Summer 2022 - MBB 422 D200

Biomembranes (3)

Class Number: 5278

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 10 – Aug 8, 2022: Tue, Thu, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 322 and MBB 309W with a minimum grade of C, MBB 324 as a pre or co-requisite.



A review of recent research on the structure, dynamics, function and biosynthesis of membranes, 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:

  • Structure and cellular functions of biomembranes
  • Classes and structures of lipids
  • Classes and types of both integral and peripheral membrane proteins
  • Biochemical and biophysical methods for studying lipids
  • Biochemical and biophysical methods for studying and characterizing membrane proteins
  • Membrane organization
  • Membrane dynamics
  • Medical and pharmaceutical applications
  • Medical and health aspects of biomembrane disfunction
  • Antimicrobial peptides as an alternative to antibiotics in combating antimicrobial resistance
  • Lipid nanoparticle technologies (such as those recently used in the development of the mRNA based COVID -19 vaccines and the first ever approved gene therapy)


  • Midterm exam 1 25%
  • Midterm exam 2 30%
  • Term paper 25%
  • Oral presentation 15%
  • Participation 5%

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.