Edge Hill University
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Structural, physical and chemical properties of amino acids - a Year 1 undergraduate self-paced workbook

educational resource
posted on 2024-01-11, 13:47 authored by Charlotte DodsonCharlotte Dodson

This self-paced workbook covers the basic structural, physical and chemical properties of amino acids. Content includes:

  • General amino acid chemical structure and carbon naming
  • Alpha, beta, gamma and delta amino acids
  • Stereochemistry of amino acids
  • Protonation state of amino acids
  • Properties of the sidechains of amino acids
  • Protonation state of amino acid sidechains
  • Hydrogen bonding of amino acid sidechains
  • pi-stacking of aromatic sidechains
  • Amino acid sidechains as chemical reactants

Reference tables of the chemical structures of the twenty proteogenic amino acids and the first few letters of the Greek alphabet are provided.

Throughout this workbook I have included a number of tasks for students to complete (highlighted in blue). These are of varying difficulty, but hopefully none of them is too onerous. The point of these tasks is to encourage to the student to engage in active learning and to think about the material as they work their way through the workbook. The intention is that active learning makes the students learn the material more deeply (better) and – in due course – makes revision much easier.

This workbook is suitable for Year 1 undergraduate students in biochemistry, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, pharmacology and related subjects and I use it in place of a formal didactic lecture for both pharmacy and pharmacology students. I deliver the material by making hard copies of the workbook available in the timetabled lecture slot and electronic copies available on the VLE. The material contained is examinable although attendance at the timetabled session is optional (approximately 50% of attending students choose to collect a workbook and complete this elsewhere). For those students who do stay, I am present and actively available throughout the 1 h timetabled session to check answers and for wider discussion. Answers to the workbook questions are posted at the end of the week.


Advance HE Fellowship status

  • Fellowship

Author's role

  • Academic staff

Accessibility status

  • Not accessible, or has not been checked