NS3017: Molecular Cell Biology and Nanoscience


From Quantum Dots to Cellular Organelles

Credits: 15

Length: 5 weeks

Module Synopsis:

The module is designed to provide an introduction to the world of nanoscience and its applications in nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology has been the interest of both physicists and chemists alike; however, as one MIT representative once said, ''biology is the nanotechnology that works''. The subcellular structures that make up the cells within any organism are all constructed from macromolecular building blocks, demonstrating that complex systems and processes on the nanoscale are possible.

Nanoscience is not just about large things made smaller: behaviour in the nano-world depends on the fundamental quantum properties of matter. To understand nanoscience we therefore first have to understand quantum mechanics. This will form the first section of the module. 

Bionanotechnology has taken a synthetic route using engineering approaches to create a biological mimetic system, which is controllable and predictable. For example, removing existing components of a biological system and placing it into a hybrid environment, such as in molecular motors and photosynthetic complexes.
Biomarkers are used to describe a variety of chemical markers which can be measured easily (un-invasive) in vivo, in the body. Its concentration is measured in response to dose, biological responses, and interpreted as a beneficial effect or risk. In Cell Biology, markers can be used to label specific areas within the cell, by selectively tagging specific proteins localised to certain areas of the cell

In this section you will explore basic cell biology and cell imaging techniques using quantum dots. You will also be introduced to the flow of genetic information through the cell, whereby the DNA inherited by an organism leads to specific traits by dictating the synthesis of proteins.

Learning Objectives:

  • Quantum Mechanics in the Context of Nanoparticles
  • Principles in Quantum Mechanics
  • Quantum Systems
  • Magnetism
  • Nanoparticles
  • Medical Applications of Nanoparticles
  • Cell Structure and Contents
  • Visualising the Cell
  • Light, Electron and Fluorescence Microscopy
  • Molecular and Cellular Research Techniques
  • Transcription and Translation

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