Fall 2023 - MBB 722 G100

Biological Membranes (3)

Class Number: 4358

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 17, 2023
    Sun, 3:30–6:30 p.m.



A review of recent literature on the structure, dynamics, function and biosynthesis of membrane lipids and proteins.


Biomembranes are assemblies of lipids, proteins and other biomolecules essential to cellular survival in all living organisms. In addition to their roles as semi-permeable physical barriers separating cells from their environments (or organelles from the cytosol), biomembranes also house a number of proteins and lipids essential for processes such as signal transduction, metabolism, cellular trafficking and vesicular fusion. As such biomembranes are sites of critical importance for health and medical applications. Membrane proteins comprise ~30% of the proteins encoded by the human genome and represent ~55-60% of protein drug targets in the pharmaceutical industry. This course will provide a broad overview of the key characteristics and applications of biomembranes.

Examples of some of the topics which will be covered include:

  • Membrane lipids
  • Membrane organization and dynamics
  • Detergents and model membrane systems
  • Biochemical and biophysical methods for investigating membrane lipids and proteins (Diffraction, Spectroscopy, and Simulation Methods)
  • Integral membrane proteins (alpha-bundles and beta-barrels)
  • Peripheral membrane proteins
  • Membrane protein folding, biogenesis and assembly
  • Enzymes
  • Receptors
  • Transporters
  • Channels
  • Electron transport
  • Energy transduction


  • Midterm exam 1 20%
  • Midterm exam 2 20%
  • Final exam 30%
  • Assignments 30%



Luckey, Mary, Membrane Structural Biology with Biochemical and Biophysical Foundations, 2nd Ed., 2014. Cambridge University Press.  ISBN: 978-1-107-03063-3


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.