Biological Physics Notes
Topics in our Biological Physics Notes PDF
In these “Biological Physics Notes PDF”, you will study the basic facts and ideas of biology from a quantitative perspective. It shows them how ideas and methods of physics enrich our understanding of biological systems at diverse length and time scales. The course also gives them a flavour of the interface between biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.
The topics we will cover will be taken from the following list:
Overview: The boundary, interior and exterior environment of living cells. Processes: exchange of matter and energy with environment, metabolism, maintenance, reproduction, evolution. Self-replication as a distinct property of biological systems. Time scales and spatial scales. Allometric scaling laws.
Molecules of life: Metabolites, proteins and nucleic acids. Their sizes, types and roles in structures and processes. Transport, energy storage, membrane formation, catalysis, replication, transcription, translation, signaling. Typical populations of molecules of various types present in cells, their rates of production and turnover. Energy required to make a bacterial cell. Simplified mathematical models of transcription and translation, small genetic circuits and signaling pathways to be studied analytically and computationally.
Molecular motion in cells: Random walks and applications to biology: Diffusion; models of macromolecules. Entropic forces: Osmotic pressure; polymer elasticity. Chemical forces: Self assembly of amphiphiles. Molecular motors: Transport along microtubules. Flagellar motion: bacterial chemotaxis.
The complexity of life: At the level of a cell: The numbers of distinct metabolites, genes and proteins in a cell. Metabolic, regulatory and signaling networks in cells. Dynamics of metabolic networks; the stoichiometric matrix. The implausibility of life based on a simplified probability estimate, and the origin of life problem. At the level of a multicellular organism: Numbers and types of cells in multicellular organisms. Cellular differentiation and development. Brain structure: neurons and neural networks. Brain as an information processing system. At the level of an ecosystem and the biosphere: Foodwebs. Feedback cycles and self- sustaining ecosystems.
Evolution: The mechanism of evolution: variation at the molecular level, selection at the level of the organism. Models of evolution. The concept of genotype-phenotype map. Examples.
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