BIO253 - Experimental methods in physical biology

Course Outline

Elastic properties of biomaterials

In this part we will mainly deal with what elasticity is and what the difference of biomaterials are to typical substances in physics. In addition, we will characterise the experimental techniques behind the determination of elastic and viscous properties from the single molecule to the tissue level.

Modern microscopy

Here we will introduce the range of modern optical microscopes and their physical principles. Emphasis will be on fluorescence based microscopy, such as confocal, FRAP, FRET, FLIM, SPIM and FCS. In addition, we will deal with polarization based microscopes and scanning microscopes.

Nuclear magnetic resonance

NMR is a very powerful technique, used in both imaging and structure determination. We will look at the fundamentals of NMR and how it can be used to obtain structural as well as functional imformation on biological samples.

Learning Goals

By the end of the module the students should be able to
- distinguish the principles of different types of microscopes and their use, especially in the context of resolution and contrast
- explain the difference between elastic and plastic materials as well as grasp the ways of measuring elastic properties
- describe the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance and its applications in imaging and structure determination
- translate the description of an object from real-space to Fourier-space, especially in the context of scattering processes
- discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different single molecule detection and manipulation methods
- appreciate the types of uncertainties in a measurement and be able to estimate them quantitatively
Key skills
By the end of the module the students should be able to
- analyse a system quantitatively with the help of dimensional analysis
- decide for a given problem what the optimal experimental method to use is and devise an experimental strategy
- appreciate the use of quantitative analysis for understanding a problem