Biophysics of Excitable Cells (PHYS*2030)
Code and section: PHYS*2030*01
Term: Winter 2020
Instructor: Leonid Brown
Lectures and Tutorials
Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30 – 12:20, JTP 2266 ONLINE EFFECTIVE MARCH 23
Tutorial: Section 1: Wednesday 9:30 – 10:20, GRHM 2310 ONLINE EFFECTIVE MARCH 23
Section 2: Tuesday 8:30 – 9:20, GRHM 2310 ONLINE EFFECTIVE MARCH 23
(NOTE: no tutorials will be held in the midterm week and the week after, weeks 7-8)
ONLINE, please email your Richard or Leonid.
Lecture notes, problem sets, and supplementary materials will be available on Courselink.
Course Calendar Description
An intermediate biophysics course with special emphasis on the physical properties of nerve cells and of biological transducers such as the ear and the eye. Prerequisite(s): 1.00 credits in physics (excluding PHYS*1020, PHYS*1600, PHYS*1810)
The main objectives of this course are to provide a basic understanding of the physical phenomena underlying nerve and membrane activity, and to illustrate how these phenomena are applied to different types of excitable cells.
By the end of this course students will be able to…
- Describe how physical principles influence the structure and function of excitable cells.
- Illustrate how physical phenomena can be applied to different types of excitable cells.
- Solve numerical problems using circuit analysis with various components including membrane resting and action potentials, membrane conductance and current flowing through cell membranes under different physiological conditions.
- Explain membrane and nerve activities with reference to the relevant underlying physical phenomena that give rise to them.
- Analyze how the principles of diffusion and electricity apply to biological membranes and individual nerve cells and how these result in cell resting and action potentials under different conditions.
- Apply the appropriate physical models to solve numerical problems describing sensory functions including hearing, vision, olfaction and taste.
- Generate simple circuit models to describe excitable cell membranes for excitable cells specific to the sensory systems.
- Compare and contrast the mechanisms underlying sensory functions of vision, hearing, olfaction and taste.
"Biophysics of Excitable Cells" by G.H. Renninger, U. of G., 2003.
Available from the Physics Dept. Quiz Room (SSC 1101).
"From Neuron to Brain" by J.G. Nicholls et al. (Library: QP 355.2.K83 2001)
“Principles of Neural Science" by E.R. Kandel et al. (Library: QP 355.2.P76 2013)
|Week 1: Jan 6-10||
Introduction to the course
|Tutorial 1 - review of mathematics|
|Week 2: Jan 13-17||
Continue Chapter 2: Diffusion, Fick's Law, Permeability, active transport
|Week 3: Jan 20-24||
Continue Chapter 3: Coulomb's law, Electric potential, Work, Electric fields, Capacitance
|Week 4: Jan 27-31||Continue Chapter 4: Electric current, mobility, Nernst equation, Donnan equilibrium, equivalent circuit of a membrane, Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation||Tutorial 4|
|Week 5: Feb 3-7||Chapter 5: Current injection; the nerve impulse, voltage clamps and ionic currents||
|Week 6: Feb 10-14||
Chapter 6: Synaptic transmission
|Tutorial 6 - Midterm Review|
|READING WEEK: Feb 17-21||NO CLASSES|
|Week 7: Feb 24-28||
Chapter 7: Ion channels
Problem Set 2 Due on Monday Feb 24;
|Week 8: Mar 2-6||
Chapter 7: Ion channels continued
|Week 9: Mar 9-13||Continue Chapter 8: Vision, the invertebrate eye||Tutorial 7|
|Week 10: Mar 23 - 27
||Continue Chapter 8: Vision, the vertebrate eye
Problem Set 3 Due on Monday, Mar 23
|Week 11: Mar 30 - Apr 3||Chapter 9: Hearing
|Tutorial 9 - ONLINE|
|Week 12: Apr 6 - Apr 10||
Chapter 10: Olfaction and taste
Problem Set 4 Due on Friday, Apr 10
|Problem Sets||4 total, 8% each||53.33%|
|Midterm||Feb. 26 in class||46.67%|
|Final Exam||NO FINAL EXAM||0%|
Tutorials will be held every week (except for the weeks 7 and 8 and in weeks 10-12 Online Only). The tutorials are an important part of the course, since they provide practice and assistance with solving numerical problems.
These contain mainly numerical problem solving questions showcasing the application of physics to biological membranes and sensory systems. There will be four (4) problem sets worth 13.33% each and have deadlines throughout the semester:
- Problem Set 1: February 3
- Problem Set 2: February 24
- Problem Set 3: March 23
- Problem Set 4: April 10
The Problem Sets should be submitted electronically on the dates indicated above, by 4.30 PM, to Richard Parg.
Wednesday, February 26th, in class. In the first half of the course, physics principles are reviewed with specific application to cell membranes. The midterm is worth 28% of the total course grade.
NO FINAL EXAMINATION
The penalty for late assignments is a 20% deduction per day, to a maximum of two days. You will be given ample time to complete your assignments; accordingly, you will be required to provide medical documentation if you wish to submit your assignment later than two days after the deadline.
Other Information and Policies
Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures
Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.
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Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.
The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.
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Course Evaluation Information
Information about the date and time of the course evaluation will be made available during the semester.
The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is April 10, 2020. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar.