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

Semester: Winter 2022

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


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

Course Objectives: 

  • Students will develop an advanced understanding of nucleic acid structure and function.
  • Students will develop an up-to-date knowledge of nucleic acid applications in medicine, biochemical analytics and molecular biology
  • Students will gather experience in analyzing recent literature and in presenting the results of their analysis in written and oral form.


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


The course grade will be based on a midterm exam and a term project (mini lecture, lecture notes, exam question).

Midterm exam                                40%       during regular class time.

Term Project                                  60%       (mini lecture 30%, lecture notes 10%, exam question 10% and Participation 10%)

Rules for Group Work in Assignments: All work on the term paper needs to be performed by each student on their own.

Late Submissions: Late submission of the term paper will be accepted until the last day of classes. Late submissions will have 25% of the mark deducted for each day or part of a day that the assignment is late. Assignments submitted after the last day of classes will receive a mark of 0%.




  • Mon: 7:00 pm - 9:20 pm in MacN 203/C2 278

Office Hours

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