Fundamentals of basic sciences

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
BIO/10 FIS/07
Learning objectives
The Fundamentals of Basic Sciences course is aimed at providing students with fundamental elements of chemistry and physics that are relevant to medical doctors, a mandatory knowledge to understand metabolism processes, interactions between structure, chemical properties and function of compounds found in living organisms, and to create simple and manageable physical models that recapitulate complex phenomena in biological systems.
The chemistry module provides a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of general and bio-organic chemistry. The structure of this module meets the requirements of the area of life sciences and aims to offer a foundation for further study in chemistry-related disciplines such as biology and biochemistry.
The physics module offers an introduction to Physics focusing on medical applications. The focus of the lectures will be mostly on mechanics, thermodynamics and electrical phenomena, with a brief introduction to the importance of modeling and quantitative thinking in medicine and on feedback and control theory. The proposed approach is meant to privilege general concepts and ideas with strong applications toward understanding and explaining the working principles of the Human Body.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to achieve knowledge on:
- the carbon atom and the nature of its bonds
- chemical kinetics and energy. Chemical equilibrium (role of catalysts)
- nature and properties of aqueous solutions (osmotic pressure)
- acid/base equilibria and buffer solutions.
- redox reactions in inorganic and organic chemistry and related energy
- structures and chemico-physical properties of the principal class of organic compounds
- reactivity of the main classes of organic compounds
- structure, reactivity and function of the most relevant biomolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins)
- forces and biomechanics
- temperature, gases and breathing
- heat and metabolism, thermal motion, and molecular disorder
- electrical and magnetic phenomena
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

The teaching, given the current health situation, will be carried out entirely at a distance.
Prerequisites for admission
Students are presumed to have a good background in high school chemistry and are expected to have previous knowledge on the following subjects:
· basic structure of atoms.
· relative atomic and molecular mass
· the mole concept
· ionic and covalent bond
· balance chemical equations
· basic stoichiometric calculations
Prior knowledge of some important basic mathematics and physics concepts (see list below) will be given for granted at the course start. We strongly advise each student to carefully review the list below and to enter the classroom with a knowledge of the listed topics that is sufficient to attend proficiently the physics lectures.
· Mathematics: Powers and roots. Scientific notation. Decimal and significant figures. Solution of Algebraic Equations. Graphs. Plane Geometry and Trigonometric Functions. Series Expansions. Derivatives. Areas and volumes. The exponential function. Logarithms. Trigonometric identities. Integrals.
· Physics: Physical quantities and their measurement. Standards. Units and errors. Systems of units. The International system (SI). Vectors and operations with vectors (sum, difference and the three products)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Student assessment is based on two alternative tracks.
· Track A: combines the outcome of periodic assignments during the course and of a final exam in class during regular exam sessions. Both assignments and the written exam require access to the Connect platform. Periodic assignments ensure an increment up to 3 points on top of the final exam grade.
· Track B: combines the outcome of a final exam in class on the Connect platform and of an oral exam. This track is reserved to those students who did not complete the periodic assignments.
Periodic assignments
Throughout the course we will make use of graded and mandatory assignments, which are meant to cover large conceptual blocks of the course to assess the student understanding and progress. These assignments will be made available periodically.
Access to Track A will be subordinated to completion of all the periodic assignments, with a minimum score of 60% for each assignment. The increment originated from assignments will amount to a maximum of 3 points to be calculated as follows: 3 points for 100% total score, linearly decreasing to 0 points for 60% total score
The final evaluation will be expressed as a grade of out of 30. Finale grade will thus be thus calculated as:
· Track A - grade of the written final exam (if at least 18/30) + increment from the periodic assignments
· Track B - grade of the oral final exam (access to oral exam requires that the outcome of the written exam is at least 18/30)
The exam is deemed to be passed successfully if the final grade is equal to or higher than 18/30. In the event of a full grade (30/30) honors (lode) may be granted.
Registration to exams through SIFA is mandatory.
Chemistry and Introductory Biochemistry
Course syllabus
Lecture 1: Presentation of the course and discussion about Chemistry prerequisites
Lectures 2-3-4: Chemical bonds. Molecular and hybrid orbitals. Intermolecular forces
Lecture 5: Solutions: water as a solvent
Lecture 6: Chemical reactions and equilibrium
Lectures 7-8: Chemical reactions: kinetics and energy
Lectures 9-10-11: Acids, bases and buffer solutions
Lecture 12: Redox reactions
Lecture 13: Principles of electrochemistry
Lectures 14: Introduction to organic chemistry
Lecture 15-16: Isomers and stereoisomers
Lecture 17-18: Alkanes, halogen compounds and amines
Lecture 19-20: Alkenes, aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and thioalcohols
Lecture 21-22-23: Carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and polyfunctional compounds
Lecture 24: Lipids
Lectures 25-26-27: Carbohydrates
Lectures 28: Nucleosides, nucleotides and nucleic acids
Lectures 29-30: Amino acids and proteins
Teaching methods
· Tutorials: exercises, group activities
· Flipped classroom
· Team Based Learning
· Exam simulations
Teaching Resources
· Janice Gorzynski Smith, General, Organic, & Biological Chemistry, 4th Edition, Mc-Graw Hill Education 2019
Medical Physic
Course syllabus
Lectures 1-3: The nuts and bolts of medical physics
Lectures 4-7: Forces, Muscles, Bones and Physics of the Skeleton
Lectures 8-11: Motion, Energy and collisions
Lectures 12-15: Physics of the lungs and breathing
Lectures 16-18: Heat, thermal motion, molecular disorder
Lectures 19-20: Oscillations and feedback
Lectures 21-24 Electrical and magnetic phenomena
Teaching methods
· Tutorials: exercises, group activities
· Flipped classroom
· Team Based Learning
· Exam simulations
Teaching Resources
· Alan Giambattista, College Physics, 5th Edition, McGraw-Hill Education, 2019
These books will be used extensively throughout the course. In particular, assignments will be made available exclusively through the Mc Graw-Hill Connect platform and will be an integrative part of the assessment process (see Exam below). While the Connect platform will be made available by the University, students are thus strongly encouraged to purchase the books.
Chemistry and Introductory Biochemistry
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 60 hours
Medical Physic
FIS/07 - APPLIED PHYSICS - University credits: 4
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Cerbino Roberto