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Biophysics

The Essentials

Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of physical science to study biological systems. Examples of techniques used in the department are Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), Isothermal Calorimetry (ITC) and Analytical Ultracentrifugation (AU).

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Dynamic Light Scattering

In Dynamic light scattering (also known as Photon Correlation Spectroscopy or Quasi-Elastic Light Scattering) a suspension or solution is analysed to determine its size distribution profile of small particles. For example, this technique is useful when the oligomerisation state of a protein is not known.

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Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC)

ITC is a physical technique used to determine the thermodynamic parameters of interactions in solution such as binding affinity (Ka), enthalpy changes (ΔH) and binding stoichiometry. From these initial measurements Gibbs energy changes (ΔG), and entropy changes (ΔS), can be determined. This technique is most often used to study the binding of small molecules (such as medicinal compounds) to larger macromolecules (proteins, DNA etc.).

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Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)

This technique is used to measure adsorption of material onto immobilised binding partners. One can deduct useful information about the kinetics of a binding event and about binding affinity.

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