CHEM 731/7310-01 - Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function

Semester: Winter 2023

Professor: T. Dieckmann | Discipline: Biochemistry | Campus: Waterloo


Discussion of specialized topics related to the research interests of the members of the Centre. For example, recent offerings have included: Metalloproteins and Metalloenzymes; Heme Proteins; Chemistry of Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms; Peptides – Synthesis, Structure and Function; Food Enzymology; Advanced Microbial Physicology; NMR in Biological Systems.

Course Description:

This course covers advanced topics in structure and function of nucleic acids.

Among the topics discussed are:

  • Basic principles of DNA and RNA chemistry, biochemistry and structure
  • Analytical methods used for the study of nucleic acids
  • Biochemical methods for the study of nucleic acids including SELEX
  • Structure determination of nucleic acids by NMR spectroscopy
  • Nucleic acids in medical applications
  • Nucleic acid nanotechnology
  • Nucleic acids in molecular biology

Lectures of the covered material in weeks 1-8 and student presentations in weeks 9-12.


No materials required.

All material needed will be provided in class and via the class website.


Component Value
Term test (3/14) 40%
Term Project: Mini Lecture 30%
Term Project: Lecture Notes 10%
Term Project: Exam Question 10%
Term Project: Participation 10%

 All work on the term paper needs to be performed by each student on their own.


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

have an advanced understanding of nucleic acid structure and function
have an up-to-date knowledge of nucleic acid applications in medicine, biochemical analytics and molecular biology
analyze recent literature and present the results of their analysis in written and oral form


  • Mon: 10:30 am - 11:20 am in EV3 4408
  • Wed: 10:30 am - 11:20 am in EV3 4408
  • Fri: 10:30 am - 11:20 am in EV3 4408

Office Hours

Thorsten Dieckmann, ESC 227, by appointment, [email protected] ; ext 35036