SK2520 Experimental Methods in Molecular Biophysics 8.0 credits

Experimentella metoder inom molekylär biofysik

The course gives an introduction to biomolecules, their structures, dynamics and interactions, and how experimental biophysical techniques can be used to investigate biomolecular properties. The course also gives an overview of how these techniques are used in practice within biotechnology, drug development, and academic research.

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Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

Fundamental properties of biomolecules. Basic thermodynamics of biomolecules, biomolecular dynamics and interactions. The principles of the following methods: Infrared-, Fluorescence-, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance-, Electron Spin Resonance-, Circular Dichroism- and Raman-spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, Electron Microscopy, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Atomic Force Microscopy. An overview of applications of these techniques in fundamental academic research, in pharmaceutical and biotech industry, and for clinical diagnostics.

Lectures (34 h), laborations (8 h), study visit (6 h)

Intended learning outcomes *

This course covers different experimental biophysical methods, how they are used to study structures and dynamics of biomolecules and their interactions. It also gives an overview of how these biophysical techniques are used in practice in biotechnology, drug development and in fundamental academic research. After this course the students are expected to be able to:

  • give a an overview of the main categories of biomolecules present in the human body, what their main functions are, and how they are built.
  • explain how interactions can take place between biomolecules and electromagnetic radiation
  • state what modern spectroscopic techniques that are used in molecular biophysics, and to explain the physical principles upon which these methods are based
  • Based on knowledge of the physical principles of the different biophysical techniques, judge and motivate which method(s) that is most appropriate to be applied to a particular biomolecular investigation.
  • Give an overview of how these methods are used in practice in biotechnology, drug development, clinical diagnostics and in fundamental academic research.

Course Disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

Achieved BSc on any of the programs CMATD, CDATE, CELTE, CTFYS, CMAST, CFATE, or
approved courses in mathematics and physics, corresponding to at least the courses in these subjects given on the above programs in the first three years.

Recommended previous knowledge:          
Fundamental knowledge in quantum mechanics and optics advantageous, but not absolutely required.

Recommended prerequisites

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Nathan R. Zaccai, Igor N. Serdyuk, Joseph Zaccai. Methods in Molecular Biophysics Structure, Dynamics, Function for Biology and Medicine, 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press

(aktuell upplaga anslås på kursens hemsida senast fyra veckor innan kursstart).

Vetenskapliga artiklar.


Examination and completion

Grading scale *

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination *

  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 2.0 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 1.0 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 5.0 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

One written examination (TEN1, 5hp, grades A-F), one oral project presentation (PRO1; 1hp, grades P/F), laborations, exercises and study visit (LAB1; 2hp, grades P/F)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Jerker Widengren

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SK2520

Offered by

SCI/Applied undergraduate Physics

Main field of study *

Biotechnology, Engineering Physics, Physics

Education cycle *

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Jerker Widengren (

Ethical approach *

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.