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Supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry


Supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry


Academic year 2022/2023

Course ID
BIO0153A Pds 308-BIDD
Prof. Giuseppe Ferrauto
Modular course
Degree course
[0101M22] Molecular Biotechnology
1st year
Teaching period
First semester
Related or integrative
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
CHIM/03 - general and inorganic chemistry
Formal authority
Type of examination
-General chemistry
-Basis of organic chemistry and biochemistry (functional groups, reactivity)
-Knowledge about physic of electromagnetic waves and interaction of light with matter
-Basis of cell and molecular biology

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

The course aims at introducing the students to the field of supramolecular chemistry with an emphasis on systems and applications for life sciences and life science technologies.

In particular, the goals is understanding the fundamentals of molecular recognition (host-guest), the interactions responsible for the formation of biological membranes and supramolecular systems  (e.g. lipidic vesicles, cyclodextrins, etc...) and on the role of metals in biological systems and medicine.

The student will be introduced to the principal classes of supramolecular systems (organic and inorganic systems of biological interest) together with the basis of the main techniques currently used for their characterization (DLS, microscopy,etc...)

A part of the course will be delivered with the method of "flipped classroom",  where students will be guided to  a personal and group in-depth study of a topic related to the course and the preparation of a power point presentation for the class.



Results of learning outcomes

- Knowledge of the nature of non-covalent interactions at the basis of the formation of supramolecular compounds which are held together by intermolecular bonds.

- Knowledge of the basic coordination chemistry and of the interdisciplinary approach to study the peculiar role of metals in biology and their interaction with organic and biological molecules.

-Basic knowledge of the roles of metals in biological systems and intermolecular interactions.

- Role of supramolecular compunds and nanosystems in biomedicine.


Course delivery

Il corso si articola in 20 ore di lezione di didattica frontale e 4 ore in cui gli studenti saranno relatori si piccole attività seminariali


20 hours  lesson + 4 hours seminars by students


Learning assessment methods

The final examination will consist into two parts:

1) personal or group (2-3 people) study of a topic choosen in agreemtn with the teacher.

Each student has to prepare a report  (power point presentation) on a supramolecular compound or class of coumpouds (natural or of synthesis) describing its supramolecular characteristics and applications.  There will be evaluated i) the capability to critically analyse the scientific litterature,ii) the knowledge of supramolecular chemistry mechanisms, iii) the capability to report and discuss data about the chosen topic, iv) the capability to apply chemical and biological knowledges to new topics.


2) An English oral exam about all the program.

During both the parts of the exams, the possess of the following soft skills will be evaluated: i) Communication, ii) Organisation, iii)Teamwork, iv) Critical thinking, v) Creativity.

The final mark is expressed in thirtieths and it will be the sum of the score obtained in the final oral examination plus the evaluation of the power point presentation. 


Support activities

The teacher is avaiable for any question and doubt though mail, face to face (if possible) or webex meetings



1.Supramolecular chemistry: definitions, key principles, nature of non-covalent interactions.

2.Hydrophobic supramolecules. Protein folding

3.Metal/ligand supramolecular compounds and the chelate effect. Applications in theranostic

4.Binding constants determination strategies

5.Examples of host-guest complexes: biotin/avidin interaction, cyclodextrin, dendrimers, micelles, liposomes

6.Natural and artificial lipid/polymeric systems for drug delivery and diagnosis: biomembranes, Micelles, Liposomes, PLGA, MSNs, RBCs

7.Molecular machines and nanorobot


9.Introduction to bioinorganic chemistry

Suggested readings and bibliography



1)Jonathan W. Steed, David R. Turner, Karl J. Wallace, ¸Core Concepts in Supramolecular Chemistry and Nanochemistry; Wiley, 2007.

2) JW Steed, JL Atwood Supramolecular Chemistry, Wiley, 2009.

3) RR Crichton Biological Inorganic Chemistry, Elsevier, 2013.

Additional readings

1) Papers and reviews will be suggested by the teacher during the course



Le modalità di svolgimento dell'attività didattica potranno subire variazioni in base alle limitazioni imposte dalla crisi sanitaria in corso. In ogni caso è assicurata la modalità a distanza per tutto l'anno accademico.

Il corso inizierà lunedì 10 ottobre alle ore 9.00  ( Aula Mendel) 


The methods of teaching deliver may undergo variations based on the limitations imposed by the current health crisis. In any case, the distance modality is guaranteed for the whole academic year.

The course will start on October 10Th, in Mendel teaching room. 

Students are required to register for the course both on campusnet ( and on the Moodle ( platform.

The didactic material will be present on both platforms.


Last update: 03/10/2022 07:03
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