Postgraduate taught 

Chemical Biology MSc

Biomolecular Interactions CHEM5078

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will cover the fundamental driving forces that govern how molecules interact with each other, such as hydrogen bonding, aromatic interactions, and hydrophobic interactions. In each case examples will be discussed in both simplified model systems, and in real-world biomolecular cases. Biophysical methods for determining structure and interactions will also be described.


Content will be delivered through seven one-hour lectures, two one-hour tutorials and a one-hour workshop.

Excluded Courses



One 60 minute class exam on the lectured content (75%).

Additionally, students will write a short (ca 2000 word) essay on a specific example of molecular interactions

in the literature applying this as a basis of design (25%).

Course Aims

To gain a broad understanding of the inter- and intra-molecular forces that govern the interactions observed in biological systems. To understand in detail phenomena such as hydrogen bonding and aromatic interactions. To understand biophysical methods for determining structure and interactions. To gain an understanding of how potential for these interactions can be designed into small molecules as probes for biological systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Critically appraise the main classes of intermolecular interactions.

2. Critically evaluate interactions between molecules.

3. Design molecules that are likely to interact better with a biological system.

1. Describe and critically assess the use of biophysical methods.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.