Course: Thermodynamics of biomolecular systems

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Course title Thermodynamics of biomolecular systems
Course code UCH/012
Organizational form of instruction Lecture + Lesson
Level of course Doctoral
Year of study not specified
Frequency of the course In each academic year, in the summer semester.
Semester Summer
Number of ECTS credits 4
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course Compulsory-optional
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Fessl Tomáš, Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
Content of lectures: Introduction to Thermo; 0th Law; Temperature; Work; Heat, State Functions, 1st Law, Paths, Joule and Joule-Thompson; Heat Capacity, Reversible and Irreversible Processes, Thermochemistry, 2nd Law; Entropy (Boltzmann and Clausius), ?S for Reversible and Irreversible Processes, Equilibrium; Maxwell Relations; Free Energy, Chemical Potential; Phase Equilibrium, Chemical Equilibrium; Equilibrium Constant, Standard States; Gibbs-Duhem, ?G0= -RTlnK; Example, Boltzmann Distribution, Occupation of States, Third Law, Phase Equilibria, Single Component, Phase Equilibria II; Clausius Clapeyron, Regular Solutions; Mixing Energy, Nonideal Solutions, Solvation; Colligative Properties, Osmotic Pressure and Phase Partitioning, Surface Tension, Polymer 1 - Freely Jointed Chain, Polymer 2 - Chain Conformation, Polymer 3 - Rubber Elasticity, Electrolyte Solutions, Electrolytes at Interfaces; Debye Length, Titration of Polyelectrolytes, Thermodynamics of DNA Hybridization, Cooperativity; Driving Forces for Self-Assembly; Special Topic (Coarse Grain/Monte Carlo Model) Content of practicals: During the course the knowledge gained during the lectures will be enhanced.

Learning activities and teaching methods
Monologic (reading, lecture, briefing), Dialogic (discussion, interview, brainstorming)
  • Preparation for classes - 13 hours per semester
  • Class attendance - 26 hours per semester
  • Preparation for exam - 60 hours per semester
Learning outcomes
This course provides an introduction to thermodynamics of biological systems. To fully appreciate structure, dynamics and function of biomolecules, it is extremely important to understand thermodynamics. Topics include: connection of macroscopic thermodynamic properties to microscopic molecular properties using statistical mechanics, chemical potentials, equilibrium states, binding cooperativity, behavior of macromolecules in solution and at interfaces, and solvation. Example problems include protein structure, genomic analysis, kinetics and biomechanics of individual molecule.
Survey of basic thermodynamic principles in biological systems. See "Obsah, opory" for specific topics that students master during the course.
No prerequisites required. Knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology at a level of secondary school. The courses UCH036 and UCH031 are not rquired but may help to better understand the topic.

Assessment methods and criteria
Student performance assessment

Active participation on lectures, understanding of the subject. The progress is continuously checked during the course by group discussions. It is required min. 60 % in the final exam.
Recommended literature
  • Dill, Ken A., and Sarina Bromberg. Molecular Driving Forces: Statistical Thermodynamics in Chemistry and Biology. New York, NY: Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 9780815320517..
  • Selection of scientific articles from peer-reviewed journals recomended by instructors..
  • Silbey, R., R. Alberty, and M. Bawendi. Physical Chemistry. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. ISBN: 9780471215042..

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Category of Branch/Specialization Recommended year of study Recommended semester