Welcome to Physical Biology of the Cell 2012 at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

The course takes places on 8/20 - 8/24.



This intensive week long mini-course explores the way that physical and mathematical models can be used to understand biological systems.  The course begins by examining the way in which simple order of magnitude estimates can be used to provide insights into problems ranging from the fidelity of protein translation to how far a bird can fly without stopping.  This is followed by the use of statistical mechanics to explore problems in regulatory biology.   Some examples include the physics of post-translational modifications, how cells make transcriptional decisions and the precision with which embryonic development takes place.  This is followed by a discussion of the biophysics of vision. The next part of the course focuses on how organisms pack and access their genomes.  We start with a description of the problem of viral DNA packing and then turn to the study of the eukaryotic nucleosome. From there, we turn to the study of the cytoskeleton and its impact on cell shape and motility.  In addition to these topics, the course also involves an intensive hands-on project using Matlab to do image segmentation in order to find the fluorescence of individual cells and to use this fluorescence to compare to statistical mechanical models of gene regulation.  The course will end with a special lecture on the great naturalists and the discovery of evolution and how quantitative thinking has pervaded our modern view of this great subject.



Before the start of the course, please read the 3 Matlab tutorials found on the Matlab tutorials page: Matlab Introduction, Odes and Stochastics with Matlab, and Image Analysis with Matlab.


Read Chapters 2 and 3 of Physical Biology of the Cell and also Rob Phillips and Ron Milo, "A feeling for the numbers in biology".


Read the introduction and the first few examples of "Guesstimation" to get a feeling for how these authors think about simple estimates. We will be doing such estimates in class on the first day.


Before class on Monday, please download the following image files from the Matlab tutorial page:

Fluorescent and phase images of cells

Images of a growing colony of E. coli