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Physical Biology of the Cell 1

Module PH2013

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2022/3 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3WS 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2016/7WS 2015/6WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2013 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Focus Area Bio-Sensors in M.Sc. Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics
  • Elective Modules Natural Sciences in the Master Program Matter to Life
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2013 is Hendrik Dietz.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  1. Life at low Reynolds Numbers: fluid mechanics
  2. Basics of diffusion
  3. Gene regulation
  4. Basic principles of bimolecular reactions
  5. Conformational kinetics
  6. Enzyme kinetics
  7. Polymer elasticity and random walks
  8. Physics of membranes

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module the students are able to:

  • describe the bimolecular reactions kinetics and the effect of forces on the transition rates
  • define and use the concepts of entropy elasticity, transition state and dissociation constant
  • describe basic principles of enzymatic catalysis


no special requirements

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the thematically structured lecture the learning content is presented. With cross references between different topics the universal concepts in biophysics are shown. In scientific discussions the students are involved to stimulate their analytic-physics intellectual power. The lecture is based on original publications, which are used to encourage students for more extensive literature search and reading. 


Lecture, presentation, blackboard, exercises, publications, demonstration experiments


  • T. Bornschögl, H. Dietz: Biophysik in der Zelle, Springer (2021)
  • J. Howard: Mechanics of Motor Proteins and the Cytoskeleton, Sinauer Associates, (2001)
  • P. Nelson: Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life, W.H. Freeman, (2007)
  • R. Philipps: Physical Biology of the Cell, Garland Science, (2013)
  • U. Alon: An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits, Taylor & Francis, (2019)
  • M. Ptashne: Genes & Signals, CSHL Press, (2002)
  • L. Stryer: Biochemistry, W.H. Freeman, (2015)
  • B. Alberts: Molecular Biology of the Cell, Norton & Company, (2014)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 60 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Can you describe the force extension of a freely jointed chain and compare it to the worm like chain model
  • What are the methods to determine the viscoelastic behavior of materials?
  • Can you describe the existing models of cell migration?

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

Current exam dates

Currently TUMonline lists the following exam dates. In addition to the general information above please refer to the current information given during the course.

Exam to Physical Biology of the Cell 1
Fri, 2024-03-01, 11:00 till 12:30 1450
till 2024-01-15 (cancelation of registration till 2024-02-23)
Mon, 2024-03-25, 11:00 till 12:30 1450
till 2024-03-21
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