Biochemistry is the discipline that focuses on the interactions of metabolic pathways mainly on the subcellular level. Intracellular biochemical processes are the basis of the hierarchical structure of life, from which higher-level emergent phenomena arise. In this module students will learn about the structure of proteins and how it affects their function as enzymes or transport systems embedded in membranes. The module is built around energy metabolism and biological information flow and how various metabolic pathways fit into this picture. Greater emphasis will be put on understanding principles over learning facts about specific reactions. Students will acquire a greater insight into the ancient question of what life is by the study of fundamental biochemical pathways shared by all living creatures today. This simple- looking question proved to be one of the yet unanswered (and maybe unanswerable) questions in biology. Perhaps the most general and consequently vague definition of all was given by Erwin Schrödinger, considering matter alive “when it goes on ‘doing something’, (…) for a much longer period than we would expect an inanimate piece of matter to ‘keep going’ under similar circumstances.” This reflects the challenge of formulating an all-encompassing definition of life in biology.
Module Leader:Nha Le