The use of methods from the physical sciences to aid in the study of biological systems.

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25 views

How is green fluorescent protein distributed while inside an organism?

I would like to know a relatively simple thing, but something I wasn't finding the answer to. When fluorescent protein is used in a relatively large, non-transparent animal, like a mouse, or ...
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23 views

Does human body have a centre of mass? [migrated]

According to this site, The center of mass of the human body depends on the gender and the position of the limbs. In a standing posture, it is typically about 10 cm lower than the navel, near the ...
4
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1answer
72 views

What causes the opaque green colour in Lepidoptera?

Link here to what I mean by 'opaque' colouration on the insect, the colour intensity remains constant despite changes in light intensity and angle (not shown by the picture but the moth exhibits this ...
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1answer
34 views

Why is stimulation of nerve tissue with a negative pulse called “cathodic” stimulation?

By definition, the cathode is defined as the terminal through which current exits a polarized device. But in the context of neuromodulation, such as spinal cord stimulation, deep brain stimulation, ...
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2answers
67 views

How can neuronal signals faithfully be reproduced by scalp electrodes?

There is a skull barrier (and possibly other layers too) between the brain and the scalp. I have seen people trying to extract EEG signals from the scalp by connecting electrodes and interface it to ...
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1answer
49 views

How does heat generated by metabolism differ compared with heat generated through exercise?

I am from a mathematical background so I don't have much knowledge on biology. I'm building a mathematical model to predict heat generation with parameters of metabolic heat generation and exercise ...
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1answer
93 views

Relationship between turgor pressure and osmotic pressure?

I would like to know if there is a relationship between osmotic pressure (inside and outside of a cell) and turgor pressure. If so, is there a way to formalize it mathematically? Thank you in ...
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1answer
52 views

How does membrane potential vary between intraceullar membranes and the cellular membrane?

Question Does each type of membrane have a different membrane potential? I'm especially interested in answers that can cite academic papers that have attempted to measure membrane potentials. ...
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11 views

What are necessary parameters for a tissue scaffold to be biodegradable?`

I am a mechanical engineer with little biological experience, but I have recently been looking at tissue scaffoldings. My current understanding is as follows, but may be flawed. I would appreciate ...
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129 views

Are there any theories using thermodynamics/statistical mechanics or information theory principles to modelling in ecology?

So far, I've only known one: the MaxEnt theory. It uses the maximum information entropy developed by information theorist, which in turn inspired by the thermodynamics from physics, to predict the ...
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16 views

How to use the law of diffusion in the presence of electric forces?

Isn't the movement of ions affected by the electric field as well? For instance, when a sodium channel in a cell's membrane opens, the sodium ions are said to diffuse into the cell, from higher ...
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84 views

Permeability of Plasma Membrane

I’m having trouble grasping why small polar molecules can cross the hydrophobic region of the membrane and not ions. Won’t the polar molecules be attracted to the watery extracellular medium and not ...
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1answer
42 views

Why does the direction of endolymph flow oppose direction of body motion?

In the semicircular canals, the endolymph always flows in a direction that is opposite to the motion of the vestibular apparatus itself. I’m having trouble grasping why this is, and I would greatly ...
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58 views

Absorbed dose from a CT scan with relation to radiation accidents

I read somewhere that the average CTDIvol in CT scans at hospitals is ~40 mGy. This translates to the 'radiation intensity' at the center of the person, and can also be roughly interpreted as an ...
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2answers
53 views

Is there a way to know how many sodium channels are active (conducting) at a given time in the brain?

I was doing some reading about anti-epileptic sodium channel blockers, then wondered how many sodium channels are actually conducting (actively passing ions) at any given time, that is, in an ...
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0answers
13 views

What is the sedimentation coefficient of Mycoplasma?

I have attempted to find the sedimentation coefficient of a number of bacterial species, namely E. coli and a number of Mycoplasma species, but they seemed to be rather elusive in the literature. If ...
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1answer
95 views

Dwell time equations for ATP-sythase?

