The programme deals with fundamentals in structural biology and biochemistry with special focus on protein chemistry and biophysical methods for high resolution analytics. Fundamentals in thermodynamics, reaction kinetics and theoretic aspects of molecular interactions are discussed. The students get familiar with biophysical methods allowing to delineate both the structure of single cells “down” to single molecules. Examples include electromanipulation and dielectrical spectroscopy of cells, electrokinetic techniques, protein folding, single molecule fluorescence methodology, high resolution as well as dynamic microscopy.
Further topics are current approaches in bioinformatics including the analysis of genomes and sequences, protein domains and protein families, further large-scale data analysis (e.g. next generation sequences, proteomics data), the analysis of different functional RNAs (e.g. miRNAs, lncRNAs). Aspects of computational systems biology include functional genomics, dynamics of the transcriptome, of metabolism and metabolic networks as well as regulatory networks.
The two major topics are composed of two theory modules as well as a practical course unit each. Further research training is provided in a selected field of interest, and the students are actively involved in ongoing research projects and learn to independently plan and perform both theoretical and experimental work and finally, to summarize and discuss the results obtained in the thesis.
The students understand the principles of biophysics and biochemistry including structural biology. They also become familiar with fundamental methods in biophysics and get an idea to apply these in various experimental settings. This enables the students to get deeper into the field by reading current scientific literature, by acquiring sufficient quantitative understanding of biophysical mechanisms. They further understand recent results in systems biology and are able to work on related research projects.