Institute of Applied Physics - Biophysics
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Here, we present the lectures and courses held by Prof. Schütz. All lectures are given in English. For more detailed information see the respective course page in the TISS system.

Winter semester

Molecular Biology of the Cell

134.201, VO, 2.0 h, 3.0 ECTS

The lectures offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of molecular cell biology. We first describe organelles and their functions. Next, we follow the energy metabolism from glucose (or fat) to the end-product, the energy carrier ATP. Finally, we discuss how cells store information as DNA, how DNA is replicated, how it is transcribed to RNA, how RNA is translated to protein, and how proteins are modified and transported to the appropriate location in the cell.

Single Molecule Microscopy

134.203, SE, 2.0 h, 2.0 ECTS, to be held in blocked form

In this seminar, students will present their choice of 3 papers on a selected topic to the other seminar participants in a 30 minutes talk; the selected topic will be taken from a list within the scientific field of “Single Molecule Microscopy”. Prior to their seminar, the students will be supervised during the preparation: I will discuss the selection of research papers (2 weeks before the seminar), and the presentation itself (1 week before the seminar). I will provide feedback after the seminar to each student individually. In addition to holding their presentation, students will also be responsible for chairing the sessions, and for discussing the presentations.

Molecular Biophysics

134.209, VO, 2.0 h, 3.0 ECTS

What is the shape of a protein? How fast does a molecule move inside a cell? What happens, if you compress a lipid membrane? Which electrical potential do ions experience as they approach a cell? We try to answer such questions by combining different fields of physics like thermodynamics, polymer physics, mechanics, and electrodynamics.


134.210, UE, 1.0 h, 1.5 ECTS
Lecturer: Mario Brameshuber

The exercises are strongly related to the main course held by Gerhard Schütz. Examples cover most topics presented in the main lecture. Starting with simple examples dealing with bio(physical) terminology, we will focus on thermodynamic aspects like Gibb's Free energy and non-ideal behavior of macromolecules and their application to determine protein-relevant parameters. After calculating simple reaction kinetics and cooperativity examples we focus on the two basic cellular transport processes, namely Brownian diffusion and directed motion. The envelope of a live cell - the plasma membrane - and its composition and resulting biophysical parameters will cover the remaining part of the course.

Students are encouraged to work out the examples in small groups and present the results in front of other course participants. The course will end with a written exam with examples related to the presented ones. Additional support will be given by me if examples turn out to be "unsolvable" or if just hints are needed.



Summer semester


134.202, VO, 1.0 h, 1.5 ECTS
Membranes are the envelope of a cell. But there is much more to it. From a cell biologist's point of view, membranes host an enormous variety of proteins, which act as receptors, enzymes, channels, etc. A biophysicist may be more interested in the fascinating thermodynamical and electrical phenomena within and around membranes. The biochemist's focus could be the plethora of lipids which constitute membranes. In the course, we try to cover all three perspectives.

Microscopy on Biomolecules

134.996, VO, 2.0 h, 3.0 ECTS

The lecture will introduce students to the fundamentally new microscopy concepts that are currently revolutionizing the life sciences. Following the motto “there is no method without its application” I will explain new concepts by means of recent examples from the literature. I want to make the lecture exciting for a broad audience: Therefore, in depth mathematical treatments will not be avoided, but understanding the principles will also be possible without following the maths in detail. An accompanying practical course will be offered.

134.997, PR, 2.0 h, 2.0 ECTS
Lecturer: Eva Sevcsik

Microscopy becomes an experience in its application. We will offer two approaches in the practical course:
- A primitive microscope will be built on a breadboard based on the plans of Ernst Abbe; it allows for capturing the basics of image formation, resolution and Fourier optics.
- A modern fluorescence microscope will be used to study biomembranes below the diffraction limit of conventional light microscopy.