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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 2020/1 (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 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2016/7WS 2015/6WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2013 is a semester module in German 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
  • 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 Andreas Bausch.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  1. Life at low Reaynolds Numbers: fluid mechanics
  2. Life in 2D: Lipid membranes 
  3. Mixing and Phase seperation
  4. Basic principles of bimolecular reactions
  5. Elastic Response of polymers - Worm like chain model
  6. Viscoelastic Properties of Biomaterials
  7. Zell cycle and cell size determination
  8. Zellular Mechanics and Mechanosensing

Learning Outcome

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

  • descirbe the bimolecular reactions kinetics and the effect of forces on the transition rates
  • define and use the concepts of entropy elasticiy, transition state and dissociation constant
  • use phenomelogical models to desribe the viscoelasticity and relate them to the frequency response of the moduli
  • explain the spinodal and binodal decomposition


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


  • 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)
  • E. Wilson: The future of life, Abacus, (2003)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 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. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following 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
Tue, 2021-09-28 Dummy-Termin. Wenden Sie sich zur individuellen Terminvereinbarung an die/den Prüfer(in). Anmeldung für Prüfungstermin zwischen Di, 28.09.2021 und Sa, 23.10.2021. Die Lehrveranstaltungen des Moduls fanden im WS 2020/1 statt. Melden Sie sich bitte nur an, wenn Sie die Prüfung verbindlich auch nach Lektüre der Informationen unter ablegen werden. // Dummy date. Contact examiner for individual appointment. Registration for exam date between Tue, 2021-09-28 and Sat, 2021-10-23. The courses of this module where offered in WS 2020/1. See for further information and only register after reading! till 2021-09-27
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