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Course Descriptions

BIOL 59500X Methods & Measurements in Biophysical Chemistry

Session Offered:

Fall Credit 3.0


PHYS 22100 PHYS 23400 or PHYS 27200 and 27200 and MA 16200 or 16600 


This course is intended as an introduction to physical methods in biochemistry and aims to provide an understanding of the techniques of spectroscopy, diffraction, magnetic resonance and other physical methods.  The purpose of the course is to expose students to the application of these techniques to specific problems in biological systems, the interpretation of the resulting data, and analysis of the strengths and limitations of each technique.  Examples from research articles will be discussed that illustrate how these methods are used in modern biochemistry.  Given the scope of the course, each topic will be treated only at the level of an introduction to the method.  Students interested in studying these techniques in-depth could then take more specialized or advanced courses such as BIOL 51100/51400/61100 (x-ray crystallography), CHEM 61500/61600 (Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy), BIOL 59500 (Electron microscopy and 3D reconstruction), or other special topics courses to be offered by the faculty.  Analysis of techniques used in physical measurements of biological systems.  Application of these techniques to studies of structure and dynamic behavior of biological macromolecules, composition and orientation of structural elements and cofactors, ligand binding and conformational change in biological interactions and detailed probes of local changes in structure, solvent accessibility and specific bonds formed in biological reactions. Specific techniques to be covered are:  UV/Vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism, IR and Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence and single particle methods, analytical ultracentrifugation, surface plasmon resonance, scattering, x-ray crystallography, NMR and ESR spectroscopy, electron microscopy, mass spectroscopy.   Comments:  Although designed for students in biochemistry and biophysics, this course is also appropriate for upper level undergraduates and graduate students in the areas of chemistry and physics who are interested in the applications of physical methods to biological problems.





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