Biophysics Specialization



Nanophysics specialization



Period: 2nd

ECTS:  4

Course contents:

1st Block.

Self-assembled structures: biomembranes and cytoskeletal proteins

1.1 Introduction. General description of biological membranes. Membrane model systems: SUVs, LUVs, MLVs, GUVs, Langmuir monolayers, black lipid films and supported membranes. Droplet-microfluidics to assemble vesicles from emulsion templates.

1.2 Physical properties of phospholipids. Solubility. Saturation. Charge. Morphology. Transition temperature. Sphingolipids. Glycolipids.

1.3.- Physical properties of membranes. Phase separations. Lipid domains in model systems and lipid rafts in cells. Dynamic properties. Lateral Diffusion. Mechanical properties.

1.4.- Excess membrane. Osmotic pressure. Fusion and division of membranes. Protein mediated fusion.

1.5.- Permeability and electrical properties. Membrane potential. Surface potential. Nernst Potential.

1.6.- Cytoskeletal proteins and molecular motors. Structural and dynamic properties. Studies in reconstituted systems. Collective properties.

2nd Block


2.1 Introduction. General concepts. Quantitative bioenergetics: how to measure the driving forces. Chemiosmotic theory. Oxidation-reduction potentials. Long range electron transfer in proteins

2.2 Photosynthesis. Relevant steps: light absorption, charge separation, proton gradient. Structural basis of photosynthetic light harvesting systems

2.3 Respiratory chain. Main constituents. Structure and function of ATPases.

2.4 Hydrogenases. Their role in microbial bioenergetics.

3rd Block.

Cellular assembly

3.1.- The extracellular matrix. Macroscopic mechanical properties.

3.2.- Bacterial adhesion. Biofilms and pelicles formation. Macroscopic mechanical properties.

3.3. Cellular adhesion. Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). Interactions between cells and their surroundings and among cells. Studies on reconstituted systems. Tissue-like materials.

Bibliography: Suggested books.

Bioenergetics3. David Nicholls and Stuart J Ferguson Academic Press 2001

Biological Thermodynamics. Donald T. Haynie Cambridge University Press 2001

Physical Biology of the Cell. Rob Phillips,Jane Kondev, Julie Theriot, Garland Science 2009

Mechanics of the cell. David Boal (Cambridge University Press)

Intermolecular and Surface Forces. Jacob N. Israelachvili. Elsevier. 2011.


Coordinator:  Juan Aragonés



More info on the course official guide (Guía docente)