Molecular Biophysics (PHYS*4540)
Code and section: PHYS*4540*01
Term: Winter 2017
Instructor: Leonid Brown
This course’s main objective is to introduce students to molecular biophysics, with emphasis on protein structure and structure/function of biologicalmembranes. We plan to cover the following topics in lectures, assignments, and presentations: Structure of biomolecules; Factors determining protein structures; Overview of methods for protein structure determination; Intermolecular interactions; Biological membranes; Protein folding and membrane insertion; Membrane proteins and their functions; Receptors and signal transduction; Membrane transport - channels and transporters; Bioenergetics.
Students will be given two assignments. The first one (individual) will introduce them to protein structures and their analysis using the most common software in the field. The second assignment (group, students will do it in pairs) will improve skills related to search, analysis, and synthesis of available literature data. Each pair of students will be given an important class of biological molecules (for example, channels, transporters, pumps, bioenergetically important enzymes, receptors) to study, and the results will have to be presented in class.
This course also aims to improve oral and written communication skills of students. Besides oral presentation of the second assignment, each student will have an opportunity to present an important research paper in the field and lead a discussion of this work in the second half of the course. In addition, a final essay will be submitted (in lieu of the final exam) on a topic of student’s choice, in consultation with the lecturer. The
topic should not be directly related to student’s own research work and not extensively covered in the lectures.
Graduate students taking the course will have to write an additional research proposal.
|Leonid Brown||MacN email@example.com|
Lectures and Presentations
|Tuesdays and Thursdays
(Jan 10 - Apr 6)
|11:30 - 12:50||MacN 101|
Additional information can be found on the course’s webpage.
There is no required text, but any of the following good books on Structural Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics can be useful. Note that some of these resources are available in electronic format in PubMed.
- Lodish et al, “Molecular Cell Biology”
- Charles R. Cantor and Paul R. Schimmel, “Biophysical chemistry”
- Thomas E. Creighton, “Proteins: Structure and Molecular Properties”
- Karp, “Cell and Molecular Biology”
- Voet and Voet, “Biochemistry”
- Stryer, “Biochemistry”
- Alberts, "Molecular Biology of the Cell"
Additionally, students will be provided with lecture notes in pdf format and given references to the appropriate research and review papers (licensed to the University of Guelph). Students are also encouraged to read major biophysical and biochemical journals (links are provided on the course website).
|Written assignment||February 13th||20%|
|Second assignment with presentation||End of February – Early March||20%|
|Research paper Presentation/discussion||Mid-March||25%|
|Final essay on one of the topics||April 21st, in lieu of the final exam||30%|
|Participation in the discussions||5%|
|Research Proposal* (for graduate students only)||April 7th||25%|
*Graduate grades will be renormalized from 125% to 100% of course)
The following outline can change depending on the exact number of students:
- Weeks 1-6. Lectures on general principles of protein structure, biological membranes organization and function, protein folding and insertion, overview of structural methods.
- Weeks 7-8. Student presentations of the second assignment with discussions on biophysically important classes of proteins.
- Weeks 9-12. Student presentations of research papers with discussions.
- Exam period. Essay in lieu of the final exam.
Help in the Course, Office Hours
No regular office hours, but send me an E-mail and help will be provided either on-line or in person (we will schedule a meeting).
As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <uoguelph.ca> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students. This becomes even more important in this course, in view of the need to schedule two rounds of presentations.
When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement
When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e- mail contact. It is important to have enough time in advance to be able to reschedule you presentation, as there may be no additional time slots.
The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is March 10th. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar.
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Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.
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