Dynamics of Biomolecules and Cells


Course Objective

Learning objectives
* Understand the physics underlying the biological problems and
biophysical research methods
featured in this course
* Be able to explain how these methods can be exploited to address
specific biological problems and identify strengths and weaknesses of
methods in biological context
* Critically reflect on your understanding of methods application in
assigned literature and formulate relevant questions
* Analyze scientific literature that uses the discussed methodologies to
addresses biological problems and reflect on suitability of used methods
* Communicate and present your literature analysis and critically
reflect on analyses by other students

Course Content

Life is, by its very definition, a dynamic quantity. In this course an
overview is given of current biophysics, biophotonics, and biomedical
research fields that investigate the dynamic processes that take place
in biomolecules, membranes, cells and tissues and are indispensable for
biological functionality. This course aims to highlight the 'what',
'why' and 'how' of these research fields: what are the established and
new biophysical insights, why are these insights important and
interesting, and how are these results being obtained.

The following biophysical/biomedical topics and techniques are featured
in this course:
• DNA processing and dynamics
o Topics: DNA structure and stability, DNA/RNA polymerase, DNA
architectural proteins, DNA repair.
o Techniques: optical tweezers, AFM, tethered particle motion, magnetic
tweezers, superresolution imaging.
• Protein dynamics
o Topics: Photoactive proteins, light-driven enzymes, Motor proteins,
o Techniques: infrared spectroscopy, time-resolved spectroscopy, laser
• Membrane dynamics
o Topics: Photosynthesis, membrane protein diffusion, Neuroimaging.
o Techniques: AFM, single molecule, nonlinear imaging, polarized
• Cell/tissue dynamics
o Topics: Optical and/or mechanical characterization of tissue or
o Techniques: (Fluorescence) microscopy, optical coherence microscopy,
mechanical analysis.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, guest lectures, literature essay and assignments, oral
literature presentation

Method of Assessment

- Literature assignments
- Essay (literature or research proposal)
- Oral literature presentation

Entry Requirements

BSc. Physics, BSc. Medical Natural Sciences, BSc Chemistry or

For MNS students to participate in this course, it is advised to have
successfully completed the course Microscopie en spectroscopie voor MNW
(X_420586) and Mechanics and Thermodynamics in the Cell (X_422589).


Notes, handouts and papers.

Target Audience

mMNS-PoL, mPhys-LSBP, mPhys-PLH

General Information

Course Code X_422583
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. ir. I. Heller
Examiner dr. ir. I. Heller
Teaching Staff dr. ir. I. Heller
prof. dr. J.T.M. Kennis

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: