Postgraduate taught 

Biomedical Engineering MSc

Energy in Biological Systems M ENG5281

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course aims to encourage the acquisition of general knowledge of the thermodynamics principles governing the biological processes.  These involve study of the energy transductions that occur in and between living organisms, structures and cells.


2 lectures per week

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses





100% Examination

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ provide students with the knowledge and skills to use thermodynamics principles for the analysis of biological processes;

■ provide students with the knowledge and skills to use thermodynamics principles for identifying the equilibrium state of biological systems;

■ provide students with the knowledge and skills to apply thermodynamics principles to differentiate between thermodynamically favourable and unfavourable biological reactions;

■ provide students with the skills to analyse the thermodynamics of in vivo and in vitro enzymatic reactions;

■ provide students with the skills to analyse the thermodynamics of energy carriers in biological systems;

■ provide students with the knowledge of modern thermodynamics models describing biological systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ apply the principles of thermodynamics to a broad range of biological processes, such as osmosis, protein solubility and dynamics;

■ describe the equilibrium state of living biological systems, such as cells and proteins;

■ evaluate the occurrence and the rate of enzymatic reactions;

■ classify different energy transduction processes, such as those involving ATP;

■ recognize favourable and/or unfavourable biological reactions;

■ describe modern thermodynamic models of biological systems.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend the timetabled laboratory classes.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.