Structural materials in cells

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Learn about the structure of cells and how proteins create a framework for cellular growth. Discover the strength of spider silk and its comparison to steel. Gain knowledge on self-assembly in natural materials, protein structures and functions, and the design of molecular devices.

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Where does the structure of our body come from? This free course, Structural materials in cells, looks at the structure of cells and how proteins are used by both animals and plants to create a framework for cellular growth. You will also learn how a material as fine as spider silk can exceed the strength of steel.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

Describe and give examples of how self-assembly enables construction ‘from the bottom up’ in natural materials

Explain what is meant by primary and higher-order structure in proteins and give examples

Give examples of the range of functions carried out by proteins within cells

Describe how a combination of strong and weak bonding within biopolymers and lipids is used to build hierarchical structures with common structural elements and finely tuned properties, including calculations where appropriate

Explain how both positive and negative design principles must be applied to the design of molecular devices and comment on the challenges involved in attempting such design.

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    Structural materials in cells
    Structural materials in cells
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