Physics for Life Sciences

Course Aim

This basic course aims to introduce physical principles that are necessary in modern life sciences, such as biophysical modeling and electromagnetic and optical measurements.

Course Description

Principles of physics of central relevance to modern biological analysis and instrumentation are introduced with an emphasis on application in practical research areas such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, electromagnetics, the interaction of light and matter, and brain recording, stimulation, and imaging.

Course Contents

1 Physics in Biology: How physics contributes to life sciences.
2 Fundamentals on light and matter
3 Fundamentals on light and matter interaction
4 Luminescence with special focus on fluorescence
5 The physics of photobiology with special focus on photosynthesis
6 The physics of optogenetics
7 Linear optics with special focus on microscopy
8 Non-linear optics with special focus on imaging and lasers
9 The physics of electron microscopy and mass spectrometry
10 Nuclear magnetic resonance and its applications in biology
11 The physics of DNA
12 The physics of lipid membranes
13 The physics of proteins
14 Diffusion and enzyme kinetics
15 Basic electric circuits and electrophysiology


Midterm test, 35%, Final test, 65%


Atkins Physical Chemistry, by P. Atkins & J. de Paula (2006) Oxford University Press
Introduction to Biophotonics by P.N. Prasad, (2003) J. Wiley & Sons
Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology by D. Johnston & S.M-S. Wu (1994) The MIT Press
Guide to Research Techniques in Neuroscience by M. Carter & J. Shieh (2015) Academic Press

Research Specialties