Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code CHEM486
Coordinator Dr AJ Carnell
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



The aim of this module is to provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the application of enzymes and how to apply them in organic synthesis. Students will gain insight into modern methods of mutagenesis for enzyme optimisation and also cutting edge approaches to designing artificial enzymes and assemblage of cascade pathways for synthesis.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, students should be able to understand how enzymes can be applied in organic synthesis.

(LO2) By the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of how genes encode enzyme 3Dstructure

(LO3) By the end of the module, students should be able to understand factors governing the selection of biocatalyst and biocatalyst type.

(LO4) By the end of the module, students should be show an understanding of cofactor requirements and recycling strategies in redox biotransformations.

(LO5) By the end of the module, students should show a knowledge of the advantages and limitations in the application of biocatalysts.

(LO6) By the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of enzyme immobilization methods.

(LO7) By the end of the module, students should be able to show an understanding of basic molecular biology and use for mutagenesis and directed evolution methods to improve enzyme activity or selectivity.

(LO8) By the end of the module, students should have an appreciation of new approaches for creating artificial enzymes.

(LO9) By the end of this module studenst should be able to understand how enzyme reactions can be assembled into multistep cascade synthetic pathways

(S1) Students will develop their chemistry-related cognitive abilities and skills, ie abilities and skills relating to intellectual tasks, including problem-solving as required by the Chemistry subject benchmark statement. In particular, at master's level, they will gain the ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

In 2020/21, this module will be delivered online via approx. 32 asynchronous videos (20 minutes, 3 per week) and 2 x 1hr workshop sessions. Case studies from industry will be used to demonstrate the applicability of the principles . There will be embedded quizzes in the lecture material for students to test their knowledge. The two workshops will be synchronous, face to face if this is possible, timetabled in weeks 4 and 10. They will consist of sets of tutorial style questions for students to attempt before and during the workshops. Each week a drop-in office hour session will be timetabled so that students can join for questions and discussion, alongside a module discussion board.  There will be a class test in week 6 to consist of exam-style questions and this will count for 20% of the final mark. This will allow students to demonstrate their understanding and application of the material. Outline answers will be available in CANVAS.  It is recognised that self- study will be important for students in this module.



• Introduction to enzymes – structure and function.

• Introduction to reaction types which can be carried out using enzymes.

• Sources and selection of enzymes.

• Immobilisation of enzymes.

• Chiral selectivity: kinetic resolutions, E value, prochiral and meso substrates.

• Hydrolytic reactions: lipases, application in pregabalin synthesis, esterases, proteases, nitrile hydratases, epoxide hydrolases.

• Reactions in organic solvents: using lipases and proteases in reverse - applications in industry.

• Dynamic Kinetic Resolution (DKR)

• Biological redox cofactors: NAD(P)H and FAD.

• Reduction reactions: asymmetric reductions using alcohol dehydrogenases, applications in pharmaceutical synthesis, chiral selectivity and Prelog’s Rule, ene reductases, imine reductases.

• Oxidation reactions: alcohols and a ldehyde oxidases, P450 bio-hydroxylation, Baeyer Villiger oxidation, demethylation.

• Carbon-carbon bond forming reactions: asymmetric aldol reaction, application in pharmaceutical synthesis, acyl group transfer.

• Introduction to molecular biology and microbiology for biocatalysis, mutation techniques

• Directed evolution of enzymes: Creating designer enzymes using molecular evolution.

• New Developments and future prospects: artificial enzymes, synthetic biology pathways for synthesis.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 16


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 57


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
time--controlled online exam  2 hours + 1 hour for    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
time-controlled online written class test  2 hours    20