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Graduate Courses

Following is a list of courses offered by the Biophysics program. For non-Biophysics courses, you may consult the LSA Course Guide or other program's websites.

Biophysics 520 — Methods of Biophysical Chemistry

(3 credits)

This course is the first part of a two-term graduate level biophysical chemistry series.

The course provides an overview of key methodologies of contemporary biophysics and biophysical chemistry. Principles of structure determination by X-ray crystallography, elecron microscopy, and solution and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy will be covered. Optical techniques ranging from spectroscopy and FRET to optical microscopy, including super resolution and micromanipulation techniques, will be covered. Biological applications of each biophysical technique will be discussed.

Biophysics 521 — Principles of Biophysical Chemistry

(3 credits)

This course is the second part of a two-term graduate level biophysical chemistry series.

The course discusses aspects of protein and nucleic acid structure and dynamics, the nature of underlying forces and interactions that control biopolymer processes, and aspects of dynamics in context of function. Emphasis will be laid on theories from thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that form the basis of physical models for processes and processing in these systems. The course is divided into two focal areas: the first half will deal with the establishment of a natural "language" for the description of chemical and biological processes through statistical mechanics; in the second half there will be a discussion of current problems and questions for which physical and statistical mechanical models have been developed. A partial list of areas to be addressed include: energy landscape theory and its applications to folding of proteins and nucleic acids, mechanical and statistical models for molecular machines and methods and applications of molecular dynamics and simulations of proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes.

Biophysics 535 — Biophysical Modeling

(3 credits)

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of biophysical modeling. Methods such as molecular dynamics and Brownian Dynamics simulations, as well as larger-scale models for regulatory networks are covered and the associated computational tools are introduced.

Biophysics 550 — Biophysics Laboratory

(3 credits)

(This course is a meet-together with Biophysics 450)

This hands-on course teaches essential laboratory skills in Biophysics. Experiments cover sample preparation techniques, such as protein expression and purification; modern research methods such as atomic force microscopy, optical tweezers, NMR, X-ray crystallography, and computational techniques such as molecular dynamics simulation. The final project will allow students to explore a topic of interest in greater depth.

Biophysics 595 — Professional Development in Biophysics

(2 credits)

(This course is a meet-together with Biophysics 495)

This course teaches professional skills such as writing research articles, reviews, grant proposals, and preparing and giving poster presentations and scientific talks. The scientific publishing process, including peer review, will be discussed and ethical rules and considerations explored. All students will draft an application for an NSF Graduate Fellowship, which will be extensively critiqued by other students and the instructor.

Biophysics 602 — Protein Crystallagra

(3 credits)

Cross-listed with Biological Chemistry 602, Chemistry 602 and Pharmacology 602

In this course, students learn the theoretical and practical aspects of determining protein and nucleic structures by X-ray crystallography. The course will include topics such as crystallization, diffraction theory, phasing techniques and structure validation.

Biophysics 608 - Biophysical Principles of Microscopy

(3 credits)

This course covers the fundamental physical and mathematical principles of microscopy. The emphasis is mainly on modern approaches, including superresolution fluorescence techniques and nonlinear microscopies. As well as teaching methods, the course will also extensively discuss their applications in biological/biochemical sciences. The physics and math level will assume some familiarity with geometrical and physical optics.

Biophysics 801 — Biophysics Seminar

(1 credit)

(Molecular Biophysics Training Grant students must enroll in Biophysics 801; all other students should enroll in Biophysics 802)

A weekly seminar where Biophysics graduate students meet to discuss and present their research in a supportive peer setting. Relevant journal articles are also presented and discussed. Students plan career-directed events as well as organize the annual spring Biophysics Student Symposium. 

Biophysics Graduate Research Course Sequence

Biophysics 890 — Intro to Research (3 credits)

First-year Biophysics students not in the PIBS program enroll in this course to obtain credit for their first two lab rotations.

Biophysics 990 — Diss-Precand (1-8 credits)

Biophysics pre-candidate students who have chosen a lab enroll in this course to obtain research credit.

Biophysics 995 — Diss-Cand (8 credits)

Biophysics candidate students enroll in this course to obtain research credit.