|SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR||FIS/07|
The course deals with the molecular interactions involved in biological phenomena and introduces the biophysical techniques that allow a quantitative characterization of biological systems. Particular attention is paid to applicative aspects involved in the biomedical and diagnostic, biotechnological-food and forensic fields.
The course aims to provide knowledge on the interactions that stabilize biological macromolecules and that are involved in life processes. It also aims to provide knowledge on the basics of the main biophysical techniques used for the characterization of systems of biological interest.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
- understand the interactions that stabilize the structure of biological macromolecules and that play a role in processes involving several molecules (ligand-receptor interaction, self-organization of membrane lipids, protein aggregation ...)
- demonstrate a general knowledge of the main experimental techniques employed for biophysical characterizations (X-ray diffraction, quasi-elastic light scattering, Raman and fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy, patch-clamp) and describe examples of applications of these techniques
To effectively address the contents of the course, the basic knowledge acquired in the first two years of a three-year scientific degree is advisable.
The course is based on traditional lectures (16 hours) and laboratory activities (16 hours). Each topic will be presented starting from cases reported in scientific articles, which will be provided to the students in advance. Attendance to lectures is strongly recommended.
Lectures will be delivered through multimedia presentations. Lectures will be held in person, while ensuring also remote attendance by synchronous or asynchronous video recording.
Laboratory activities will allow students to get in touch with the scientific issues and biophysical investigation techniques introduced in the lectures.
All in-presence activities will be carried out in compliance with the classroom capacity limits and with the distance rules provided for by the current legislation following the COVID19 emergency.
Please refer to AulaWeb for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.
The course syllabus includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:
Molecular interactions. Protein structure and X-ray biocrystallography. Biomimetic membranes. Interactions between supramolecular complexes: particle suspensions, zeta potential and stability. Characterization of particle size (proteins, micelles, liposomes and other colloidal particles) and monitoring of aggregation processes by dynamic light scattering . Electrochemical potential and membrane equilibria: Nernst, osmotic and Donnan equilibrium. Membrane potential. Transport mechanisms: laws of diffusion and migration. Passive conduction of the electrical signal and genesis of the action potential. The patch clamp technique for the study of single channels in neurons, also in relation to pathological states or drug tests. Microscopy and spectroscopy techniques for the study of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level, in physiological and pathological conditions. Fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy. Optical super-resolution of cellular systems. Raman spectroscopy. Atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy: from high resolution imaging to mechanobiology. Combined application of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques for the study of the amyloid aggregation process.
• Israelachvili J. Intermolecular and Surface Forces, Academic Press - Elsevier
• Phillips, R., Kondev, J., Theriot, J., Physical Biology of the Cell, Garland Science.
• Rhodes, G. Crystallography made crystal clear, Academic Press.
• Slides available on Aulaweb
Office hours: At the end of every lesson or on e-mail request
ANNALISA RELINI (President)
For lessons start and timetable go to the link: https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/
Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.
The exam consists of an oral test on the topics covered by the course. The detailed syllabus of the course is available on Aulaweb. The oral exam is always conducted by the professor in charge of the course and by another professor, and it lasts at least 30 minutes.
If the University regulations relating to the COVID-19 emergency will not allow for face-to-face exams, the exams will take place via the Teams platform. Please refer to the specific AulaWeb instance of the course for any updates.
Information on the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided during the course.
The oral exam will allow the commission to evaluate the degree of competence acquired by the students. In the evaluation of the oral exam, the following aspects will be considered: the level of understanding of the topic, the quality of the presentation, the correct use of the specialist vocabulary, the ability to critical reasoning.