Degree course: 
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
Academyc year when helding the course: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Exercise (16 hours)

The course requires knowledge, at undergraduate level, of the atom structure, of the laws of electromagnetism and of optics, the bases of general and cellular physiology and the bases of molecular biology. A good knowledge of English language is needed.

Final Examination: 

Learning is verified by the oral presentation of a research proposal followed by detailed discussion, in order to determine the student knowledge of the topics covered in course. A coherent proposal which develops a new strategy able to solve a scientific problem or to test a new hypothesis allows to verify the capability for critical thinking and independent judgment, Moreover it permits to test the knowledge of the course topics.
During the oral exam are also verified the knowledge acquired in the laboratory module, through the discussion of the data collected and analyzed. The final evaluation will take into account knowledge of the topics, the ability to adequately explain the proposals and the statements presented in the project, the critical interpretation of the data and their analysis. The valuation leads to the assignment of a final mark out of thirty.

Voto Finale

The course will present some aspects of physiology and biophysics at the cellular and molecular level that have a possible biotechnology applications. In particular it will deal with membrane proteins, fluorescent proteins, advanced techniques of electrophysiology, fluorescence and optogenetic.
and training goals
The training goals is the acquisition of critical thinking on recent scientific publications regarding the study of membrane proteins, in particular of ionic channels, transporters, iontropic and metabotropic receptors, electrophysiological techniques, bioimaging and optogenetic and related applications, fluorescent proteins, fluorescent dyes and techniques for their monitoring, in order to be able to complete a research proposal about the topics citing the recent and the relevant literature.
It is expected the acquisition of knowledge of these topics as well as the ability to discuss and propose technical and scientific approaches to solve complex biological problems.
The preparation and the oral presentation of an innovative project linking the treated topics with the aim of planning a possible biotechnological application improves scientific communication skills of the student and his ability in research problems solving.
Knowledge and understanding (Knowledge and know)
Ability of independent conscious evaluation, interpretation and contextualization of the scientific problems;
Acquisition of satisfactory skills for the acquisition and analysis of membrane protein data using complex techniques and programs as in research laboratories
Ability in interpretation and analysis of data with reference to techniques used in experimental laboratory.
Acquisition of adequate skills and tools for scientific communication: preparation of a scientific proposal and oral presentation of the full project.
Applying knowledge and understanding (Skills and know how)
Developing the ability to recognize and contextualize experimental scientific data or scientific questions and reporting them in an applicative perspective

The energy in the living organism: the internal energy, Gibbs and Helmholtz free energy, enthalpy, the laws of thermodynamics, the concept of potential (chemical and electrical, mechanical), Boltzmann equation.
Phenomenology of flows: diffusion, permeability, Fick Law
Biophysics of cell membranes.
The concept of driving force, Nerst equation, equilibrium potential, Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation, resting potential
The role of membrane composition, membrane curvature, lipid raft, microdomain.
Permeation and transport: transporters and ion channels: classification, structure-function relationships, and structural determinants of functions.
Insights on biophysics of SLC transporters, glutamate receptors and TRP channels.
Voltage and patch clamp, Voltage clamp fluorimetry, optogenetics.
Heterologous expression in cell lines and Xenopus oocytes,
Fluorescent proteins and fluorophores and fluorescent indicators.
Applied aspects: construction of light-activated channels, studying the role of metabotropic and ionotropic receptors in the synaptic function and in long-term potentiation by advanced and electrophysiological techniques; role of calcium channels, exchangers, pumps and calsequestrin in the study of cardiac activity; nano-bio technology, study of the interaction between nanoparticles and membranes; development of alternative methods to the use radioactive uptake in the study of membrane transporter.
Acquisition of the data: choice of parameters, units of measurement, samples number, DACs, the sampling rate, aliasing.
Design and development a scientific proposal.

Taglietti e Casella Fisiologia e biofisica delle cellule Edises- ISBN 9788879598682

The teaching materials of this course is periodically updated and consists of the slides that are presented by the teacher, in the link to the videos shown during the lecture and in scientific papers. For the laboratory module, protocols describing the experimental program of each sessions will be provided and supplemented by scientific articles.
All materials mentioned above is available on the e-learning platform.


The course consists of lectures (5 credits) and laboratory (1 CFU). During the lectures, the presentation of the topics is held with the help of power point presentations, supplemented by the “on line” or “in room” seminars in English by the researchers with key roles in the topics related research area. The Laboratory module will take place in the Laboratory of Experimental Biology, in the research laboratory of cellular and molecular physiology group and in computer laboratory. In the laboratory course, the analysis of membrane protein functions will be investigated through different approaches, electrophysiological, biochemical, and with fluorescent probes. The collected data will be processed with advanced programs and analyzed to prepare a graphics representation. In the laboratory module the continuous assistance is ensured by the presence of the teacher and one or more tutors. Students are reminded that attendance to the laboratory module is mandatory and that the absence is allowed only for a number of hours not exceeding 25% of the total of the laboratory program, for this course 4 hours are allowed, but strongly discouraged.