I have read that every 120 degree rotation of the F1 complex of ATP-synthase can be split into a 30 degree rotation and a 90 degree rotation. In between these two are dwell times, the one before the ...
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2answers
101 views

Role of microvilli in cell volume regulation

Does the presence of microvilli on a cell's surface ensure that it's more resistant to cell swelling or lysis in a hypotonic solution, as compared to a normal cell?
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2answers
1k views

Why are potassium channels slower than sodium channels?

I am relatively new in the subject of biology. I have a strong mathematical background and in order to get into the field of computational neuroscience, I am trying to get some biological background. ...
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44 views

Meaning of 'forms of free energy'?

I was doing a practice exam paper and it asked for different 'forms of free energy'. I am a physicist rather then a biologist so 'free energy' to me means Gibb's Free Energy: $$G=H-TS$$ But I cannot ...
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24 views

Is it possible to biologically convert potential energy to chemical energy?

To lift an object x meters it is necessary to expend, at a minimum, an amount of energy corresponding to the increase in that objects potential energy associated with the increase in height. When ...
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16 views

Interaction study of oligomeric proteins

I'm dealing with two different protein(say, protein_a and protein_b) which stays in an interacting-oligomeric form in biological system. I have so far successfully been able to purify both the ...
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0answers
24 views

Photosynthetic efficiency and light harvesting efficiency

Is there some sort of measure of the light harvesting efficiency (possibly like transfer time) that is directly related to the photosynthetic efficiency in some sort of equation? Also, how important ...
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1answer
79 views

Can geckos climb a wet surface?

We know geckos can climb vertically or even upside down a surface like glass. But can they do that on wet glass?
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477 views

Bernoulli’s Principle in the Cardiovascular System

Below are graphs which illustrate the cross-sectional area, velocity, and fluid pressure through each vascular segment of the cardiovascular system. It makes sense that velocity and cross-sectional ...
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1answer
388 views

What determines whether an action potential is inhibitory or excitatory?

What determines whether an action potential is inhibitory or excitatory? Is it determined by the receptors, the neurotransmitters, or some other mechanism?
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44 views

How spermaceti makes a whale float

In the biochemistry book I'm reading (Box 10-1, Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry), an example is given in whales of how spermaceti (a wax located in the whale head), when at sea level is a liquid, ...
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3answers
723 views

Why don't our cells merge when their phospholipid membranes touch each other?

Membranes of our cells consist of lipid bilayer (with some other components mixed in). Why wouldn't those lipid bilayers glue to each other and make the cells merge? If you suppose that it's due to ...
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1answer
87 views

If the average resting potential of a neuron is -70 mV, why is there such a high ratio of potassium ions inside relative to out?

My bio teacher was discussing the ratios of different ions inside versus outside the cell. $$\text{OUT:IN}$$ $$\text{K}^+ (1:20)$$ $$\text{Cl}^- (11.5:1)$$ $$\text{Ca}^{2+} (10000:1)$$ ...
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1answer
64 views

Can Nanodiscs be used to study membrane energetics?

Nanodiscs have changed they way we can study the structures, insertion, and functions of transmembrane proteins. Below is an image of a nanodisc bilayer. The key difference, as far as I can tell, ...
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1answer
37 views

Which hydrophobicity scales are best for detecting transmembrane regions, and why?

There are many hydrophobicity scales for protein analysis. Broadly, I gather the differences between them are from the experimental method to acquire the data and the normalisation (or lack thereof) ...
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1answer
89 views

Has anyone modelled calcium oscillations using Matlab software? [closed]

I have been trying to model calcium oscillations using MatLab, but I cannot obtain the oscillation. I created a function where I put all the equations and used ode15s to call the function. I have ...
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2answers
225 views

Which part of human body sustains most pressure when standing up straight?

Let's suppose a healthy fit barefoot young adult standing comfortably on a flat solid surface. A reasonable guess is somewhere around the foot. But is it the ankle, the heel, or the Metatarsus?
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1answer
206 views

What is the transmembrane 'Positive-Inside Rule' nowadays? Has the definition changed over time?

