Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​​​​​For a complete description of our undergraduate programmes, we refer​ you to the Faculty of Science Yearbook.​​

Second-year modules

​214 (16) Biomolecules: Structure-function Relationships (3L, 3P) 

Please note: Students intending to take Biochemistry as a subject are required to take modules in Biology, Physics and Mathematics during their first year. Chemistry 124 plus Chemistry 144 are taken as the first-year equivalent of Biochemistry. 

Structures, characteristics and functions of bio-molecules (bio-elements, water, nucleic acids, proteins, enzymes, coenzymes, carbohydrates, lipids). 

​​Prerequisite pass modules: 

  • Chemistry 124 or 164, 144 
  • Biology 124 

244 (16) Intermediary Metabolism (3L, 3P) 

Bioenergetics; metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and nitrogenous compounds; integration of metabolism. 

Prerequisite module: 

  • Biochemistry 214 

Third-year modules

315 (16) Biophysical and Structural Protein Biochemistry (3L, 3T) 

Advanced protein biochemistry: Protein structure/function relationships studied in the context of a number of specialised complex protein systems and enzymatic reaction mechanisms. Basic protein purification techniques and analysis of protein purity, composition and structure. 

Analysis of biological molecules and processes with light, fluorescence, infrared, Raman and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, circular dichroism, optical rotatory dispersion, isotope-dependent techniques, advanced gel electrophoresis and chromatographic techniques This module must be passed to be considered for selection to do BScHons in Biochemistry. 

Prerequisite pass modules: 

  • Biochemistry 214, 244 
  • Mathematics (Bio)124 or Mathematics 114 

323 (8) Systems Biology (3L, 3T/3P) 

Thermodynamics and kinetics of biochemical processes; enzyme kinetics; kinetics of membrane transport processes; kinetics of coupled-reaction systems; metabolic control analysis; supply-demand​ analysis of metabolic regulation; mathematical modelling; types of models; modelling with differential equations; examples of models. 

Prerequisite pass modules: 

  • Biochemistry 214, 244 
  • Mathematics (Bio) 124 or Mathematics 114 

345 (16) Specialised Biochemical Topics (3L, 3T) 

Selected topics chosen from the following (three of the following four topics are selected for presentation every year): 

Antibiotics: The biochemistry of selected antibiotics and antimicrobial agents. 

Intracellular signal transduction pathways: receptors; hormones; cAMP; networks and cross talk; biochemistry of vision; biochemistry of smell. 

Immunology: Innate and specific acquired immunity; antibody structure and function; defence mechanisms against pathogenic organisms; vaccinations; allergies; immune disorders; AIDS. 

Eukaryotic gene expression: Transcription and control of gene expression, promoters and enhancers, and transcription factors. 

This module must be passed to be considered for selection to do BScHons in Biochemistry. 

Prerequisite modules: 

  • Biochemistry 315 
  • Bioinformatics 312 
  • Biochemistry 323 or Bioinformatics 322 

353 (16) Food and Beverage Biochemistry (3L, 3P) 

The biochemistry of enzymes and proteins in food production and spoilage. The characteristics, applications and analysis of enzymes and proteins involved in food production and spoilage. The effect of enzymes and proteins and their interactions in foods on the nutritional value, sensory quality and safety of food products. 

Prerequisite pass modules: 

  • Biochemistry 214, 244 

Prerequisite module: 

  • Applied Chemistry 334 

365 (16) Practical protein expression, purification and analysis techniques (3L, 3P) 

Recombinant protein expression and protein purification techniques. Analysis of protein purity and integrity. Techniques include: plasmid DNA isolation, PCR, restriction enzyme digests, agarose gel electrophoresis, preparation of competent cells, transformation, induction of protein expression, gel permeation chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, immobilised-metal affinity chromatography, protein concentration determinations, SDS-PAGE, western blot, activity assays and spectrophotometric analyses. 

Practicals will be presented during the recess periods, specifically during a) the week before the 2nd semester officially starts, and b) the recess between the 3rd and 4th terms. Students registering for this module declare that they are available during both these periods. 

Prerequisite modules: 

  • Biochemistry 315 
  • Bioinformatics 312 
  • Biochemistry 323 or Bioinformatics 322

Modules presented by the Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology 

312 (8) Introduction to Bioinformatics (3L, 3P) 

Introduction to bioinformatics topics, including biological databases, sequence alignment, dynamic programming, scoring matrices, BLAST, hidden Markov models (HMMs), phylogenetics, tree building methods, genome organisation and evolution, genome projects and browsers, evolution of proteins, classification of protein structures. 

322 (8) Intermediate Bioinformatics (3L, 3P) 

Different BLAST methods, next-generation sequencing technologies, genome assembly, Eulerian paths and cycles, de Brijn graphs, reference genomes, reference genome graphs, three dimensional structures of genomes, read mapping, Burrows-Wheeler transform, variant calling, genome-wide association studies, mapping variants to phenotypes and disease, hidden Markov models (HMMs), the forward–backward algorithm, the Vitterbi algorithm, protein homology modelling, molecular dynamics, ligand docking. 

Prerequisite module: 

  • Bioinformatics 31​2

​Biochemistry as major for the BSc degree

The following modules are compulsory: Biochemistry 214(16), 244(16), 315(16), 345(16), 365(16), Bioinformatics 312(8), and Biochemistry 323(8) or Bioinformatics 322(8).