The course on Bioenergetics will focus on the various aspects of energy transduction performed by living organisms. By the end of the course the student should understand the thermodynamic and kinetic principles involved in energy transduction and be able to solve numerical application problems. He should know the components and organisation of the respiratory chains and photosystems and understand the mechanisms of electron/proton coupling. He should be aware of the diversity of bacterial respiration and photosynthesis. It is also expected that the student develops skills in searching, understanding, and discussing the scientific literature in this field.   

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Teresa Nunes Mangas Catarino, Ricardo O. Louro


Weekly - 2

Total - 28

Teaching language



There are no requirements but the student should have basic knowledge in Biochemistry.


1. Bioenergetics 4, David G. Nicholls and Stuart J. Ferguson (2013) Academic Press.

2. Biochemistry, Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko, Gregory J. Gatto Jr. and Lubert Stryer (2019) W. H. Freeman, 9th Edition.

3. Vander''''''''s HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY The Mechanisms of Body Function Widmaier, Raff, Strang, (2019)  Mc Graw Hill 15th Edition.

4. Redox Proteins in Supercomplexes and Signalosomes, Ricardo O. Louro and Irene Díaz-Moreno, (2015)  CRC Press 

Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures and workshops.

The lectures will cover the topics of the program.

The workshops will be dedicated to numerical applications in Bioenergetics and to the presentation and discussion of frontline scientific articles by the students. 

Evaluation method

The final evaluation is the result of a theoretical examination paper (60%), and presentation and discussion of scientific articles (40%).

To be approved in this curricular unit, the grade of the theoretical examination paper cannot be smaller than 8.5/20. 

Subject matter

1. Introduction to Bioenergetics: Life, energy and metabolism.

2. Quantitative Bioenergetics: the measurement of driving forces. Gibbs free energy. Oxidation-reduction potencial. Electrochemical potential.

3. Chemiosmotic energy transduction. Electron transfer and electron/proton coupling. Proton motive force generation.

4. Mitocondrial respiratory chain.

5. ATPsynthase: structure, mechanism and regulation.

6. Light reactions of photosynthesis: organisation of the photosystems and proton motive force generation.

7. Diversity of bacterial respiration and its environmental relevance.

8. Bioenergetics and health (discussion of scientific articles) 


Programs where the course is taught: