Chemical Biology


This track draws on one of the great strengths in the department aimed at using molecular techniques to create and study new function in biological systems. This highly interdisciplinary field includes faculty from Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physical Chemistry, and involves collaborations with faculty in the departments of Biology and Bioengineering, as well as within the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the UCSD School of Medicine, the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Course Offerings:

  • CHEM 216 Chemical Biology (F)
  • CHEM 254 Mechanisms of Organic Reactions (F)
  • CHEM 256 Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules(W)
  • CHEM 257 Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry (S)


Course Descriptions

    CHEM 216 Chemical Biology (F)

    A discussion of current topics in chemical biology including mechanistic aspects of enzymes and cofactors, use of modified enzymes to alter biochemical pathways, chemical intervention in cellular processes, and natural product discovery. Prerequisites: graduate standing or consent of instructor. (May not be offered every year.)

    CHEM 254 Mechanisms of Organic Reactions (F)

    (Conjoined with Chem 154; formerly Chem 247.) A qualitative approach to the mechanisms of various organic reactions; substitutions, additions, eliminations, condensations, rearrangements, oxidations, reductions, free-radical reactions, and photochemistry. Includes considerations of molecular structure and reactivity, synthetic methods, spectroscopic tools, and stereochemistry. The topics emphasized will vary from year to year. This is the first quarter of the advanced organic chemistry sequence. Chem 254 students will be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 154. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (154), or graduate standing (254).

    CHEM 256 Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules (W)

    (Conjoined with Chem 156.) Introduction to the measurement and theoretical correlation of the physical properties of organic molecules. Topics covered include molecular geometry, molecular-orbital theory, orbital hybridization, aromaticity, chemical reactivity, stereochemistry, infrared and electronic spectra, photochemistry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Chem 256 students will be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 156. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (156), or graduate standing (256).

    CHEM 257 Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry (S)

    (Conjoined with Chem 157.) A comprehensive survey of modern bioorganic and natural products chemistry. Topics include biosynthesis of natural products, molecular recognition, and small molecule-biomolecule interactions. Chem 257 students will be required to complete additional course work beyond that expected of students in Chem 157. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (157), or graduate standing (257).