Third year optional modules : Bio-Inorganic and Advanced Coordination Chemistry
This module was the final optional module I took this year that was assessed by exams. Unlike Communication Science and Bioorganic Chemistry, this year Bio-Inorganic was assessed solely by an 1.5 hr exam at the end of term two.
I tend to perform better in exams than coursework, but I found this to be a hard exam in terms of content. Personally I’m now wishing I’d had some coursework in this module to make me more confident of the result I’ll be getting at graduation! However, despite this being a tricky module with lots to learn, I thought it was one of the most interesting ones I took this year.
I’m really interested in how chemistry is used in medicine, and this module had plenty of content addressing metals are used in cancer drugs, diagnostics, radiation therapy, and proteins, as well as some classic coordination chemistry and inorganic mechanisms.
This year, the module was split into four distinct sections with four different lecturers, although each section wasn’t equally weighted. The first and largest section focussed on metals in protein folding and how metals are needed, used and stored by the body. How each metal deficiency can effect the body is now etched into my brain!
The second was a shorter section which covered metalloenzymes, and how iron is transported in the body. I’m unsure whether second year chemists still take the Introduction to Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, but personally I found a lot of overlap with this module and the second section. While this part only took a couple of lectures, I loved it, partly because I found it so similar to the BioMed Chem from last year, which was one of my favourites.
Thirdly, there was a section on f-block metals, lanthanides and actinides. I found this interesting as while it built on standard inorganic chemistry, it covered an area of the periodic table we hadn’t previously studied. As with all of this information, content and modules can change year to year, but this year at least, this section was the most similar to the core Transition Metal Chemistry: Structure, Reactivity and Organometallic Chemistry module I took in second year. If you loved microstates last year, you would have loved Bio-Inorganic this year!
Finally, was the section on metals in medicine – think cancer drugs, radiotherapy, and lots of weird and wonderful metal-based treatments for various diseases. I loved this section not only because I could see the real-world significance, but also becasue we got to learn about some of Warwick’s own research! Professor Peter Sadler from the chemistry department is a big name in organometallic cancer drugs, and this year we were able to learn about the mechanism of action of some of them which was so interesting.
Compared to the other modules I took this year, this one had the most content by far, with a lot I simply had to sit down and learn. I’m not normally a fan of exams just being memory tests, and this exam (this year at least) had a lot of random facts that you just needed to recall off the top of your head. Despite this, I definitely found there to be a trend in the exam questions, and think that even though I found the exam I was given to be really hard, hard work and good preparation pays off in the end.