relevant macromolecules, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids, to understand the structure-function relationships of biomacromolecules. It will describe the key principles of the structure, kinetics and regulation of enzymes. It illustrates the basis for understanding the molecular mechanisms of cellular macromolecules. The molecular mechanisms of biological recognition will be illustrated. Furthermore, the main signaling and physical stimulation mechanisms involving cell adhesion and proliferation will be illustrated. Finally, the laboratory activity will complete the student's preparation.
Course contents
The course is divided into 3 parts, each by 2CFU carried out by 3 different teachers.
Furthermore, an experimental laboratory activity based on the extraction of proteins from cell cultures, assay of proteins and their separation by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis is also planned.


• CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS, FUNCTIONS, STRUCTURE AND METABOLIC ROLE OF THE MAIN BIOMOLECULES (sugars, lipids, amino acids, proteins, nucleic acids, and their derivatives);
• THE MECHANISMS OF PRODUCTION OF METABOLIC ENERGY AND THE ENERGY AND STRUCTURAL HOMEOSTASIS OF THE LIVING (General aspects, anabolism and catabolism, coupled reactions, high-energy compounds. Principles of bioenergetics. Structure and function of ATP, the mechanisms of production of ATP The main coenzymes involved in the metabolic pathways Anaerobiosis and aerobiosis The role of oxygen in metabolism ROS (production of reactive oxygen species and defense systems of the organism) Glutathione.
• METABOLIC INTERRELATIONS WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE BIO-MEDICAL FIELD (Metabolic inter-relationships between the various organs. Fasting-nutrition cycle. Hormonal regulation. Mechanism of action of protein and steroid hormones. The meaning of the second messengers. Biochemical aspects of human pathologies: diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, cancer (notes); The extracellular matrix).
• Signal transduction:
• Phases of the signal transduction process
• The fundamental characteristics of signal transduction systems
• The main signal transduction systems
• The G protein coupled receptor and transduction (effectors and second messengers)
• The enzyme receptors
• The controlled ion channels
• The intracellular receptors
• Cells - physical factors interaction:
• The adhesion receptors and their main characteristics
• Cell interaction - biophysical factors: signal transduction mechanism.
• Mechanosensors: integrins and signal transduction
• Physical and mechanical stimuli and their applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering
• Main biochemical techniques for the study of signal transduction

Prof. PAOLA DIVIETI (university of Boston, USA)
• Principle of bone biology (cellular components, matrix, development)
• Skeletal pathologies (Some examples like osteoporosis and osteopetropsis with emphasis more on the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and brief summary on what can be done therapeutically)
• Calcium and Phosphate Homeostasis (basic principle, hormonal regulations and some diseases)
• New players in skeletal biology SIK and HDAC (see Wein et al Nature communication) and PthrP (Bans current research)
• Mechanical forces and cellular responses (we can focus on bone and MSC and how the matrix stiffness affects cellular behavior (1hr) and then move on how mechanical forces regulates the skeleton in general (1hr) =
• Cross talk bone and HSC (current research and literature review) = (Prohibitions's current research)
• Bone and fat (current research and literature review) = (Divieti''s current research) (Hot topic)
• New approaches and strategies: in vitro (3D) and in vivo tools (cre-lox, lineage tracing, CRISPR / Cas9, E-Flut) and new genomic approaches (RNA-seq, single cell RNA-seq)
Teaching methods
The lectures consist of power point presentations in both Italian and English. In addition, videos illustrating the fundamental concepts of biochemistry are also provided. Finally, the experience obtained with short laboratory exercises allows the student to begin to understand the experimental settings in the biological field
Reccomended or required readings
-Le basi della biochimica. Con Contenuto digitale (fornito elettronicamente) (Italiano)
di Denise R. Ferrier, Zanichelli;
-I principi di biochimica di Lehninger. Con e-book
David L. Nelson,Michael M. Cox, zanichelli;
-Fondamenti di biochimica. Con e-book
Donald Voet,Judith G. Voet,Charlotte W. Pratt, Zanichelli;
-Harper's. Biochimica illustrata. Ediz. illustrata
Robert K. Murray,David A. Bender,Kathleen M. Botham, EMSI
Assessment methods
Written exam consisting of questions relating to both the lectures and the laboratory experience. There are no ongoing tests. The Biochemistry module consists of 6 CFUs and is part of the integrated course of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (9 CFU).
Further information
Internship places are available to carry out an experimental thesis of at least 1 year for students who have successfully passed the biochemistry exam. For contacts, the following email address is available:
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