PHY 431 - Biology for Physicsists - Selected research topics from biophysics

Course Outline

The course presents an introduction to biological systems and processes aimed at Physicists and Computer Scientists. We will introduce the nature and composition of biomatter on a quantitative basis starting with the fundamental interactions (i.e. van der Waals, electraostatic, entropic) of the constituents (DNA, RNA, proteins). We will then look at specific biological questions such as heredity, evolution and function and ecology as well as their quantitative treatment.

Then we will treat some biochemical methods used mainly in molecular biology, such as PCR, electrophoresis, blotting and mass spectrometry.

The final part of the lecture will be comprised of a selection of current research topic, such as: Scale dependent metabolic rates, molecular motors and muscles, Navigation in birds and insects, developmental biology and morphogenesis or the transcription of genes.