Biological Nanomaterials (NANO*4100)

Code and section: NANO*4100*01

Term: Fall 2018

Instructor: Vladimir Ladizhansky


Course Information


Vlad Ladizhansky
SCI 1251
Ext. 53989


Mondays and Fridays, 8:30 am – 9:50 am, MACK 314
First lecture: Friday, September 7th

Office Hours

Wednesday, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Alternative times can be arranged as required. Please contact the instructor directly.

Recommended Texbooks

There is no required textbook for this course. The following textbooks may be useful:

  • R.A.L. Jones, Soft Machines: Nanotechology and Life, Oxford University Press (2004). (Library Call # T174.7 .J66)
  • H.F. Lodish et al, Molecular Cell Biology 8th Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company (2016). (Library Call # QH581.2 .D37 2016)
  • Creighton, Proteins: Structure and Molecular Properties 2nd Edition, W.H. Freeman (1993). (Library Call # QP551.C737 1993)

Additional literature (papers, lecture notes, links to online materials, etc.) will be distributed.

Student Evaluation

Assessment Weight
Assignments 30%
Presentations (Students will be asked to give two presentations. Topics for presentations will be distributed in advance.) 40%
Papers/Projects (Students will have to write a research proposal based on one of their presentations.) 25%
Participation in Discussions 5%


  1. Biological molecules and interactions
    - Review of basic chemistry concepts. Covalent and non-covalent interactions. Types of interactions- electrostatics, van der Waals interactions, hydrophobicity, steric effects, solvation. Electronegativity, hydrogen bonding, pH.
    - Amino acids and their properties. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. Factors and interactions determining the different levels of structure.
    - Nucleic acids. Structures of DNA and RNA. Interactions determining nucleic acid structures. Watson-Crick base pairing.
  2. Molecular self-assembly
    - Formation of detergent micelles. Formation of lipid bilayers and liposomes. Biological membranes. Membrane proteins.
    - Molecular “nanomachines: ATPases, ion channels, and transporters, molecular motors.
    - Peptide and protein misfolding. Formation of amyloid fibrils and lessons that can be learned from this – novel peptide based nanomaterials with applications.
  3. Nanobiomaterials with applications
    - Metallic nanoparticle-based nanobiomaterials. Imaging and contrast agents. Semiconductor-, ceramic- and polymer-based nanobiomaterials. Biologically-directed/self-assembled nanobiomaterials. Viruses. Lipoproteins.

Course Assessment by Students

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching.

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students (choosing "I agree" in question 14). Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph takes a serious view of academic misconduct and will severely penalize students, faculty and staff who are found guilty of offenses associated with misappropriation of others' work, misrepresentation of personal performance and fraud, improper access to scholarly resources, and obstructing others in pursuit of their academic endeavors. Each student is assumed to be familiar with the regulations surrounding academic misconducts, as spelled out in the Undergraduate Calendar.