DescriptionThe course focuses on selected subjects and their potential to study systems of biological relevance. An obvious topic of the biosciences is the investigation of structures, and the biological function covered by them, from tissue to cells, from molecular aggregates to single molecules. Another issue is trafficking, which is related to dynamics, i.e. changes of concentrations and/or structures. An introduction to basic aspects will be given together with an outline of modern experimental approaches:
• Imaging microscopy techniques (optical-, electron-, and x-ray microscopy) and the related questions of resolution and contrast, probe selection and sample preparation will be discussed together with structures of interest.
• Periodic configurations (crystalline structures) can be investigated to finest details by diffraction and reflectometry methods, whereas techniques like atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe localized features down to single molecules – and can be envisaged as optical only in a generalized way of thinking. These methods will be introduced and discussed.
• Biological systems are typically soft, and frequently fluid. Nature makes use of their mechanical features, performing e.g. shape adjustments, domain formation and decomposition, and fast response on concentration gradients. Advanced spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, including image analysis, micromanipulation, and (laser) fluorescence methods will be presented.