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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Biophysical Chemistry for MSc Biochemistry (PGBI11107)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course deals with the major principles of physics and chemistry that underlie the structures, dynamics and interactions of biological macromolecules. The lectures will detail the structures of biomacromolecules and will provide an overview of many modern biophysical techniques. The workshops will allow students to probe macromolecular structures and to explore how the techniques are applied to biological systems and drug discovery. Techniques covered will include NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism, light scattering, fluorescence, mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance.
Course description Weeks 1-3 Chemistry & Structure of Biomacromolecules
- including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates

Weeks 4-10 Biophysical Characterisation
- theory and applications in Biology of a range of biophysical techniques

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 66 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of 2,000 words on a topic to be agreed between the lecturing staff and the Course Organiser (worth 30%) and an in-course problem (worth 70%).
Feedback Individual, in-person verbal feedback on one draft of essay and written feedback for final submissions for both ICAs.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a good understanding of macromolecular structure, conformational changes, dynamics and interactions.
  2. Be able to use molecular graphics tools to analyse molecular structures.
  3. Be familiar with the basic theory and experimental aspects of several modern biophysical techniques and to explain how they can be applied to investigate molecular structure, size, conformation, stability and interactions
  4. Be able to make a critical interpretation of the relevant literature
  5. Be able to write a coherent, interesting and informative essay
Reading List
One or more of the following text books: (reading an occasional chapter)
Biophysical Chemistry by A. Cooper, Royal Society of Chemistry 2011
Biophysical Chemistry, volumes 1-3 by C.R. Cantor and P.R. Schimmel, Freeman, 1980
Biophysical Techniques by I.D. Campbell, Oxford University Press, 2012
Physical Chemistry: Principles and Applications in Biological Sciences by I. Tinoco, K. Sauer, J.C. Wang and J.D. Puglisi, Prentice Hall, 2002
Principles of Physical Biochemistry by K.E. van Holde, W.C. Johnson and P.S. Ho, Prentice Hall, 1998.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Personal and Intellectual Autonomy: Students will be required to understand, extract and critically analyse experimental results from literature.

Technical and Practical Skills: Students will learn to use structural databases and molecular graphics tools.
Course organiserDr Janice Bramham
Tel: (0131 6)50 4786
Course secretaryMs Andrea Nichol
Tel: (0131 6)50 8643
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