# Biophysics of Excitable Cells (PHYS*2030)

**Code and section:** PHYS*2030*01

**Term:** Winter 2011

**Instructor:** Monika Yazdanian

## Details

## Course Information

### Lectures

Day | Time | Location |
---|---|---|

Tuesdays and Thursdays | 10:00 – 11:20 | THRN 1307 |

### Tutorials

Day | Time | Location |
---|---|---|

Friday | 8:30 – 9:20 | MACK 238 |

Friday | 10:30 – 11:20 | ROZH 105 |

The final exam is on April 18, 2011.

### Instruction

Instructor | Office | |
---|---|---|

Dr. Monika Yazdanian | 330 MacNaughton | myazdani@uoguelph.ca |

Office hours for Dr. Yazdanian are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 – 13:00.

TA | Office | |
---|---|---|

Shannon Potter | 402 McNaughton | spotte01@uoguelph.ca |

### Objectives

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 are applied to different types of excitable cells. The specific objectives are:

- to show how the basic principles of diffusion and electricity apply to biological membranes and individual nerve cells, giving rise to resting and action potentials;
- to demonstrate how neural processes are utilized in sensory systems, i.e. the eye and ear;
- to show how physical principles influence the structure and function of excitable cells.

By the end of the course, students should be able to solve basic numerical problems in the above areas, as well as understand and explain the integration of physical principles in specific biological examples. Evaluation of a student’s comprehension of the course material will involve a combination of solving numerical problems and answering questions about principles and structures of cells and organs in four problem sets, one mid-term examination and a comprehensive final examination.

### Course Materials

#### Required text

- “Biophysics of Excitable Cells” by G.H. Renninger, U. of Guelph, 2003

Available from the Physics Department Quiz Room (SCIE 1101).

#### Supplementary reading (available on reserve in the library)

- “From Neuron to Brain” by J.G. Nicholls et al.
- “Principles of Neural Science” by E.R. Kandel et al.

### Evaluation

Assessment | Weight |
---|---|

Four problem sets | 25% |

Mid-term exam | 30% |

Final exam | 45% |

### Tutorials

Approximately 75% of the final grades are based on your ability to solve pure numerical problems. During tutorials, the TA will guide you through sample problems based on material presented in the lectures. If you are not well-versed in solving physics problems and do not attend the weekly tutorial, please be prepared to spend considerable extra study time on this course.

A word of warning: Although students are encouraged to discuss the material presented in the course, all problem sets must be individual work. Problem sets (and needless to say, exams) MAY NOT be a collaborative effort.

### Tentative Lecture Schedule

Week | Lecture | Topic | Readings* |
---|---|---|---|

1 | 1,2 | Introduction to the Course MEMBRANE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION Structure of biological membranes Diffusion Permeability of ions |
R, Ch 1 R, Ch 1 R, Ch 2, Sect 1 R, Ch 2, Sect 2 |

2 | 3,4 | Active transport NERVES AND ELECTRICITY Coulomb's law Electrical potential energy and work Electric field and potential, capacitance |
R, Ch 2, Sect 3; N:61-75;K:86-88 R, Ch 3, Sect 1 R, Ch 3, Sect 2 R, Ch 3, Sects 3-5 |

3 | 5,6 | Electric current and mobility Nernst equation; Donnan equilibrium D.C. electric circuits |
R, Ch 4, Sect 1 R, Ch 4, Sect 2; N: 77-81; K: 81-86 R, Ch 4, App A; N&K: App A |

4 | 7,8 | Equivalent circuit of a membrane; Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation |
R, Ch 4, Sect 2; N: 86-88;K: 89-94 R, Ch 4, Sect 2; N: 81-86; K: 88-89 |

5 | 9-10 | Injection of current; Passive electrical properties of the nerve Details of the nerve impulse Voltage clamp and ionic currents |
R,Ch 5,Sects 1&2; N:114-121;K:95-100 R, Ch 5, Sect 3; N: 91-94,121-128; K: 100-105 R, Ch 5, Sect 4; N: 94-103; K: 105-112 |

6 | 11-12 | Synaptic transmission; Neuromuscular junction Electrical synapses Film: The Squid and its Giant Nerve Fiber |
R, Ch 6, Sect 1; N: 160-225, K: 131-146, 149-152, 194-210 R, Ch 6, Sect 2; N: 158-160; K: 124-131 |

7 | 13 | Ion channels: Structure & FunctionMIDTERM EXAM |
R, Ch 7; Sect 1&2; N: 26-60; K: 66-79; 112-118, 146-148 |

8 | 14-15 | Ion channels: Function & Models VISION Invertebrate vision; |
R, Ch 7; Sect 3; N: 103-110 R, Ch 8; K: 329-339 |

9 | 16-17 | Lateral Inhibition Vertebrate eye, structure of the retina Vertebrate Phototransduction |
R, Ch 8 R, Ch8;N:379-394; K: 401-408 |

10 | 18-19 |
Electrical responses of retinal cells, visual fields, neural connections |
R, Ch8; N:394-405 K: 408-416 R, Ch9; N:366-372 |

11 | 20-21 | Sound; structure of the ear; Frequency detection and coding |
R, Ch9; N:372-377 K: 481-498 |

12 | 22-23 | OLFACTION AND TASTE Olfactory receptors: Structure and function Taste receptors: Structure and function Review & Course/Prof Evaluation |
R,Ch10;N:347-350 K: 512-516 R,Ch10;N:350-352 K: 518-524 |