First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP7081737, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC2382, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2018/19
bring this page
with you
Degree course track PHYSICS OF MATTER [002PD]
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Physics and Astronomy
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MARIO BORTOLOZZI FIS/07

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines FIS/03 Material Physics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/02/2019
End of activities 14/06/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
3 BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 BORTOLOZZI MARIO (Presidente)
SENO FLAVIO (Membro Effettivo)
2 BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 BORTOLOZZI MARIO (Presidente)
SENO FLAVIO (Membro Effettivo)
1 BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS 01/10/2017 30/11/2018 BORTOLOZZI MARIO (Presidente)
SENO FLAVIO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The course will be held in English.
Target skills and knowledge: The course aims to illustrate to the students some of the most fascinating cultural and scientific challenges launched by modern biology and to show them how to apply physical methods to answer questions and develop new models and new theories. Together with fundamental notions of biology and biophysics, the students will acquire skills of numerical simulation in the Matlab framework.
Examination methods: The final check consists of a multiple choice written test and the numerical simulation of an elementary biological model performed in Matlab.
Assessment criteria: The exam is intended to ensure the acquisition of the basic knowledge provided by the course, as well as the ability to understand and solve biophysical problems.
Course unit contents: Nucleic acids, proteins and lipids: the structure of living cells, the central dogma of biology, primary structure of DNA, double helix structure.
Molecular forces in biological structures: electrical nature of interaction energies, interaction between charges and permanent dipoles, induced dipoles, dispersion forces, hydrogen bonds, steric repulsion.
Elementary properties of ions in solutions: random walk, electrodiffusion, the Nernst-Planck equation, hydration shells and diffusion coefficients of small ions.
Elementary properties of channels: the membrane as a capacitor, channel conductance and ion flux limitations by molecular factors. Properties of the K+ channel.
Selective permeability of membranes: the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz current and voltage equations. Different permeabilities of ions for several types of channels. The nerve action potential as a regenerative wave of Na+ permeability increase.
Selective permeability of channels: the one-ion and multi-ion pore models. Application to Na+ and K+ channels.
Gating mechanisms of channels: kinetic models and single channel recording by patch-clamp. Voltage sensing, fast and slow inactivations. Modification of gating properties and blocking by specific agents.
Atomistic numerical simulations: simulation algorithms, periodic boundary conditions, termostats and barostats.
Energetic configuration: energy minimization, interactions and force fields, Lennard Jones potential, electrostatic interactions, chemical bounds, polarizations.
Protein dynamics: trajectories analysis, fluctuations, deviations, correlations. Salt bridges.
Advanced techniques: Free energy calculations. Potential of mean force.
Membrane channel structure and function: derivation of unitary permeability and conductance of connexin channels.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Frontal lessons and exercises in the classroom.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Power Point slides, movies and duplicated lecture notes provided by the teacher.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • M. Daune, Molecular Biophysics. --: Oxford University Press, 1999. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Meyer B. Jackson, Molecular and Cellular Biophysics. --: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Story telling
  • Problem solving
  • Work-integrated learning
  • Use of online videos

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Matlab