Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

Seminar Biophysics of sensing and signaling

In our Vorbesprechung on Oct 20 at 5 pm in Bioquant we fixed two dates for this compact seminar, which is jointly organized by Victor Sourjik (biology, ZMBH and Bioquant) and Ulrich Schwarz (physics, ITP and Bioquant), namely Dec 17/18 and Feb 11/12, in seminar room 43 in the Bioquant building (INF 267). Click here for the detailed schedule. Everybody is encouraged to prepare his/her talk in English, but as there are only German native speakers attending, the talks could also be given in German. Each speaker has 30 min, that is 60 min per subject, with 15 min for discussions.

In this seminar we will discuss the biophysical aspects of signal reception and processing in different biological systems. To which accuracy can a signal (eg a chemotactic gradient) be detected by a cell or an organism ? How are receptor signals processed and amplified inside the cell ? How is signal perception being modulated by external and internal fluctuations which are inevitable in molecular systems ? The most important prokaryotic model system for chemotaxis is E. Coli. Important eukaryotic model systems are dictyostelium and neutrophils.

This seminar is targeted at biology and physics bachelor students with an interest in interdisciplinary approaches. Subjects for talks will be based on textbook knowledge (see literature hints below) combined with recent advances taken from the original research literature. A list of possible subjects and the corresponding literature has been made available at the Vorbesprechung.

Course-related material


  • Howard Berg, Random walks in biology, Princeton University Press 1993
  • Doug Lauffenburger and Jennifer Lindermann, Receptors: models for binding, trafficking, and signaling, Oxford University Press 1996
  • Rob Phillips, Jane Kondev and Julie Theriot, Physical biology of the cell, Garland Sciences 2009
  • Edda Klipp et al., Systems biology: a textbook, Wiley-VCH 2009

Interesting links

zum Seitenanfang