spring 2023
KJE-3201 Bioinorganic Chemistry - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Theoretical subject. The course is available as an elective independent of study program, and also to exchange students. The course is offered on condition that there is a minimum number of registered students.

Admission requirements

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) in Chemistry or equivalent. A thorough knowledge of elementary university-level organic and inorganic chemistry, corresponding to a grade of C or better in KJE-1002 and KJE-1004, will be assumed, as will a modest exposure to elementary biochemistry and NMR spectroscopy. A reasonable knowledge of elementary ligand field theory and organic reaction mechanisms will be assumed

Local admission, application code 9371 - singular courses at Master's level.

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

K-321 Bioinorganic chemistry 10 stp
KJE-8201 Bioinorganic chemistry 10 stp

Course content

The course will present a mechanistic perspective of the role of metals and metalloids in biology. After a short introduction to metal ion storage, transport, and homeostasis, the course will progress to a detailed discussion of redox metalloenzymes, particularly dioxygen metabolism. Early discussions will focus on dioxygen transport (myoglobin, hemoglobin, hemerythrin, hemocyanin), superoxide metabolism (superoxide dismutase and superoxide reductase), enzymes utilizing peroxide (peroxidases and catalases), dioxygen-activating enzymes (monooxygenases and dioxygenases), and cytochrome P450. Subsequent topics for discussion will include selected redox cofactors, particularly those present in various copper proteins, cytochromes b and c, iron-sulfur clusters, cobalamins, and molybdenum cofactors. Particular emphasis will be placed throughout on electronic-structural and mechanistic insights afforded by synthetic model systems. The course will conclude with a discussion of special topics, which will vary from year to year, depending on the interests of course participants and on recent happenings in the field. Examples of such topics include NO biology, arsenic toxicity, metallodrugs such as platinum anticancer drugs and technetium radiopharmaceuticals, aspects of the origin of life, etc.

Recommended prerequisites

KJE-1001 Introduction to chemistry and the chemistry of biology

Objectives of the course

The student should acquire the following knowledge, skills and competencies.


  • A broad knowledge of metalloprotein active sites and metal-containing cofactors and of metal-nucleic-acid interactions, as outlined in a standard textbook;
  • A detailed mechanistic knowledge of iron- and copper-containing enzymes involved in dioxygen metabolism;
  • A detailed mechanistic knowledge of specialized cofactors including iron-sulfur clusters, cobalamin, and molybdopterin;
  • Geometric and electronic-structural aspects of metal-NO interactions;
  • Aspects of metals in medicine, such as platinum anticancer drugs and technetium radiopharmaceuticals;
  • Aspects of environmental bioinorganic chemistry, such as arsenic toxicity


  • Have a convincing command of the basic facts of bioinorganic chemistry, particularly the major classes of metalloenzymes,
  • Ability to describe and discuss the geometric and electronic structures of bioinorganic systems in terms of ligand field theory;
  • Above all, to be able to propose and test mechanistic hypotheses for a wide range of metalloenzymes and model systems.

General competencies

  • To "think on one's feet" about the electronic structures and mechanisms of metalloenzymes and their synthetic models;
  • To be able to read the current bioinorganic literature and appreciate it from a mechanistic perspective.

Language of instruction and examination

The language of instruction is English and course material will be in English.

Teaching methods

Formal lectures: 24 h; Group discussions: 12 h; self-study of assigned reading material, including book chapters and review articles.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is open for inbound exchange student who meets the admission requirements, including prerequisites. Please see the Admission requirements" and the "Prerequisite" sections for more information.

Do you have questions about this module? Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty: https://en.uit.no/education/art?p_document_id=510412


Examination: Duration: Grade scale:
Oral exam 1 Hours A–E, fail F

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Passed written report/literature review Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

Students who fail the exam may register for a re-sit exam early in the following semester.

Re-sit examination

Students who have not passed the last ordinary exam may re-sit the oral exam the following semester.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: KJE-3201
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet