Learning outcomes:

This course concerns modern biophysical and bioanalytical techniques to investigate the structure and function of biopolymers both in isolated reconstituted systems and in live biological cells, including recent methods to image, track and manipulate single molecules. We will cover the basic principles of the respective methods and discuss examples from the current scientific literature.


The specific goals of this course are that the students:

1. Understand the fundamental principles of the nano-biotechnological and biophysical methods described in this course (as outlined below)

2. Know advantages and disadvantages of the respective biophysical and nano-biotechnological methods

3. Know the limits of the discussed techniques in terms of their respective application and their resolution in space and time

4. Gain the necessary knowledge to critically assess the current scientific literature on topics covered in this course

5. Can decide which methodologies are appropriate to tackle a specific biophysical question



Surface sensitive techniques elucidate and quantify molecular interactions:

- Immobilizing biopolymers on surfaces

- Protein and DNA microarrays

- Optical & electrical detection techniques


Development and application of microfluidic and nanofluidic sensor devices:

- Miniaturisation of analytical techniques: lab on a chip

- Chemical and biochemical sensors

- Next generation DNA sequencing approaches


Single molecule techniques to monitor the function of single biomolecules and complexes

- Single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy (FRET, confocal and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy)

- Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy

- Electrical conductance of single ion channels


Force spectroscopy to monitor function of single molecular machines

- scanning probe techniques

- Optical and magnetic tweezers


Fluorescence methods to visualize biomolecule function in vivo

- Microscopy beyond the diffraction limit: Super-resolution microscopy

- FRET microscopy, 2-photon techniques

- Single particle tracking


Engineered biomolecules to manipulate cells or as drug delivery vehicles

- Engineered photocontrollable proteins: Optogenetics

- Nano-containers for drug delivery vectors

- DNA based self-assembly and nanofabrication of complex structures


Required prior knowledge:

The course builds on the following lectures:

"Physique générale I, II,III ",

"Biochimie I "


Course style:

Ex cathedra & exercise (2 +1)


Form of examination:

Written exam


Course materials:

Handouts will be distributed during the lectures