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11:115:409: Principles of Biophysical Chemistry

(3 credits)


This is a lecture course which is offered each Spring semester.

Prerequisites and Registration Restrictions

General Biochemistry 11:115:403 and one year of Calculus.  A year of Physics and one of Biology are strongly recommended.

For pre-requisite overrides or special permission contact the Instructor.


Two 80-minute lectures per week.


The application of physical theory and selected experimental methods to biochemical processes

Topics Covered

An extensive treatment of thermodynamics as it applies to matters such as protein stability, allostery, ligand binding to receptors, membrane formation and others.  Areas of spectroscopy routinely used in biochemistry include absorption, fluorescence and circular dichroism.  Advanced kinetics including transition state theory is covered.

Course Book

Tinoco, Sauer, Wang and Puglisi, Physical Chemistry Principles and Applications in Biological Sciences, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002.

Learning Goals

Students are expected to come away with a grasp of how Nature has adapted the chemistry of living organisms to follow—and take advantage of—the laws of physical chemistry.  Students will also learn to blend mathematics into essays in discussing the science.


There are two 80-minute examinations and a three-hour final examination.  All examinations are open book/open notes. There are several problem sets, some as homework and some done in class in groups.  The 80 minute exams each comprise 20% of the grade.  The final is 40%, and the problems are 20%.  Exams and problems involve essays as well as computation.


A detailed syllabus will be available at the first class meeting and posted on the course Sakai page.

Additional Information

Contact the instructor, the instructor Natalya Voloshchuk, 125 Lipman Hall, Cook Campus. Telephone: 848-932-5618 Email: