Welcome to Physical Biology of the Cell 2015 at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The course takes places on 3/1 - 3/7.



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 to how amphibians arrive on oceanic islands. 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. 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 biophysics of membranes and how order is maintained in the context of two-dimensional arrangements of lipids and proteins. The final topic explores ideas from evolution, population genetics and information theory in order to get a sense of the transmission of biological information. 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. During the week, we will have a number of guest lectures who will illustrate how biological numeracy has contributed to their own research areas.



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.