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E4: Current topics in biophysics – 25661

(3 hrs/week + exercises, 6 CP; Fall 2020, Lecture and exercises)

Richard Neher, Erik van Nimwegen, Mihaela Zavolan

New measurement technologies have transformed biology into a data rich science. Quantitative analysis and mathematical models are needed to make sense of these data and reach a better, more predictive understanding of biological systems. Such understanding often depends on identifying how biology is constrained by the laws of physics and how it exploits self-organization principles. In this course, we will review how ideas and concepts from physics have helped understanding biological systems by discussing landmark papers in the field. Topics that will be covered include quantitative laws in genome evolution, regulatory circuits for gene regulation and their specific behaviors, the role of gene expression noise, bacterial growth laws, regulatory principles in metazoan development, and application of maximum entropy and information theory principles to biological problems from protein structure to development. Pre-requisites are a good mathematical background (linear algebra, dynamical systems) as well as a basic background in biology.