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BMA courses and achievements

Courses and Achievements

Biophysical methods (ITC, MALS) to study protein – ligand interactions

Date: April 25-27, 2012 (Wednesday 13.00 h – Friday 16.30 h)
Location: Université de Genève, Science III, Room TP 0035

Registration until April 01, 2012 at SPSW-evento :


Dr. Markus Kaufmann, Département de Botanique et Biologie végétale,
Bio-molecular Analysis Platform, Université de Genève

Course objectives
: Modern molecular biological research methods will require the quantification and the qualification of protein - ligand interactions. Students will get hands on experience on two of the state of the art biophysical methods to study molecular interactions: ITC (Iso-thermal titration calorimetry) and MALS (Multi-angle light scattering). They will learn the theoretical background and the knowledge to successfully plan experiments. Participants will learn the scientific value of this data and how it complements research in plant biology. The course is also of particular interest to researchers that start working with recombinant proteins or intend to use biophysical methods to characterize biological systems.
Course content:

1) Biophysical methods ITC micro-calorimetry and MALS light scattering: ITC and MALS are two state of the art biophysical methods to quantify and qualify molecular interaction. Interaction data generated with ITC micro-calorimenty are based on the analysis of the heat of interaction. MALS light scattering in combination with SEC (Size exclusion chromatography) will allow you to analyze the molecular mass, the oligomeric state of a protein or protein complex in solution and to perform sample quality control. Sample preparations, experiment demonstration, data analysis (Stoichiometry and the binding constant or Mw determination) build the practical part. Guidelines for sample requirements, experimental set-up, theoretical background and an introduction to complementary methods to quantify interaction and the size of molecular complexes will be presented. Expert guest speaker on ITC.

2) Challenges in recombinant protein technology - protein complexes. Knowledge in producing proteins for biophysical, structural and biochemical studies will be discussed.

Guest lecturer on ITC: PD Dr. Ilian Jelezarov, Dept of Biochemistry, University of Zurich

Credit Points: 1 CP (min 24 hours/max. 30 learning hours including homework) for Ph.D. students of the Swiss Plant Science Web. Individual performance and assessment: Active participation during hands-on training and data analysis; group project and discussions in theoretical part. Contact Melanie Paschke (email: to see if the credit points will be accepted by your particular Ph.D. program. For questions about the workshop, contact Markus Kaufmann (markus.

pdf   Workshop_BMAGeneva_2012.pdf  (171 Kb)


Applications of FTIR microspectroscopy in plant material analysis
Date: September 29 (Thu), 2011 (1 day workshop)
Location: Room 5414, Biophore Building, University of Lausanne

pdf   FTIR_Spectroscopy_Course.pdf  (100 Kb)


*Biophysical methods (ITC, MALS) to study protein – ligand interactions*
Date: June 15 - June 17, 2011 (3 days)
Location: Science III, Room 0075, University of Geneva



Besides service measurements and technology consulting, the Bio-molecular analysis platform offers courses for users and members of the SPSW on the methods offered by the BMA. SPSW doctoral students are entitled to 1.0 credit point depending on courses, please refer to the Platform Manager for further question.

BMA Achievements


The BMA platform performed service measurement or offered technology consulting to researchers from most SPSW universities.

Publication with data and author contribution of the BMA platform:

Moccand Cyril, Kaufmann Markus, Fitzpatrick Teresa B (2010). It takes two to tango: Defining an essential second active site in pyridoxal 5′-phosphate synthase, Plos ONE 6(1): e16042.

Newest publications with BMA data:

Please remember to send us information about your new publications!


The managers of the BMA platform participate regularly in scientific conferences and present their work at conferences and in research seminars of the SPSW member institution. In 2010 the BMA visited 8 participating SPSW universities and introduced the services and technologies of the new BMA platform.

Presentation at conferences:

Markus Kaufmann, Biophysical techniques to study proteins and protein complexes, Swiss-Japanese-Science Meeting, Villar-sur-Ollon, VD, Switzerland, January 13, 2011.

Markus Kaufmann, Technology Platforms of the Swiss Plant Science Web – Who they are and what they have to offer! Swissplant11, Meiringen, BE, Switzerland, February 9, 2011.

Michael Bessire, Sylwester Mazurek, Guillaume Fabre, Sandra Borel, Anne-Claude Jacquat, Jean-Pierre Métraux and Christiane Nawrath, AtABCG32 is required for the formation of a functional multilayered cuticle in Arabidopsis petals.
Swissplant11, Meiringen, Switzerland, February 9, 2011.

Sylwester Mazurek and Christiane Nawrath, Biochemical analysis of cutin in Arabidopsis Thaliana petals by FTIR microspectrometry. The 5th Conference of Experimental Plant Biology, September 6-9 2011, Wroclaw, Poland. Book of Abstracts, p. 119.

Markus Kaufmann, ITC applied in combination with MALS light scattering at the Swiss Plant Science Web, Biacore and Microcal Users’ Meeting 2011, Milano, Italy, September 21-22, 2011.


In June 2011, Dr. Markus Kaufmann of the BMA Geneva held a technical workshop on Biophysical methods (ITC, MALS) to study protein - ligand interactions. PD Ilian Jelesarov from the University of Zurich was giving a guest lecture on ITC (FAQ and challenging cases). A total of 7 researchers of the University of Lausanne, ETHZ and the University of Geneva participated in the first technical workshop and learned about biophysical methods to analyze protein ligand interactions and strategies to produce high quality proteins samples. The BMA platform is planning a second workshop for spring 2012.

pdf   Course1.PDF  (64 Kb)

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