2023-2024 / BIOC0720-1

Structural biology


25h Th, 15h Mon. WS

Number of credits

 Master in bio-informatics and modelling (120 ECTS)4 crédits 
 Master in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology (120 ECTS)4 crédits 


Christian Damblon, Frédéric Kerff

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Partim general

Detailed introduction of the structure of biological macromolecules. Detailed presentation of the Protein Data Bank and other available structural biology resources. Introduction to the use of the Pymol structure viewer software. Introduciton to the modeling of protein structures.

Partim XR

The different experimental steps that will lead to the image of a biomolecule using the technique of X-ray diffractionby monocrystal will be described. Different examples illustrating the relations structure-function will be approached on the basis of research articles 

Partim CryoEM

We will discuss the steps required for the determination of a protein structure by the single particule cryo-electron microscopy technique. We will describe recent technological advances that have led to the very rapid emergence of this technique in structural biology and discuss its advantages and limitations. Some recent examples of structures illustrating the power of the technique will be described.

Partim NMR

The course deals with various aspects of structural biology for which the NMR provides essential information such as : Solution structure dynamic Interraction of all kinds Protein folding intrinsically disordered proteins 
The different concepts of NMR and NMR techniques are seen according to the different aspects of structural biology considered.


This course concerns only students who attended it but didn't pass the exam during the
academic year 2022-2023. From 2023-2024, there will be no face-to-face lectures. Slides and
notes will be available on Campus and questions/answers sessions will be organized on

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Partim General
Knowledge of amino acids. Use of open access structural biology resources. Basic use of the Pymol software for the anaylis of a structure and the ability to obtain a model strating from an amino acid sequence.
Partim XR
This course gives to the future biochemists the bases necessary to understand the principles of determination of 3D structures by X-ray crystallography in order to enable them to make an objective use of the crystallographic models.
Partim CryoEM
The purpose of this section is to provide information to enable students to know the potential of the technique for determining biological structures for its integration into future research projects.
Partim NMR 
Understand how NMR contributes to the understanding of proteins and their function.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Course of physics of 1st cycle. Basic knowledge in X-ray crystallography and knowledge of the basic principles of the structures of proteins.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This lecture will be given in a classical form, including the use of a PowerPoint presentation, a chalk and a black board.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Recommended or required readings

Lessons will be made available in pdf format. Scientific articles, PDB files and tutorials will also be available through the eCampus platform.
Reference books : Biomolecular crystallography: Prainciples, Practice, and Application to sturctural biology 

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

The course evaluation will be based on the choice of a scientific article in English.
The exam will be oral and will consist of a powerpoint presentation, followed by interactive questions.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Frédéric Kerff, PhD, Chercheur qualifié FNRS
DAMBLON Christian, PhD, Professeur

Association of one or more MOOCs