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DYNAMICS AND STATISTICS OF (BIO)MOLECULAR SYSTEMS

PHY 598/498 NAN 598 COURSE – Spring 2017

Official name in course catalog:

“Topics in Biophysics II” – Spring 2017

(PHY-598/PHY-498/NAN-598)

 

This interdisciplinary course is for: i) graduate students in chemistry, biochemistry, engineering and related areas, interested in understanding basic physics models and experimental techniques used to study biological phenomena; ii) graduate physics students interested in an in-depth, quantitative understanding of statistics and dynamics of complex systems.

 

Classes are highly interactive: Starting from intuitive, picture-driven descriptions, students will be closely guided to build quantitative descriptions of biomolecular systems, linking theory to state of the art experimental techniques in a step-by-step process.

You will master the dynamics and statistics of many-particle systems, understand why water is essential to life, how physical models explain the behavior of biomolecules, including cooperativity and spontaneous order formation. You will learn the latest experimental techniques (single molecule vs ensemble), the scientific principles behind them, and how to use them to discriminate between different physical models.

Syllabus:

● Driving forces in biology and how they guide spontaneous vs. non-spontaneous processes.

● Understanding the thermodynamics and kinetics of macromolecules in solution by modeling their interactions.

● Understanding what gives rise to cooperativity in folding and binding through quantitative models and experiments.

● Thermodynamics and kinetics of two-state processes (e.g. protein folding) at the ensemble and single molecule level.

● Understanding how the special properties of water affect macromolecular structure and dynamics.

● Models and experiments describing highly disordered macromolecules: intrinsically disordered proteins and polymers.

● Latest state of the art single molecule and ensemble experimental techniques.