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Kinetics of Cellular Reactions

Module PH2023

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 2018/9 (current)

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

available module versions
WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2023 is a semester module in German or 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
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics

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 45 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2023 is Günther Woehlke.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Fundamentals of Steady State (Michaelis-Menten, Briggs-Haldane,...); Detection of Reaction Intermediates; Mathematical Descriptions of Kinetic Models; Allosteric Models; Single-molecule Kinetics; Examples: Kinesin, Processivity and Randomness; Proofreading Mechanisms

Learning Outcome

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

  • understand and apply all fundamental kinetic models.
  • transfer kinetic schemes to quantitative models (using Mathematica or other computer languages).
  • discern global kinetic models and kinetic steps.
  • understand the differences between ensemble measurements and single-molecule assays.


Basic understanding of physical chemistry (e.g. CH1104: Chemistry for Physicists)

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module consists of a lecture and an excercise class.

The lecture develops how to set up reaction schemes for (bio-)chemical reactions, and how to describe them by systems of ordinary differential equations. Further, solutions based on 'classical', approximation procedures, computer-based numerical calculations, and stochastic simulations are presented and discussed.

The exercises apply this theoretical background to important cellular and biochemical reactions. Finally, primary literature is studied to show the relevance of the topic for current research.


Lecture with script, example Mathematica programs, exercises, seminar talks


The literature on which the module is based on, will be available via Moodle.

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using final projects independently prepared by the students. The exam of 25 minutes consists of the presentation of the project’s results and a subsequent discussion.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Set up the reaction scheme of enzyme XY, and deduce the kinetic model!
  • In which cases does it make sense to use Monte Carlo simulations to solve a kinetic system?
  • Which physical limitations restrict the maximal velocity of biochemical reactions?

Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

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.

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