Science at the heart of medicine

7004 Biophysical Methods

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this course is provide students with a working understanding of modern biophysical methods used to address major areas of investigation in biophysics, biochemistry, and structural and cell biology. Experts will present the theoretical concepts and practical applications of key biophysical techniques used to study the size/shape and dynamics of proteins, protein folding/stability, protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions, as well as low/high resolution structure and structural transitions, and the molecular mechanisms of catalytic and force-generating enzymes. The course will provide a comprehensive toolbox for deciphering molecular biological mechanisms, with approaches ranging from ensemble-based measurements to single-molecule assays. Students will learn enough about state-of-the-art methods to read papers in a knowledgeable manner, and to understand the strengths, weaknesses, limitations and complementarity of the different experimental approaches.


PREREQUISITES: Students should have at least 1 semester of physics and chemistry as undergraduates.

STUDENT PREPARATION: Students should attend the Fundamentals of Biophysics Course before signing up for the Biophysical Methods Course although exceptions can be made under certain circumstances.


UNIQUE TRAINING OFFERED IN THIS COURSE: This course provides Ph.D. students a critical working understanding of state-of-the-art biophysical experimental techniques and a forum for an active discussion about the applicabilities, limits and the complementarities of the methods discussed. The students will be provided with the knowledge needed to succeed and excel in an experimental laboratory setting. While some of the microscopy techniques discussed here are also introduced in the Quantitative Imaging of Cells Course (1032), this course will focus on their in vitro application.

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: Clicker-based in-class responses and mid course and final multiple-choice tests, followed
each by TBL sessions. Attendance and participation will be 33% of evaluation.