Instructor: Tobias Bollenbach

Teaching Assistant: Marcin Zagorski, Veronika Bierbaum

This course will briefly recapitulate concepts and techniques from statistical physics, thermodynamics, and dynamical systems theory, and apply them to key problems in biology. Questions we will address include: What distinguishes biological processes from equilibrium phenomena? How do biological molecules and cells move? What are the physical principles underlying gene regulation? What is the role of fluctuations in biology and what are the tools for describing them? We will illustrate these topics with specific examples, including some from synthetic biology. Part of the course will involve dissection of the primary literature with strong student participation. Knowledge of basic physics or mathematics (undergraduate level) is a prerequisite for taking this course.

Date | Topic | |
---|---|---|

May 5,7 | Bionumbers: Physicist's introduction to cell composition and physiology | |

May 12,19 | Random walks and diffusion: diffusion equation, Langevin equation, FDT | |

May 21,26 | Equations of motion: friction, swimming, Reynolds number | |

May 28, Jun 2 | Polymer physics: properties of biopolymers, scaling laws, entropic forces | |

Jun 9,11 | Dynamical systems: nonlinear dynamics, stability analysis, bifurcations | |

Jun 16,18 | Simple genetic networks: genetic switch, repressilator | |

Jun 23,25 | Large biological networks: topology, statistical properties, random networks | |

Jun 30, Jul 2 | Exam week |

Homework | Due | |
---|---|---|

recitation 1 | May 12 | |

recitation 2 | May 26 | |

recitation 3 | June 9 | |

recitation 4 | June 23 | |

Lecture notes | Week | |

lecture notes 1 | Week 1 | |

lecture notes 3 | Week 3 | |

lecture notes 4 | Week 4, lecture 6,7 | |

lecture notes 5 | Week 5 | |

lecture notes 6 | Week 6 | |

lecture notes 7 | Week 7 |

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