The course aims to provide students with a general understanding of the biophysical principles, the experimental techniques and the theoretical models enabling a quantitative description of intra- and inter-molecular interactions of biomolecules, with a main focus on nucleic acids and polypeptides. Primary objectives of the course are the understanding of the thermodynamic basis of equilibrium and kinetic phenomena related to biomolecular binding and conformational dynamics, the knowledge of advanced experimental techniques to quantitatively address the relevant parameters describing these phenomena, and, through practical training on computer programming, the use of computational tools to test the agreement of theoretical models with experimental data. The course also aims to convey the methodological process of physics, as the basis of a quantitative description of bimolecular behaviour.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be able to: - apply the concepts of thermodynamic and kinetic modelling to describe the intra- and inter-molecular interactions of proteins and DNA; - describe the principles of fluorescence-based methods and biosensors to investigate biomolecular conformations and interactions at the nanoscale and correctly interpret and communicate results obtained with these methods; - design and apply quantitative models to interpret the behaviour of biomolecular systems. On successful completion of this course, students will gain: - a critical ability to quantitatively address the behaviour of biomolecules and complex biomolecular systems; - the capacity to access a wider scientific literature, addressing biological problems with biophysical tools and concepts, typically not included in a standard curriculum in biology.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)