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BIOPHYSICS

CODE 61738
ACADEMIC YEAR 2022/2023
CREDITS
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 9017 SCIENZA E INGEGNERIA DEI MATERIALI (LM-53) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 9012 FISICA(LM-17) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 3nd year of 8758 FISICA (L-30) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 1st year of 11430 SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI (LM SC.MAT.) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 1st year of 9012 FISICA(LM-17) - GENOVA
  • SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR FIS/07
    LANGUAGE Italian
    TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
  • SEMESTER 1° Semester
    PREREQUISITES
    Prerequisites
    You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
    • PHYSICS 8758 (coorte 2022/2023)
    • PHYSICS II 57049
    • PHYSICS 8758 (coorte 2020/2021)
    • PHYSICS II 57049
    • PHYSICS 8758 (coorte 2021/2022)
    • PHYSICS II 57049
    TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

    OVERVIEW

    The Biophysics course aims to provide students with the tools to understand the mechanisms underlying the main processes that regulate the functioning of biological phenomena. The complexity of biological systems will be analyzed using the principles of physics and chemistry, the methods of mathematical analysis and computational modeling.

    AIMS AND CONTENT

    LEARNING OUTCOMES

    The Biophysics course aims to provide students with the tools to understand the mechanisms underlying the main processes that regulate the functioning of biological phenomena. The complexity of biological systems will be analyzed using the principles of physics and chemistry, the methods of mathematical analysis and computational modeling.

    AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

    The course aims to provide students with the basics on some of the main issues in biophysics.

    At the end of the course the student will be able to:

    - know in depth the biological macromolecules and the weak interactions that stabilize their structure

    - understand the mechanisms that govern the physical-chemical equilibrium through model membranes

    - apply the knowledge acquired on the physical-chemical equilibrium to understand the fundamental processes of active and passive transport through biological membranes

    - understand the processes of molecular recognition

    - know the main experimental techniques used in the biophysical field

    - be able to critically read and understand a scientific article in the field.

     

    The Biofisica course can be chosen by students of Master's Degree in Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali with particular reference to "Scienziato dei Materiali: Specialista nella Ricerca" profile.

    PREREQUISITES

    The basic knowledge needed to successfully follow the lessons are acquired in the first two years of the three-year degree.

    TEACHING METHODS

    The course consists of lessons for a total of 48 hours. Experts are invited to give seminars, in order to deepen some of the issues addressed in the course. The topics covered in the seminars are an integral part of the course programme. Attendance at lessons is strongly recommended.

    Depending on the regulations related to the COVID-19 emergency, lessons could be carried out online, on the Teams platform.

    SYLLABUS/CONTENT

    Intermolecular forces

    Covalent bond - Electrostatic interactions - Polarizability - Dispersion forces - Van der Waals equation - Hydrogen bond - Hydrophobic interactions.

    Chemical equilibria

    Electrochemical potential - Semipermeable membranes: Nernst, Donnan and osmotic equilibrium - Potential at the membrane/solution interface - Monolayers at the interface - Self-organization of molecules on a surface.

    Transport processes

    Diffusive and migratory fluxes - Fick's laws - Nernst/Planck's equation - Goldman/Hodgkin/Katz equation.

    The cell and transport through the cell membrane

    Constituents of biological matter - The cell membrane - Rest potential of a cell - Carriers and channels for ionic transport - Eyring model.

    Dynamics of molecular motors

    Translational motors - Rotating motors.

    Experimental techniques

    Protein crystallography - Electrophysiology and patch clamp technique - Fluorescence microscopy - Scanning probe microscopy.

    RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Reference texts for topics covered in the lessons:

    J. Israelachvili - Intermolecular and Surface Forces - Academic Press - London        

    C. Branden & J. Tooze, Introduction to Protein Structure

    G. Rhodes, Crystallography Made Crystal Clear, 2a ed              

    G. Giebish; D.C.Tosteson; H.H. Ussing – Membrane Transport in Biology- Springer Verlag. N.Y.

    V. Taglietti; C.Casella –Introduzione alla Fisiologia e Biofisica della Cellula. Vol. 2, 3 La Goliardica Pavese. 2008

    TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

    Exam Board

    ALESSANDRA PESCE (President)

    RANIERI ROLANDI

    ORNELLA CAVALLERI (President Substitute)

    LESSONS

    LESSONS START

    From the last week of September (consult website: https://dida.fisica.unige.it/dida/i-corsi-di-fisica-a-genova/laurea-tri… for details)

    Class schedule

    BIOPHYSICS

    EXAMS

    EXAM DESCRIPTION

    The exam consists of an oral test by an examination board composed of two professors and lasts 30-40 minutes.
    Depending on the regulations related to the COVID-19 emergency, the exams could be carried out online, on the Teams platform.

    ASSESSMENT METHODS

    The oral exam is based on a fixed number of questions (the same for all students) that focus on the course program and allows the commission to judge, in addition to the preparation, the degree of achievement of the educational objectives. When these are not achieved, the student is invited to deepen the study and to make use of further explanations by the professor.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes