[Illinois] Physics 550 Biomolecular Physics



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Physical concepts governing the structure and function of biological macromolecules; general properties, spatial structure, energy levels, dynamics and functions, and relation to other complex physical systems such as glasses; recent research in biomolecular physics; physical techniques and concepts from theoretical physics emphasized.


Klaus Schulten Klaus Schulten is a leader in the field of computational biophysics, having devoted over 40 years to establishing the physical mechanisms underlying processes and organization in living systems from the atomic to the organism scale. Schulten is a strong proponent of the use of simulations as a "computational microscope", to augment experimental research, and to lead to discoveries that could not be made through experiments so far. The molecular dynamics and structure analysis programs NAMD and VMD, born and continuously developed in his group, are used today by many thousands of researchers across the world. Schulten contributed key discoveries to several areas of biological physics: from quantum biology of vision, photosynthesis, and animal navigation to ion channels employed in neural signaling and to neural network organization of brain function; from mechanically gated channel proteins to muscle protein mechanics; from mathematical physics of non-equilibrium processes to numerical mathematics of the classical many-body problem. Schulten believes strongly in the importance of educating the next generation of scientists, having graduated 80 PhD students so far, many today in distinguished academic positions. He developed new courses and textbooks, and organizes a popular series of hands-on training workshops in which he has trained, in small groups, over 1,000 young scientists.

Taekjip Ha Professor Taekjip Ha received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1996, from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Physics faculty at the University of Illinois in August 2000, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1997) and a postdoctoral research associate in Steven Chu's laboratory in the Department of Physics at Stanford University (1998-2000). He was named 2001 Searle scholar. In 2005, Dr. Ha was named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2008, Dr. Ha was selected by the National Science Foundation to receive a grant to establish and co-direct the Center for the Physics of Living Cells at the University of Illinois. Professor Ha has achieved many "firsts" in experimental biological physics--the first dectection of dipole-dipole interaction (fluorescence resonance energy transfer, or FRET) between two single molecules; the first observation of "quantum jumps" of single molecules at room temperature; the first detection of the rotation of single molecules; and the first detection of enzyme conformational changes via single-molecule FRET. His most recent work, using single-molecule measurements to understand protein-DNA interactions and enzyme dynamics, has led him to develop novel optical techniques, fluid-handling systems, and surface preparations.

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Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Klaus Schulten; Taekjip Ha (2013), "[Illinois] Physics 550 Biomolecular Physics," http://nanohub.org/resources/19299.

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See also

Lecture Number/Topic Online Lecture Video Lecture Notes Supplemental Material Suggested Exercises
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 1: Introduction to Biomolecular Physics View HTML
Notes (pdf)
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 2: Photosynthesis I View HTML
Notes (pdf) Homework
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 3: Photosynthesis II + Interaction of Molecules with Light I YouTube with Slides
YouTube Chalkboard
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 4: Interaction of Molecules with Light II View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 5: Interaction of Molecules with Light III View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 6: Interaction of Molecules with Light IV View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 7: Vision I View HTML
Notes (pdf)
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 8: Vision II View HTML
Notes (pdf)
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 10: Stochastic Processes I View HTML
Notes (pdf) YouTube
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 9: Protein Overview View HTML
Notes (pdf)
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 11: Stochastic Processes II View HTML
Notes (pdf) YouTube
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 12: Stochastic Processes III View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 13: Physics of the Neuron View HTML
Notes (pdf) YouTube
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 14: Physics of the Neuron II View HTML
Notes (pdf)
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 15: Physics of the Neuron III View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 16: Intro to BioPhysics View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 17: Regulation of Gene Expressions View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 18: Motor Proteins/Florescence/DNA and 2-State System I View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 19: Motor Proteins/Florescence/DNA and 2-State System II View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 20: DNA Origami/Encode/DNA Flexibility View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 21: Super Resolution Imaging and smFRET View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 22: FRET and Force/Toggle Switch/Repriscillator/Gene Regulation Function View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 23: Single Molecular Manipulation & Optical Traps View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 24: Gene Regulation at the Single-Cell Level View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 25: Noise in Gene Expression and Sequencing Method View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 26:Third Generation Sequencing & Gene Expression Analysis Tools View HTML
[Illinois] Phys550 Lecture 28: Protein Sequence Analysis View HTML