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Deadline for scholarships : February 15th, 2020 (midnight, Paris time).  

Deadline for self-financed students : June 15th, 2020 (midnight, Paris time).  

Master SERP+ Programme

Introduction to biophysics and microscopies for life sciences


Introduction to biology: the toolbox for biophysics

  • Cell biology (From DNA to proteins, Cell architecture and motility, The Cell cycle)
  • Biochemistry (The elementary bricks of life: proteins, DNA, RNA, membrane/lipids)

Biophysics and microscopies for the life sciences

  • Optical microscopy: Fluorescence and fluorescent probes for biology, setups for microscopy, super-resolved microscopy techniques, applications to quantitative analysis of molecular behaviors in live cells
  • Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM): Theory and application of AFM. From cells to single molecule studies (Living cells imaging, DNA imaging, biopolymer elasticity).
  • Introduction to Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET): General introduction to energy and electron transfer, Theory of FRET, FRET in steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopy and microscopy, Applications of multiplexed FRET with quantum dot nanoparticles to investigate biomolecular interaction

Practical courses

  • Visualization of cell’s cytoskeleton: The aim of the course is to use the immunofluorescence technique to stain components of the cell (actin filaments, tubulins and microtubules) on fixed cells.
  • Bioinformatics: The aim of this course is to learn how to use the PDB website and to visualize protein structures in 3D with VMD.
  • Atomic force microscopy: This practical course will teach to student how to use an AFM (imaging and force curve analysis) to study fixed and dried cells (bacteria or eukaryotic cells).
  • Spectroscopic analysis of the isomerization of a GFP chromophore: The aim of this practical course is to analyze the molecular events happening in a cyan fluorescent protein upon a pH jump from 7 to 5.
  • FRET: Time-resolved and steady-state spectroscopy of FRET between terbium complexes (Tb) and quantum dots (QD) via biotin-streptavidin and antibody-antigen biological recognition. Both Tb donors and QD will be spectroscopically characterized, FRET parameters will be determined and biorecognition experiments will be performed on a fluorescence plate reader.


Provide to students a basic knowledge on biology and an overview of current challenges in microscopy. Research related hands-on will help to develop their critical faculties.

Teaching Staff

Marie Erard (Course Coordinator)
Sophie Dupré
Oliver Nüsse
Niko Hildebrandt
Alexandre Dazzi


Lectures: 26 h
Tutorials: 6h
Practical courses: 19 h

Grading System

Final exam: 55 %
Practical course: 45 %