First definition. Two publications by von Heijne in 1989 and 1992 coined the 'Positive-Inside rule' and showed it's practical value in topology prediction of transmembrane helices. It was clearly ...
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1answer
151 views

What biological processes can affect the temperature of the shadow a tree casts?

Assuming two trees have similar shape and leaf coverage, could differences in the biological processes among them lead to differences in the temperature of the shadow they cast? What biological ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the mass of a pigeon tail feather?

There is question at Space.SE If I drop a feather from orbit, would it burn up or “hit” the ground? there is an attempt to answer the question, but the mass of pigeon tail feather and possibly the ...
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2answers
97 views

Why do negative ions flow into a cell in an inhibitory synapse, even though a neuron has a negative resting potential?

In my spare time I have been reading an introductory Psychology textbook and this question came to my mind after reading about action potentials. I have no previous knowledge in chemistry so if I do ...
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32 views

Book-recommendation: plant biophysics [closed]

I'm a physicist by training am looking to learn more about the biophysics of plants. Can you give me your recommendation of good resources on plant biophysics? Books are preferred.
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3answers
2k views

Why don't phospholipid bilayers dissolve?

I just started learning about the structure and composition of cell's membrane and there is something that I fail to understand. The membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer. The phospholipid ...
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1answer
135 views

Explanation of ECG in MI using an electrostatic model

I found a paper presenting an electrostatic model to explain the ECG recorded in various leads. This model essentially calls for considering the depolarization wavefront to be the major contributing ...
4
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1answer
50 views

How does loss of the electrochemical gradient result in heat production?

As far as I understand, uncoupling of the flow of protons and ATP-synthase provides a bypass for protons between the outer and the inner membrane of mitochondria so that the protons don't have to go ...
4
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1answer
35 views

Wearing sunglasses during a solar eclipse [closed]

Note: I had asked this on Physics, but it is off-topic there due to being about safety. On the BBC's guide to eclipse-watching, Dr Lucie Green says: Watching an eclipse with normal sunglasses ...
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39 views

Infrared emitting diode eye safety

I'm thinking of creating my own laser tag system and am a bit concerned about the eye safety aspect. Most of the homebrew system I've seen use the TSAL 6100 ...
4
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2answers
331 views

Mechanism behind negative conductance of ion channels

I am struggling to understand negative conductance shown on I-V curves on ion channels. Mechanistically, negative conductance means that inward (or outward) current increases when voltage across ...
3
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2answers
189 views

How to conceptualize the action potential?

In my AP Biology class, we were taught that action potentials are not electrical impulses in the same way current travels through a wire. Rather, we were taught that action potentials are changing ...
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2answers
201 views

Proteins that give color (without fluorescence)

Is there proteins that have strong color, that could be seen without the need of UV and with naked eyes (with white light) - in mammalian cells? Searching for reporter, something like GFP, but that ...
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2answers
63 views

Determining how much energy a plant takes in?

I asked a question on WorldBuilding.SE, "Are diamond berries possible?". This led to asking a question on Chemistry.SE about the amount of energy required to burn a 1 ct. diamond (−6.527kJ). The ...
7
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1answer
241 views

What is the reason behind high resting membrane potential of pacemaker cells?

Pacemaker cells have high resting membrane potentials of -50 to -40 mV, whereas normal cells have their resting membrane potential around -70 mV. Which ions, and what kind of channels are responsible ...
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30 views

What are some commonalities between biology systems and semiconductor physics?

It seems that fundamentally both neural system and semiconductors are operating using similar principles on the same scale. Things such as drift and diffusion current plays major role in both systems. ...
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399 views

Why does the membrane of a neuron not stay at its depolarized state?

When an action potential is transmitted along the axon, the membrane reaches its depolarized state by opening Na+ channels. Both K+ (potassium) and Na+ (sodium) are now on both sides with close to ...