Physics 174: Frontiers of Biophysics
Fall Semester, 2016

Professor John Mercer    and    Professor Henry Greenside

Syllabus      Piazza      Sakai      Related Links      Course Files      Schedule     

translocation of DNA through a nanopore optogenetic manipulation of neurons in a rat brain artificial oscillator created from gene dynamics
Clicking on an image will bring up a larger image.

Some representative images related to biophysics. The first image on the left shows a simulation of DNA translocating through an artificial nanopore, a physical process that suggests a rapid inexpensive way to read out a genome. The second image shows non-invasive optical manipulation of particular neurons in a rat's brain by the technique of optogenetics. The third image from the left shows an artificial oscillating dynamical system constructed out of interacting genes, which provides insights about gene regulatory networks. The last image shows a kinesin molecule transporting a vesicle along a microtubule highway (from the movie Inner Life of a Cell).

Welcome to Physics 174, a one-semester half-credit undergraduate course whose goal is to give students a broad exposure to what is biophysics by introducing them to current frontiers and to research topics via guest speakers, presentations by students of journal articles followed by discussion, and a few traditional lectures that will provide background information and context. The course is non-technical in the sense that only a high-school knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, and math is assumed, although the more you know about these subjects, the more you will get out of the course.

Please refer to the links at the top of this page to access course announcements, the course syllabus, and other useful material.

Note: This course has an active Sakai website but that site will play a secondary role in that only grades and blogs will be accessed there.