BNT-20806 Bio-Inorganic Chemistry


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. AH Velders
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. AH Velders
dr. A Bunschoten
Examiner(s)prof. dr. AH Velders
dr. A Bunschoten

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BIP-33806 Molecular structure and optical spectroscopy; BIP-23806 Atomic structure; ORC-11806 Analytical Methods in Organic Chemistry.

Continuation courses:

BSc Thesis; BNT-50806 BioNanoTechnology: Introduction; BNT-51306 BioNanoTechnology:Sensors and Devices; BNT-30306 Bionanotechnology: Nanomedicine; BIP-31806 Advances in Magnetic Resonance; BNT-52306 Metal Complex Coordination Chemistry & Characterization


This course deals with biological inorganic chemistry, discussing the presence and role of naturally and non-naturally occurring inorganic elements in biological systems. Focus is on d-block elements in various oxidation states and the molecular structure of corresponding coordination complexes considering variations in ligands and geometries. An introduction to f-block elements (lanthanide) complexes will also be given. The electron configuration and spectroscopic properties of metal complexes are evaluated with Crystal Field and Ligand Field theory. Various Magnetic Resonance (MR) spectroscopy techniques will be introduced (ESR, NMR and MRI) to evaluate the dynamics, structural properties and function of metal complexes. Homo- and heteronuclear NMR techniques will be taught with focus on nuclear spin-spin as well as electron spin-nuclear spin interactions. Homo and hetero 2D NMR techniques will be introduced, like COSY, NOESY, HSQC and HMBC. Special attention is paid to metal-ligand interactions in proteins and the structural and functional aspects thereof. The use of MR techniques to study biological systems will be explored including the application of paramagnetic metal complexes in such studies. The field of medicinal inorganic chemistry is addressed evaluating the metabolic transformation of metal-complexes in biological systems, with focus on metal-protein and metal-nucleic acids interaction. During laboratory classes diamagnetic and paramagnetic metal coordination complexes will be synthesized and analysed, linking MO theory to the (optical and magnetic) physical properties of metal compounds. It further provides training in the use of magnetic resonance and optical spectroscopic equipment, the interpretation of spectra resulting in the deduction of molecular structure and geometry.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the importance of inorganic chemistry (in particular d- and f-block elements) to biological systems;
- construct molecular orbitals of diatomic molecules and use them in MO diagrams of metal complexes;
- relate three acid-base definitions (Bronsted, Lewis, hard/soft) to metal complexes and metal oxidation states;
- see the relation between properties of complexes and the nature of the metal ions and ligands involved;
- demonstrate understanding of Crystal-Field and Ligand-Field theory assessing coordination compound MO diagrams;
- relate (photo)physical properties of d-block complexes to molecular structure interpreting Tanabe-Sugano diagrams;
- assess heteronuclear 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy in characterization of metal complexes;
- judge the structural and functional roles of metal ions in metalloproteins;
- assess coordination chemistry to topics in medicinal inorganic chemistry;
- synthesize and characterize first-row transition metal coordination complexes by 1D and 2D MR and optical spectroscopic techniques
- relate the various appearances of homo and heteronuclear spin-spin coupling in different NMR techniques.


Lectures and self-study, tutorials, laboratory experiments, reporting.


Written examination with open questions (80%), plus report on laboratory classes (20%). Fiinal mark is composed if both parts were marked with at least a 5.0, and the weighted average should be 5.5 or higher to pass.


Weller, Overton, Rourke en Armstrong, Inorganic Chemistry 7th edition, Oxford Univ. Press.

Compulsory for: BMLMolecular Life SciencesBSc6WD