Biophysics at the University of Heidelberg


Lecture: Interactions of Proteins and Nucleic Acids - Biophysical Concepts and Techniques

Winter term 2021/2022, Thursdays from 14:15-15:45, starting October 21, 2021, BioQuant, INF 267, Seminar Room 041, No registration necessary.

The lecture will cover various biophysical topics that are relevant for a quantitative description of interactions of proteins and nucleic acids. In includes a short introduction to proteins and nuclein acids and then covers the following aspects: Physicochemical interactions of biological macromolecules, hydrophobic interactions, solution thermodynamics, hydration, charges, polymer models helix-coil transitions, binding equilibria, binding kinetics, hydrodynamics, transport, diffusion and sedimentation. The lecture introduces methods and applications from the field of biophysics/quantitative biology to characterize interactions of proteins and nucleic acids. The focus is on various spectroscopy and microscopy based techniques and methods. There will be homework problems to be solved and turned in every week.

Audience: Master students of Physics/Biology/Chemistry

Literature: K. E. van Holde, W. C. Johnson, & S. P. Ho, Principles of Physical Biochemistry 2nd edition, Prentice-Hall, 2006; C. Cantor & P. Schimmel, Biophysical Chemistry, Vol I, II und III, Freeman Press, 1980; M. Daune, Molecular Biophysics, Oxford University Press, 1999; P. Nelson, Biological Physics, Freeman, 2004

Physico-Chemical Methods in Systems Biology - Submodule for Major Systems Biology (4 Lectures & Seminar by Karsten Rippe)

The lecture with tutorials is part of the Major Systems Biology in the Molecular Biosciences program of the Faculty of Biosciences.

Summer term 2022 BioQuant SR 043

Physico-chemical methods play a key role for investigating molecular and cellular processes. Therefore, these lectures shall provide fundamental knowledge of important physical and chemical phenomenons necessary for understanding of current methods used in systemsbiology. Topics range from classical forces, elasticity, cellular mechanics, polymer statistics, thermodynamics and reaction kinetics to geometric optics and interaction of light with matter. The lecture is complemented by a tutorial giving overview about current methods and their applications ranging from basic spectroscopy, neutron and x-ray scattering to atomic force and optical microscopy as well as high-throughput methods, like RNAi screening and automated microscopy.

Summary of topics on biophysics of Protein-DNA/RNA interactions

Lab courses and practicals

HBIGS lab course on analytical ultracentrifugation

Advanced lab course in scanning/atomic force microscopy

Course hand-out

Introduction to atomic force microscopy I

Introduction to atomic force microscopy II

Students from other faculties that want to do the course can arrange this on an individual basis (contact).

Advanced laboratory practicals (6-18 weeks)

Students from the faculties of Biowissenschaften, Physik, Chemie and Medizin can participate. The course involves lab work on a topic within ongoing research projects, and is arranged on an individual basis (contact).

Useful links to educational material/information in Biophysics

Educational materials from the Biophyiscal Society

MSRI Online Lectures


Light microscopy


Fourier transform in crystalography

Curve fitting

Scanning/atomic force microscopy

Contact: E-Mail