# Physics 4xx/8xx

Mechanics of the Cell

PHYS4xx/8xx - *Biophysics: Mechanics of the Cell* is an introductory course on the mechanical
properties of biological cells and may be taken by senior undergraduates or graduate students interested
in soft condensed matter or biophysics. The support material for the course consists of the 600-page textbook
*Mechanics of the Cell*
and a set of on-line lecture notes. The textbook is structured so that readers can follow the application
of mechanics to biological cells with minimal reference to the mathematical proofs behind the formalism.
A related set of lectures on statistical mechanics can be found elsewhere in this website, under
PHYS445 - *Statistical Mechanics*.

The lectures are stored in the form of PDF files and can be read by Adobe
Acrobat Reader (click to download a free copy from Adobe).

### Lecture notes to accompany PHYS4xx/8xx

**Introduction and review**

Lecture 1 - Cell sizes, shapes and structures

Lecture 2 - Molecular building blocks

Lecture 3 - DNA - composition and structure

Lecture 4 - Soft materials and the Boltzmann factor

Lecture 5 - Forces and movement in a viscous environment

**Polymers and proteins**

Lecture 1 - Flexible filaments

Lecture 2 - Sizes of polymer chains

Lecture 3 - Chain elasticity

Lecture 4 - Bending resistance of biopolymers

Lecture 5 - Torsion, twist and writhe

Lecture 6 - Models for protein folding

**Networks in two and three dimensions**

Lecture 1 - Soft networks and their deformation

Lecture 2 - Elastic moduli in 2D

Lecture 3 - Properties of two-dimensional networks

Lecture 4 - Elasticity in three dimensions

Lecture 5 - Three dimensional networks in the cell

Lecture 6 - Network percolation and failure

**Membranes**

Lecture 1 - Composition and self-assembly of biomembranes

Lecture 2 - Bilayer compression and bending resistance

Lecture 3 - Mechanical instability and failure

Lecture 4 - Membrane bending and persistence length

Lecture 5 - Charged plate in an electrolyte

Lecture 6 - van der Waals and electrostatic interactions

Lecture 7 - The action potential in nerves

Lecture 8 - Model for signal propagation

**The Whole Cell**

Lecture 1 - Energetics of the bilayer

Lecture 2 - Vesicles and the human erythrocyte

Lecture 3 - Movement in the cell

Lecture 4 - Forces and torques

Lecture 5 - Polymerization of actin and tubulin

Lecture 6 - Molecular motors

**Control and organization**

Lecture 1 - Cell division

Lecture 2 - Rate equations: switches and stability

Lecture 3 - Replicating the blueprint

Lecture 4 - Molecular basis of regulation

**Supplementary notes**

Supplement 1 - Chemical bonding