Course Title: Biophysical and Biomolecular Chemistry

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Biophysical and Biomolecular Chemistry

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Ewan Blanch

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 2890

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 03.02.26

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no enforced requisite courses, but it is assumed that you have an UG degree in a scientific or engineering discipline

Course Description

This course aims to introduce you to relevant concepts of biomolecular and cellular structure and its analysis; cellular organisation and biochemistry; protein structure and folding/unfolding; X-ray crystallography; biomolecular spectroscopies; molecular imaging (electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy), quantum physical concepts and processes in open systems and applications in photosynthetic systems.

From these relevant principles, the course examines how the synthesis of biological systems with nanomaterials is being used to develop novel nanoscale devices and molecular probes. Teaching involves theory and problem solving sessions in workshops and tutorials, and emphasises the development of training in multidisciplinary skills at the nanoscale domain of the biology/chemistry/physics interface.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC204 Master of Nanotechnology and Smart Materials.

PLO 1. Acquire, investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories relating to cutting edge developments in nanotechnology and smart materials.

PLO 2. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to future nanotechnology enquiry in theoretical and applied (industry) contexts.

PLO 5. Exhibit requisite communication skills to disseminate research findings appropriate to the intended audience and the medium of communication.

PLO 6. Adhere to appropriate regulatory frameworks, work safely in cleanroom environments and demonstrate ethical conduct.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to;

CLO 1. Demonstrate a clear understanding of fundamental concepts in biological structure and organisation at both the cellular and molecular levels;

CLO 2. Describe the fundamental principles and capabilities of a range of structural and biophysical techniques used to detect and study biological systems,

CLO 3. Demonstrate a clear understanding of how nanomolecular scale devices can be designed to integrate or interact with biological systems for diverse purposes,

CLO 4. Clearly distinguish quantum physical and classical processes and be familiar with the concepts of open quantum systems and quantum noise on the mesoscopic scale.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning will be promoted through a series of tutorials and workshops, as well as by short research projects in the laboratory.

Total Study Hours

A total of 120 study hours is expected, comprising:

Teacher-guided activities: You should attend and participate in 24 hours of workshops/tutorials.

Student-directed activities: You should do at least 96 hours in independent study on set assignments.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lists of relevant reference texts, library resources and freely accessible internet sites will be provided, along with additional materials in class. Relevant information will also be accessible through 'myStudies' via myRMIT (also known as Canvas).

Overview of Assessment

Assessment tasks

 Note: This course has no hurdle requirements


  1. Pre-prac tests/quizzes 20%

Pre prac tests have multiple choice questions. They are based on previous lectures.

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2 and 3.

  1. Practical reports 30%

You must attend the practicals and complete the practical activities in order to receive credit for the practical reports. Prac reports are typically due within one week of pracs, and late reports are not marked.

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2 and 3.


  1. Two written assignments (25% each, 50% total)

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2 and 3.