Elective course for MSc Life Science and Technology and MSc Chemistry students.
A BSc degree in Molecular Science and Technology, Life Science and Technology, Chemistry or a related discipline with a good understanding of Biochemistry and some affinity with microbiology or biotechnology.
Lipid membranes are the boundary of every biological cell and compartmentalise the chemistry of life. Furthermore, liposomal formulations have become key in drug delivery and form a basic building block for microreactors and bionanotechnology. Although only several nanometers thick, lipid membranes are specific barriers, impermeable to many chemicals, while membrane proteins selectively transport signals, nutrients, chemicals, toxins and biomacromolecules. This course will discuss the properties of lipid membranes and membrane transporters at the molecular level. Besides a general introduction into the biochemistry of cell membranes and membrane proteins, the biophysical characteristics of lipids and detergents will be used to illustrate their behaviour and barrier properties.
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:
discuss different lipids in biology and their biophysical properties.
calculate the thermodynamic energy of transmembrane gradients (Nernst equation)
explain the energy required (or released) to transport a compound across the membrane.
understand how experimental techniques are used to study properties of membranes.
discuss the basic transport mechanism of different types of membrane transporters.
use and apply this knowledge to analyse challenges in biotechnology.
work in teams to formulate solutions to these challenges and present these to a multidisciplinary research audience.
Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes
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Mode of instruction
Lectures (7), tutorials (2), student presentation (1) and independent reading.
A take home essay (50%) and a group project, orally presented (50%)
To pass the module both exams have to be passed (a mark of more than 5.5 for each component).
Lukas K. Buehler, Cell Membranes, Garstang, Chapter 4 to 7.
Boal, David H..; Mechanics of the Cell, Chapter 7. Free to download for students via EBSCO Publishing : eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost)
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