08956 - Clinical Biochemistry

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lessons the student has acquired knowledge on the most important metabolic pathways, the genetic regulation, the DNA duplication an transfer of informations. The knowledge acquired allows the student to apply practical and theoretical knowledge to clinical investigation.

Course contents

The Clinical Biochemistry course is part of the integrated course BIOCHEMISTRY AND VETERINARY CLINICAL MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. Upon completion of the integrated course, the student knows the molecular basis of life processes, including major metabolic pathways, and is able to appreciate their role in the clinical setting. In addition, he/she is able to perform basic biochemical laboratory activities.

The course includes 36 hours of lectures and 8 hours of practical activity. Two main topics will be considered: Information biochemistry and Intermediate metabolism.

  1. Biochemistry of information: DNA structure and duplication in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, role of telomerase; transcription of the message, promoter anatomy, RNA pol of Escherichia coli; outline of eukaryotic transcription and RNAm maturation; regulation of gene expression at the transcriptional and translational level; regulation in prokaryotes: lac operon. Message translation, genetic code, molecular anatomy of various RNAs, protein synthesis.
  2. Intermediate metabolism: basics of bioenergetics and thermodynamics, ATP and coenzymes; glycolysis and its regulation, glycogenolysis, esosomonophosphate shunt, Krebs cycle and its regulation, beta oxidation of fatty acids, respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation; amino acid catabolism and urea cycle; gluconeogenesis, and regulation, fatty acid synthesis. Basics of tissue biochemistry (muscle, liver, red blood cells, adipose tissue).

Laboratory activities: practical activities involve the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills related to precision and accuracy of an analysis and to simple biochemical methods (protein extraction and analysis using uv-vis spectrophotometry, protein separation). For each activity the appropriate PPE will be provided. Laboratory activities are carried out according to specific protocols and are reported in the personal laboratory notebook by each student. The laboratory notebook is checked periodically by the teacher to ascertain its correct management. These activities aim to develop both practical skills and soft skills.


The teaching material consists of the suggested textbooks (see below) and the material that can be found at the course website: Virtuale (unibo.it) [https://virtuale.unibo.it/]. The teacher has also prepared a series of texts that can guide students in preparing for the exam.

On the same site, the teacher provides supplementary material for further study.

The suggested textbooks are:

Champe et al, Le basi  della biochimica, Zanichelli,Bologna 2006

Campbell e Farrell , Biochimica ( EdiSES )
Nelson e Cox , I principi di biochimica di Lehninger (Zanichelli)

Teaching methods

Innovative teaching techniques will be applied, aimed at obtaining an active participation of the students.

1) Lectures. The lectures cover the theoretical part of the course and present the program in an organic way. When possible, the topics will be dealt with by starting from clinical cases and concrete situations related to veterinary practice. Some topics related to intermediate metabolism will be addressed with the problem-oriented approach.

2) Practical activity. Practical activities will be carried out in the laboratory, as reported in the Course content Section. It is mandatory to wear a gown for access to the teaching laboratory. When necessary, PPEs will also be provided for carrying out specific activities, such as single-use gloves and safety goggles. Students connected remotely will be guaranteed the opportunity to watch live coverage of all the practical activities that are carried out in order to understand how the individual steps of the different methods are carried out.

Considering the type of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of the practical activities  requires the performance of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode of specific training on safety and health in the workplace [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio] and the participation in module 3. Information on dates and modalities of attendance of module 3 are available in the appropriate section of the course website.

Please note that if in case of emergency conditions for Covid-19, all teaching activities may be carried out online.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher by e-mail to illustrate them and to organize the teaching and examinations in the most suitable way.

Assessment methods

1) Student evaluation

The class is part of an Integrated Course. The final score of the exam is based on the synthesis of the evaluations of the two classes of the integrated course.  The final mark will be proportional to the CFU of each teaching course (2/3 Clinical biochemistry and 1/3 Clinical molecular biology).

The exam of Clinical Biochemistry consists of a written test followed by an oral test. The written test includes the topics of the course: metabolic pathways, metabolic schemes, open questions and multiple choice questions. The duration of the written test is two hours. The exam is stuctured to assess the acquisition of the knowledge and competences required according to what is reported in the course program and their use in solving problems concerning the future professional profile. Particular attention is paid to the student's ability to establish links between the various parts of the program and to present using language appropriate to the subject. The maximum score obtainable is 30 cum laude. Students wishing to take the exam in English should  inform the teacher by e-mail at least two days before.

During the course, by prior agreement with the students, optional written test  consisting of multiple-choice, open-ended and true/false questions, may be instituted. If passed with a positive grade, it may represent part of the course evaluation.

Evaluation: The final grade refers to the achievement of educational objectives:

- preparation concerning a limited number of fundamental topics and ability to analyze that emerges only with the help of the teacher, overall correct language: 18-20;

- preparation on a limited number of fundamental topics covered in the course and ability to analyze the fundamental issues of metabolism and transmission of information, correct language: 21-24;

- preparation on a large number of topics, ability to make autonomous choices of critical analysis, mastery of specific terminology: 25-29;

- comprehensive preparation on all topics covered in the course, ability to make independent choices of critical analysis, deep knowledge of specific terminology: 30-30L.

It should be noted that if the emergency conditions for Covid-19 continue, the modalities of the final test may change.

2) Exam reservation and dates of exam sessions

Students can make a reservation of the exam at: (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm ). Studends that have regularly attended the course can take the exam at fixed dates within specific periods of the academic year. All the other students can take the exam in other dedicated dates. Student who fails the exam may take it again  three weeks after the previous attempt.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations, virtual labs, databases, practical laboratory work.

During the lessons digital tools will be used to support and integrate lectures, e.g. specific apps (Kahoot!) for conducting surveys and questioning sessions.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher by e-mail to illustrate them and to organize the teaching and examinations in the most suitable way.

Office hours

See the website of Gloria Isani