This course presents a rigorous introduction to solution thermodynamics and applies it to understanding the structural and functional features of proteins. After exploring the conceptual origins of thermodynamic theory, the standard equations describing solution equilibria are derived and applied to analyzing biochemical reactions, with a focus on those involved in protein folding and allosteric communication. The semester culminates with exploration of the energetic factors controlling the formation of protein secondary structures and the role of entropy-enthalpy compensation in determining the complex temperature-dependent thermodynamic properties of aqueous solutions. The course emphasizes both qualitative understanding of the thermodynamic forces controlling the evolution and function of living organisms as well as practical application of thermodynamic methods and structural insight in laboratory research. Tutorials cover the use of curve-fitting techniques to analyze biochemical equilibria as well as the use of molecular visualization software to understand protein structure and function. This is a half semester, 2-point course.
Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027