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Spring Semester 2020 | 4 credits | TTh 10:10-12:05 PM | Room: NHH 1-136, MCB 2-120

Syllabus and Lecture Notes >>
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Dave Thomas (course director), BMBB (Nils Hasselmo Hall 5-124, 5-0957,
John Lipscomb, BMBB (Nils Hasselmo Hall 5-112, 5-6454,

Summary: This course provides an introduction to the analysis of biomolecular structure, dynamics, and function by spectroscopy and kinetics. It is divided into two equal sections.

Spectroscopy: The first section, taught by Dr. Thomas, introduces the principles of spectroscopy and discusses applications of specific techniques to biochemical structure and dynamics. The first part of this section deals with optical spectroscopy, especially UV/visible absorption and fluorescence. The second part covers spin label electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). Particular emphasis is placed on the use of extrinsic spectroscopic probes that can provide information on structural dynamics and molecular interactions that is complementary to the information provided by the techniques covered in Bioc 5527 (e.g., x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, NMR, mass spectrometry).

Kinetics: The second section, taught by Dr. Lipscomb, deals with the theory and application of steady state and transient kinetic techniques to the study of dynamics in biological systems. The first part of this section deals with the use of steady-state kinetics to investigate enzyme mechanisms. The second part of the section deals with the use of transient kinetics to investigate pre-steady state enzyme kinetics. Special emphasis is placed on techniques for the evaluation of kinetics data.

The two sections of this course will be independent; they will be separately graded and equally weighted. However, they will be connected by the mathematical principles of kinetics, which are fundamental in describing spectroscopic observations, and by emphasizing the use of spectroscopic applications to detect and characterize biochemical reactions. The course is designed for advanced undergraduates and first- and second-year graduate students, who have taken at least one semester of undergraduate physical chemistry or physics. This course is complementary to the fall semester Physical Biochemistry course (5527), but that course is not a prerequisite. Students should contact the course director to discuss questions about prerequisites and other issues.