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BIO2215 Clinical Biochemistry 1

Semester 2, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Robert Learmonth
Moderator: Mark Lynch


Pre-requisite: BIO1103


Graduates in Clinical Biochemistry interact with clinicians and other healthcare professionals to collect and interpret data from biochemical investigations. These investigations assist in determining the status of patients, diagnosis of disease and efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Graduates need the theoretical knowledge that underpins biochemical assays and the skill to analyse and interpret data against reference standards. Knowledge of the range of diseases for which biochemical assays are useful and application of appropriate assays is an essential component of work in this field.


This course builds on the foundations obtained in course BIO1103 Pathology Studies. The course provides an overview of normal and abnormal metabolic functions, including a review of nutritional requirement at the macro and micronutrient levels. The effect of physiological factors on in vitro data is discussed as well as the use of reference ranges. The role of normal functions of digestion in terms of processing proteins, carbohydrates and fats are discussed. The impact of disorders on metabolic processes is introduced with disease state of specific organs highlighted. The nature of specific manual laboratory tests and automated technologies are introduced, as is the need for an awareness of safety measures required to be taken in a clinical biochemistry laboratory.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. To provide an overview of the role of a clinical biochemistry laboratory in assisting diagnosis and monitoring disease states of patients;
  2. Describe the use of reference intervals in biochemical assays;
  3. Describe the physiological factors that may impact on biochemical assays;
  4. Analyse and interpret the significance of biochemical data;
  5. Describe the role of water, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids in the diet;
  6. Define and describe the role and digestive processes associated with uptake of micro and macronutrients, including vitamins and minerals in the diet;
  7. Analyse spectrometric data to determine concentrations of drugs an metabolites in patient samples;
  8. Be aware of the significance of gut hormones and provide an insight into digestive disorders;
  9. Describe the nature of control of water and electrolyte metabolism;
  10. Describe the role of plasma proteins and the application of protein separation technologies;
  11. Describe the mechanisms associated with control of acid-base balance and blood gases;
  12. Describe the theory, application and interpretation of key technologies used in a Clinical Biochemistry laboratory;
  13. Investigate relevant literature and prepare technical reports on aspects of Clinical Biochemistry;
  14. Discuss the safety issues relevant to a Clinical Biochemistry working environment.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Overview of clinical biochemistry
a. The role of the Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory
b. Analytical and physiological factors impacting on test results and interpretation of data
c. Interpretation of data
d. Safety in the clinical biochemistry laboratory
e. Methods of analysis
2. Nutrition
a. The “normal composition” of the human body
b. Overview of nutrition
c. Digestion
3. Nutritional disorders
a. Assessment of nutritional disorders
b. Monitoring nutrient and drug levels
c. Nutritional disorders
4. Control of water and electrolyte levels
a. Body water compartments
b. Regulation of body fluid compartment osmolarity and volume
c. Water metabolism
d. Sodium metabolism
e. Potassium metabolism
f. Chloride metabolism
5. Calcium metabolism
a. Calcium metabolism
b. Regulation of calcium metabolism
c. Disorders of calcium metabolism
6. Carbohydrate metabolism
a. Regulation of blood glucose
b. Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism
c. Clinical chemistry testing
7. Lipids
a. Lipid digestion and metabolism
b. Lipoproteins and lipid transport
c. Lipid disorders
d. Clinical chemistry testing
8. Plasma proteins
a. Total protein
b. Protein groups
c. Specific proteins
d. Clinical chemistry testing
9. Acid-base balance and blood gases
a. Acid-base control
b. Acid-base balance disorders
c. Clinical chemistry testing

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Kaplan, LA & Pesce, AJ 2010, Clinical chemistry, 5th edn, Mosby, NY.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Devlin, TM 2011, Biochemistry with clinical correlations, 7th edn, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
  • Gaw, A, Murphy, M J, Cowan, R A, O’Reilly, D St J, Stewart, M J & Shepherd, J 2008, Clinical biochemistry, 4th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.
  • Luxton, R 2008, Clinical biochemistry, 2nd edn, Scion Publishing, Oxfordshire.
    (ISBN 978 1904842 415.)
  • Marshall WJ and Bangert SK (eds) 2008, Clinical Biochemistry: metabolic and clinical aspects, 2nd edn, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier Ltd.
  • Nelson, DL & Cox, MM 2012, Lehninger principles of biochemistry, 6th edn, WH Freeman, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 30.00
Directed Study 52.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 62.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 20 20 16 Jul 2013 (see note 1)
Assignment 2 20 20 16 Jul 2013 (see note 2)
2HR Closed Examination Part A 30 30 End S2 (see note 3)
2HR Closed Examination Part B 30 30 End S2 (see note 4)

  1. Examiner to advise the end of semester due date for assignments.
  2. Examiner to advise the end of semester due date for assignments.
  3. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.
  4. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as tutorials) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course).

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit reports after the due date without prior approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the report may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  2. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.