Core Organic C

Unit code: CHEM30412
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit?: N




Develop further understanding of synthetic and mechanistic organic and bioorganic chemistry with emphasis on reactive intermediates and biosynthetic pathways


Biosynthetic Pathways (Professor Andrew Doig, 8 lectures)

  • Introduction to Biosynthesis and Metabolism
  • Enzymes, Catalysis and Cofactors
  • Reactions of the Glycolysis pathway
  • Reactions of the Citric Acid Cycle

Reactive Intermediates (Dr Roger Whitehead, 8 lectures)

  • Introduction to Reactive Intermediates
  • What are radicals, carbenes, nitrenes, arynes?
  • Carbon-centred radicals structure and generation
  • Traditional and modern synthetic applications of carbon-centred radicals

Orbital Symmetry (Dr Daniele Leonori, 8 lectures)

  • Introduction to pericyclic reactions
  • Thermal cycloaddition reactions: Diels-Alder and dipolar cycloadditions – Molecular orbital analysis and stereochemical analysis
  • Photochemical cycloaddition reactions – Molecular orbital analysis and stereochemical analysis
  • Electrocyclic reactions stereochemistry of ring-opening and ring-closing – Molecular orbital analysis and stereochemical analysis
  • Sigmatropic rearrangements Cope and Claisen rearrangements – Molecular orbital analysis and stereochemical analysis

Learning outcomes

 Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

  • Understand the fundaments of metabolism, including reaction mechanisms and action of cofactors
  • Understand the mechanistic behaviour of reactive intermediates, particularly C-centred radicals
  • Be able to apply this understanding, in problem solving situations, to rationalisation of simple radical reactions as well as more complex syntheses
  • Understand the fundamental of molecular orbital analysis in pericyclic reactions
  • Be able to rationalise the stereochemical outcome of pericyclic reactions


Transferable skills and personal qualities

 Enhance transferable skills in the areas of problem solving and analysis

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 100%

Recommended reading


  • J McMurry, T Begley, The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways, Roberts and Co.
  • J Staunton, Primary Metabolism - A Mechanistic Approach, Clarendon Press
  • J P Clayden, N Greeves, S Warren and P L Wothers, Organic Chemistry, OUP, 2000
  • C J Moody, G H Whitham, Reactive Intermediates, Oxford Chemistry Primer 8
  • I Fleming, Pericyclic Reactions, Oxford Chemistry Primer 67

Feedback methods

Core tutorials and individual feedback from tutors/lecturers

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Tutorials - 3 hours
  • Independent study hours - 71 hours

Teaching staff

Andrew Doig - Unit coordinator

Roger Whitehead - Unit coordinator

Daniele Leonori - Unit coordinator

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