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Course catalogue

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Master SERP+ Programme - cohort 2020-2025

Introduction to biophysics and microscopies for life science (5 ECTS)


Introduction to biology: the toolbox for biophysics

  • Cell biology (From DNA to proteins, Cell architecture and motility, The Cell cycle)
  • Biochemistry (The elementary bricks of life: proteins, DNA, RNA, membrane/lipids)

Biophysics and microscopies for the life sciences

  • Optical microscopy: Fluorescence and fluorescent probes for biology, setups for microscopy, super-resolved microscopy techniques, applications to quantitative analysis of molecular behaviors in live cells
  • Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM): Theory and application of AFM. From cells to single molecule studies (Living cells imaging, DNA imaging, biopolymer elasticity).

Practical courses

  • Visualization of cell’s cytoskeleton: The aim of the course is to use the immunofluorescence technique to stain components of the cell (actin filaments, tubulins and microtubules) on fixed cells.
  • Bioinformatics: The aim of this course is to learn how to use the PDB website and to visualize protein structures in 3D with VMD.
  • Atomic force microscopy: This practical course will teach to student how to use an AFM (imaging and force curve analysis) to study fixed and dried cells (bacteria or eukaryotic cells).
  • Spectroscopic analysis of the isomerization of a GFP chromophore: The aim of this practical course is to analyze the molecular events happening in a cyan fluorescent protein upon a pH jump from 7 to 5.
  • Data analysis of microscopy data [3h ON, ½ classe] Students will analyze time-resolved recordings of biological parameters. They will use in-situ calibration data to quantify cellular concentrations.



This course is an introduction to several concepts of Biophysics organized by a multidisciplinary team composed of physico-chemist, physicists and cell biologists. It will focus on microscopies and their application to biology.

Activities in small groups, research related tutorials and hands-on will help to develop critical faculties of the students.

Teaching Staff
Marie Erard (Course Coordinator)
Sophie Dupré
Oliver Nüsse
Ariane Deniset

Lectures: 10h
Exercises: 8h
Laboratory: 16.5h