Biophysics of Excitable Cells (PHYS*2030)
Code and section: PHYS*2030*01
Term: Winter 2023
Instructor: Vladimir Ladizhansky
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)
Credit Weight: 0.5
|Instructor||Vlad Ladizhansky||SSC email@example.com|
Lectures and Tutorials
|Lectures||Monday, Wednesday, Friday||9:30 – 10:20 AM||ROZH 102|
|Tutorial||Section 1: Tuesday
Section 2: Monday
|08:30 - 09:20 AM
02:30 - 03:20 PM
By appointment, please email your TA or instructor.
- "Biophysics of Excitable Cells" by G.H. Renninger, U. of G., 2003. Available from the UG Bookstore.
- "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)
Lecture notes, problem sets, and supplementary materials will be available on Courselink.
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, 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, taste.
|Problem Sets||4 total, 8% each||32%|
|Midterm||Date and room TBA||28%|
|Final Exam||April 15, 11:30-01:30PM
Tutorials will be held every weekly unless otherwise announced. The tutorials are an important part of the course - 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 8% each and have deadlines throughout the semester:
- Problem Set 1: February 6
- Problem Set 2: February 27
- Problem Set 3: March 20
- roblem Set 4: April 10
The Problem Sets should be submitted ELECTRONICALLY on the dates indicated above, by 11 PM, to the drop-box set up on the Courselink.
Time and room TBA. 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.
Saturday April 15, 11.30AM, location TBA. In the second half of the course, sensory systems are discussed in detail with the application of physics phenomena and circuit models. The final exam is cumulative as the course builds throughout the semester and has both numerical and qualitative questions. The final exam is worth 40% of the total course grade.
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.
Collaboration versus Copying
Scientists work alone or in groups, very often consulting fellow scientists and discussing their research problems with peers. Collaboration is a feature of scientific activity and there are many benefits to working with others. However, no ethical scientist would ever publish or claim the work of others as his or her own and generally scientists give reference to the appropriate source of ideas or techniques which are not their own.
You are a young scientist and, in this spirit, I encourage you to discuss with others as you learn the material and work on the problem assignments. However, the work that you submit as your assignment must be your own and not a copy of someone else’s work. Identical scripts will be given a mark of zero and plagiarism will be dealt with severely. I encourage you to cite your references, citing books and other articles when they are used and acknowledging discussions with those who have helped you in your understanding and completion of the problem. This is good scientific practice.
Course Evaluation Information
The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching. The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students. Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.
NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.
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Copies of Out-of-class Assignments
Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.
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Recording of Materials
Presentations that are made in relation to course work - including lectures - cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a student, or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.
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