Search course

Use the search function to find more information about the study programmes and courses available at Chalmers. When there is a course homepage, a house symbol is shown that leads to this page.

Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
KFK021 - Biophysical chemistry
Syllabus adopted 2016-02-15 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPBIO
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0107 Examination 6,0 c Grading: TH   6,0 c   08 Jan 2018 pm SB,  Contact examiner,  Contact examiner
0207 Laboratory 1,5 c Grading: UG   1,5 c    

In programs

MPNAT NANOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)
MPBIO BIOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Bitr professor  Björn Åkerman


KFK020   Biophysical chemistry


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

General knowledge in chemistry, including physical chemistry.


The course should make the student acquainted with modern methods of biophysics and biophysical chemistry by applying them in practical exercises for solving problems regarding properties and mechanisms of bio-molecular systems. The course is an extension of general physical chemistry with focus on biological applications, suitable for those who want to later work in pharmaceutical industry or with biochemical, biotechnical or bio-medicinal research. Together with other courses in spectroscopy and analytical chemistry, surface and colloidal chemistry, organic synthesis, and molecular biology or microbiology, the course will provide a general platform for problem-solving in the bio-science area, but also useful in some nano-science, polymer-science and soft-matter science contexts.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

The student should after the course be able to perform analysis of biomolecular structure and dynamics in solution using a range of biophysical methods such as UV-Vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD), linear dichroism (LD), fluorescence spectroscopy (including polarized methods), calorimetry, gel electrophoresis, kinetics analysis, fluorescence microscopy and single molecule level experiments. These techniques are important in various biomedical and biotechnical contexts (e.g. drug development). Most of the concepts of physical chemistry (thermodynamics, kinetics, optical spectroscopy, molecular recognition, structure & function of biomacromolecules, hydrodynamics etc) that the student should get acquainted with during the course are general and the methods therefore prepare the student for many different areas, e.g. material science, paper chemistry, etc.


By "Biophysical Chemistry" we mean the application of the concepts and tools of physical chemistry, i.e. in the form of models (thermodynamics, quantum mechanics) and analytical techniques (spectroscopy, hydrodynamics), to problems of biological significance. Biological systems are complex and their function is based on various macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins, polysaccharides) and defined aggregates (lipid membranes), and on a wide variety of receptor-ligand interactions. A typical approach to understanding is therefore to characterize minimal model systems using biophysical methods and then add increasing levels of complexity. Since it is methods rather than problems that typify the field of Biophysical Chemistry, we mainly introduce these by illustrating how they can be applied to problems concerning DNA. However, the principles are general and examples showing how the techniques are equally applicable to proteins are also dealt with.
Typical general questions that underlie the course content are: Which characteristics of DNA are relevant in order to understand biological function, and to allow development of new analytical techniques, biotechnical methods, and therapeutic strategies? How can we quantitatively characterize the properties of DNA and exploit them to get the result we want?


Lectures, Tutorials and Project


Will be confirmed at the start of the course


Written final examination and approved project course (written report + oral presentation).

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.