BPHY 304 — Biophysics and Bio-imaging

Imagine a day when Life is fully understood and a cure is found for every disease. Is this only a dream? Leading biologists and medical researchers now believe this may someday be achieved. How? With help from a new generation of scientists and medical practitioners who are better trained to understand living systems in a mechanistic way, that is, how these systems follow precise principles of chemistry and physics. The focus of our Biophysics major at Centenary College is to provide you with this training.

Undergraduate biology students who become comfortable with the ideas of mathematics and physical sciences from the start of their education will be better positioned to contribute to future discoveries in biomedical research.

—From the preface to BIO2010, a report published in 2003 by the National Research Council at the request of the National Institutes if Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

find out about the biophysics curriculum at Centenary

Online Textbook (updated for 2009)

Kathryn Thompson and Meredith Stewart, contributors

Our lecture notes take you to the various topics covered in this class, which are a synthesis of my notes and student feedback accumulated since I began teaching this class in the Fall of 1997. These notes are now written in textbook format, thanks to one of my former students, Kathryn Thompson, now a graduate student at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. In addition to her skillful writing, she also helped re-organize the material and augmented some of the topics with her own examples. Many of the illustrations were made by an artistically talented biophysics student, Meredith Stewart, who is now a student of traditional Chinese medicine.

If you are a visitor from outside our campus and find these notes of interest, please feel free to use them for non-commercial purposes. We would also appreciate receiving any feedback or suggestions that might help us improve the material.

Ways to View the Notes

Laboratory Experiments

  1. The physics of walking

  2. Blood flow: fluid flow through a pipe

  3. Hearing range, decibels and loudness, resonance of the ear canal, and spectrum of speech

  4. Heat dissipation from the body: radiant heat, evaporative cooling, and heat conduction

  5. Visual acuity

  6. Absorption of light by bio-molecules

  7. Emission properties of bio-molecules

  8. Energy transfer in photosynthesis

  9. Protein folding

  10. Fluorescence microscopy

  11. Computed tomography

  12. Ultrasound imaging

  13. Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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