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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS5117M Advanced Bionanophysics Research

15 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Zhan Ong

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Passed Level 3 Physics modules

This module is not approved as an Elective


This course will provide students with the opportunity to learn and discuss about current research topics in experimental bionanophysics. The module will have a strong emphasis on the emerging applications of bionanophysics and the development of new tools and technologies for biomedical and biomaterials applications.

Research topics will include:
- Peptide-based self-assemblies for biomedical applications
- Microfluidics
- Biological components from photosynthesis in modern nanotechnology
- Advances in high resolution imaging in the study of dynamics in soft matter and biological system
- DNA bionanotechnology
- Nanoparticles for medical applications

The course will be taught in 2 sections. Each section will focus on 3 specific topics, providing a detailed introduction and discussion of research in each area. At the end of each section, a student group will present a research paper on a topic. This presentation will include a critical analysis of the paper and wider reading of the topic. The student group will answer questions from the module group (students and lecturers) and provide a written report for the questions asked. Students will write a mini-dissertation on the other research topics in the module, and in doing so learning and exploring the science behind the research.

Learning outcomes
Upon completing this module, the students will have:
1. An in-depth understanding of some of the most current research in bionanophysics. The research topics will focus on the advances in the applications of bionanophysics that have been achieved in recent years, for example in the areas of biomedical uses and biomaterials.
2. Developed the skills of reading and extracting information from research journal articles.
3. The ability to critically assess the science presented in research articles.
4. Acquired skills in scientific writing.
5. Developed skills in communicating their review of the research by means of an assessed oral review of the papers and a written critical analysis.

Skills outcomes
- Develop an understanding and contextualisation of applications of current bionanophysics research
- Critically analyse research in the field.
- Learn the skills of communicating science and presenting a thorough critical review


Topic 1
Nanoparticles for medical applications
-Nanoparticle imaging contrast agents
-In-vitro nanoparticle diagnostics

Topic 2
- Biological cells and light-harvesting proteins manipulation into nanodevices involving polymers/ lipids, novel electrode coatings,
- plasmonic enhancement and algae for biotech.

Topic 3
- Fluid dynamics in the micrometer size channel
- Single molecules, single cells and single animal in a microfluidic device

Topic 4
Peptide-based self-assemblies for biomedical applications
- Advances in understanding of peptide self-assembly
- Emerging biomedical applications for peptide-based nanomaterials

Topic 5
DNA bionanotechnology
- DNA structural nanotechnology, including DNA origami
- Emerging biomedical and biophysical applications in DNA bionanotechnology

Topic 6
Advances in high resolution imaging in the study of dynamics in soft matter and biological systems
- Developments in spatial and temporal resolution (smaller, faster)
- Application; (i) Organisation of cell membranes: Do Proteins Rule Lipids and (ii) Organisation and Dynamics of Synapse receptors"

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Office Hour Discussions12.000.00
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Reading lecture notes and recommended journal articles, as well as sourcing more literature and reading up on new scientific terminologies.
The course will make use of original scientific material published in high-profile journals such as:
- Nature
- Science
- and other journals.
All these will be available on Minerva through web-links and PDFs.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will give a presentation on specific research papers. The presenters will submit a written report to questions asked in the following week. The other students who are not presenting will be required to submit a written document on questions for the presenters. Students will also submit 1 x 2000-word mini-dissertation and a 1 x 1400-word project proposal. Both written and informal feedback will also be provided during the lectures and office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationMini Dissertation30.00
Research ProposalProject Proposal20.00
PresentationGroup Presentation30.00
PresentationQ&A session after group presentations20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students must submit a serious attempt at all assessments for this module, in order to pass the module overall.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:38


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