Spring 2008

Molecular & Cell Biophysics

Listed in: Chemistry, as CHEM-28  |  Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-28


Nicholas C. Darnton (Section 01)
Patricia B. O'Hara (Section 01)


(Also Chemistry 28.) How do the physical laws that dominate our lives change at the small length and energy scales of individual molecules? What design principles break down at the subcellular level, and what new chemistry and physics become important? We will answer these questions by looking at biomolecules, cellular substructures and control mechanisms that work effectively in the microscopic world. How can we understand both the static and dynamic shape of proteins using the laws of thermodynamics and kinetics? How has the basic understanding of the smallest molecular motor in the world, ATP synthase, changed our understanding of friction and torque? We will explore new technologies, such as atomic force microscopy and single molecule spectroscopy, which have allowed research into these areas. This course will address topics in each of the three major divisions of Biophysics: biomolecular structure, biophysical techniques, and biological mechanisms. Second semester. Professor O'Hara and Visiting Professor Darnton.