BE/APh 161

Physical Biology of the Cell

Caltech, Winter term, 2016

Robert Hooke, Micrographia

Scheme XI from Robert Hooke's Micrographia, 1665, in which he used the term "cell" to describe the pores in cork. He estimated that there were, "in a Cubick Inch, above twelve hundred Millions" of cells.

Contemporary research in cell biology increasingly relies on physical concepts. Quantitative measurements, and models to design and interpret them, are essential as we build our understanding of phenomena such as cytoskeletal mechanics, functioning of ion channels, packaging and replication of nucleic acids, pattern formation, biochemical regulation, membrane structure and dynamics, and cellular motility, to name just a few of many. Despite the diversity of these phenomena, they can be well-described with just a few governing physical principles. This course introduces these principles and applies them to quantitatively model exciting case studies in cellular structure and dynamics.