Introduction to Molecular Biophysics

Code 399BB
Credits 6

Learning outcomes

The course will introduce to basic concepts such as the structure of biomolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, cofactors, lipids) and their functions (structural proteins, enzymes, receptors, membrane proteins; Nucleic acids: storage and transfer of information genetics; cell membrane components).
Experimental methods for molecular spectroscopy (electronic spectroscopy: UV / vis absorption, circular dichroism, fluorescence and phosphorescence; Vibrational spectroscopy of biomolecules: IR and Raman) and structural investigation (X-ray crystallography, NMR and electron microscopy) will be also presented.
Part of the course will be focused to the biomolecular modeling: all atom models, quantum mechanical methods (QM), molecular mechanics and empirical force fields, molecular and accelerated dynamics (replication exchange and metadynamics) and some application to prediction and design of protein structures. The general concepts underlying the multiscale models are also illustrated: PES / FES, collective variables, coarse-grained models, elastic network and Go models, implicit solvent models, implicit membrane models, other “continuous” models.
Finally, some applications will be introduced regarding: membrane receptors and the transmission of nervous signals, bio-non-bio interfaces (eg functionalized nanoparticles), structure and photophysics of fluorescent proteins.