CHEM 731/7310-02 - Nucleic Acid Chemistry

Semester: Fall 2022

Professor: D. O'Flaherty | Discipline: Biochemistry | Campus: Guelph


This course provides students with general and specific aspects of selected key areas in bio-organic chemistry including with an emphasis on nucleic acids:

  1. Structure and reactivity of nucleosides(tides), nucleic acids (roughly 80-90 % of course material)
  2. Structure and reactivity of amino acids, peptides, proteins (roughly 10-20 % of course material)

Course Objectives

  • to learn and demonstrate familiarity with nucleic acid and peptide chemical structures and reactivity
  • to outline effective laboratory syntheses nucleic acid and peptide from simple(r) chemical structures
  • to learn and recognize the fundamental fragments and reactions leading to the (bio)synthesis of various families of natural products (e.g. nucleic acids, peptides); -to recognize the fundamental reactions that lead to the assembly of various chemical bonds (e.g. carbon bonds to carbon, nitrogen and oxygen)
  • to learn some of the fundamental aspects of medicinal chemistry, particularly those involving chemical structure features and adaptions required to optimize drug activity of nucleic acids
  • (if time permits) effectively understand and communicate the numerous considerations between drug lead discovery and bringing a drug to market.


There is no text for this course. The course instructor will provide references as required by way of CourseLink and the library reserve desk. Course notes will be available for some chapters. Templates will be made available when possible. References are distributed liberally throughout the course notes.


Problem set 15 %


Class Test 20 %
Presentation (individual) 15 %
Research proposal 20 %




Specific Course Content

Part I: Development of nucleic acid chemistry, medicinal chemistry of nucleosides, heterocyclic assembly, synthetic approaches to DNA and RNA, oligonucleotides uses and applications, recognition of nucleic acids, nucleic acid topology and structure.

Part II: Amino acids, peptides, and protein structure. Amino acid and peptide synthetic assembly.


  • Mon: 8:30 am - 9:20 am in MCKN 228
  • Wed: 8:30 am - 9:20 am in MCKN 228
  • Fri: 8:30 am - 9:20 am in MCKN 228

Office Hours

Office: MacN 127 Phone: 519-824-4120 (Ext.53962) E-mail: [email protected] Email questions of a scientific nature MUST be accompanied by a diagram (can simply be a picture of something drawn) Wednesday: 8:30 – 9:00 pm Friday: 12h30 – 1:30 pm