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Physics of Genes 1: Nucleic Acids

Module PH2277

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.

Basic Information

PH2277 is a semester module in German or English language at 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 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2277 is Friedrich Simmel.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions

Content

- Historical introduction - The chemical structure of DNA and RNA - DNA and RNA thermodynamics - Conformational changes - Nucleic acids as polymers - Nucleic acids as polyelectrolytes - DNA topology - Analytical procedures - Interaction of proteins with DNA - Biogenesis of DNA and RNA

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module, students can: 1. Formulate the essential biophysical properties of nucleic acids, apply them to specific problems and understand their use
in biotechnology, genetic engineering and nanotechnology 2. follow presentations dealing with biophysical properties of nucleic acids and participate in the corresponding scientific discussions. 3. independently educate themselves through literature research, based on the foundations laid in the lecture 4. carry out simple calculations on DNA structure and thermodynamics, also with the help of computer programs

Preconditions

No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Basic knowledge of biophysics and biochemistry is helpful.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

TypeSWSTitleLecturer(s)Dates
VO 2 Physics of Genes 1: Nucleic Acids Simmel, F. Thu, 10:00–12:00, ZNN 2.003
and singular or moved dates
UE 2 Exercise to Physics of Genes 1: Nucleic Acids
Responsible/Coordination: Simmel, F.

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the thematically structured lecture the learning content will be presented.
The students will be involved in scientific discussions and ecouraged to apply their knowledge to specific problems. In the exercises, the learning content is deepened and practiced by discussing specific problems of nucleic
acid biophysics and corresponding example calculations. Moreover, in the exercises special literature will be
read and discussed in detail.

Media

The lecture will be held via Powerpoint presentation, on occasion supported by blackboard. A script for the lecture will be provided via moodle. Tasks and technical literature are given out for the exercises.

Literature

Vologodskii, Biophysics of DNA, Cambridge University Press

Bloomfield, Crothers, Tinoco, Nucleic Acids, University Science Books

Bates & Maxwell, DNA Topology, Oxford University Press

Phillips, Kondev, Theriot, Garcia, Physical Biology of the Cell, Garland Science

Further specialist literature (publications) will be provided and discussed in the lecture and in the accompanying exercises

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of about 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:

  • Describe quantitatively the mechanical properties of single- and double-stranded DNA
  • Which quantities are used to describe the topology of DNA molecules?
  • Determine the secondary structure of a given (short) nucleic acid sequence
  • How do you calculate the melting point of a given DNA sequence?

In the exam no learning aids are permitted.

Exam Repetition

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

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