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

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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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145 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. $$\text{OUT:IN}$$ $$\text{K}^+ (1:20)$$ $$\text{Cl}^- (11.5:1)$$ $$\text{Ca}^{2+} (10000:1)$$ $$\text{Na}^+...
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317 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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366 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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185 views

How's the membrane potential restored to resting state after hyper polarisation?

I have known for so long that Na+/ K+ pump restores the membrane potential. But as it pumps in 2 K+ for every 3+ Na+ moving out how can it make the membrane potential less negative when the net result ...
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61 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 ...
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42 views

What is the statistical relationship between radioactivity and mutation rate?

This question tries to narrow down the scope of that question. What is the statistical relationship between radioactivity and mutation rate? By how much would the mutation rate be lowered in a ...
4
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1answer
53 views

How can space-time affect ageing? [closed]

I recently watched the movie -"interstellar" and I came through the question that how can ageing be affected by space-time? Wherever I look, I get it as a fact that it's kind of ageing slows down in ...
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1answer
81 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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139 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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126 views

How to quantitatively measure work done by a biological system?

Thermodynamic efficiency can be expressed as the ratio of Work done(W) to Energy invested (Q). Thermodynamic efficiency= W/Q How can one measure work done by a ...
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446 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 ...
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66 views

Do local field potentials (LFP) create waves on the surfaces of nerve cells?

Are waves created by the LFP on the surfaces of neurons cell bodies? Since the cells have a resting potential, do these waves create harmonic oscillation of the membranes at particular frequencies? ...
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34 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 ...
4
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1answer
56 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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1answer
6k views

Isotropy of sarcomere bands in skeletal muscle cells

As seen under a polarization microscope, the A-Band in skeletal muscle fibres is so named because it is anisotropic in its refractive index which is a characteristic of orderly crystalline structure. ...
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1answer
42 views

Why does migration distance depend on log of molecular weight in SDS-PAGE?

I really want to know why in the result of SDS PAGE, log of molecular weight(MW) and migration distance (distance from the loading well) have a linear relationship. Why is it log(MW) instead of MW? ...
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2answers
88 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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3answers
721 views

What is a good list of unsolved protein structures?

I'm trying to get a list of unique soluble structured proteins that don't have a solved structure. That is, they aren't the usual membrane proteins or some derivative of another protein. Things that ...
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139 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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480 views

What does these $\Delta \Delta G$ numbers signify?

I was reading a paper and came across this table showing $ \Delta \Delta G$ numbers of different nucleotide sequences in DNA/RNA. I know that $\Delta G$ is free energy and $ \Delta \Delta G$ is ...
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1answer
548 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 advance,...
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1answer
76 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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1k views

How does Bernoulli’s Principle apply to 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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45 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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2answers
68 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 ...
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126 views

What governs the distribution of blood vessels?

Whenever someone is sick, doctor places 2 fingers on wrist & observes the heart-beat-rate by feeling pulses of a certain artery. To me it seems the distribution of blood vessels are pretty ...
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78 views

Is there any knowledge of physics can be applied in to evolution?

I have asked a similar question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), but it just about organisms and ecosystems, not evolution. After watching ...
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1answer
107 views

How to determine whether the energy of a stem-loop fold is significant or not?

If I have a predicted RNA stem-loop of energy -0.30 kcal/mol, and another of -4.9 kcal/mol, how do I tell whether such a structure is a significantly stable structure or not? Our two competing ...
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1answer
120 views

Structure of RAP Antibodies (Specifically RAP-5)

[EDIT] - Have just found not one but two papers that address my structure problem. However they concern RAP-1A, so I guess my question is now what is the difference in structure and function of RAP-...
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2answers
350 views

Confusion about resting membrane potential and the Na/K pump [duplicate]

To this day, very few people and sources have been able to clear up my confusion about resting membrane potential and how it is maintained. It seems like this is one of those topics that few people ...
3
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1answer
167 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 ...
3
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1answer
2k views

What is the difference between rheobase and threshold?

Neuronal tissues can be excited by electrical stimulation. Two commonly encountered characteristics for electrically stimulating nerve cells is the threshold and the rheobase. My question is what the ...
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1answer
111 views

Do voltage-gated calcium channels affect neuronal conduction speeds?

We have a hypothesis that a drug may block the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC) in annelid worms. We are wondering whether there are any correlations between VGCCs and neuron conduction ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the exact principle of capillary isotachophoresis?

I know it's a type of capillary electrophoresis, but I don't get how does the separation happen exactly.
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45 views

Why is statistical mechanics relevant to RNA and protein folding?

This is a very naive question. As far as I understand the folding of a molecule is governed by the electromagnetic forces between its atoms and also between its atoms and the atoms in the surrounding ...
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1answer
70 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
188 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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20 views

Phase Transitions of Purified Proteins

Why do solutions of purified protein condense into droplet phases? I'm trying to understand the protein phase transitions. Here is the article http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(12)00634-4#...
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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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2answers
57 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 "average,...
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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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43 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 diode(http://www.vishay.com/docs/81009/...
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51 views

How to get a pdb file of a single atom?

I am trying to get a pdb file that contains a single atom, it doesn't matter if it's Hydrogen or another atom. How can I obtain this? Are there any pdb files with just a single atom available to ...
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62 views

Patch-Clamping Neurons Resources [closed]

Are there any lectures available on Patch-Clamping? Were can I find a mathematical model of Patch-Clamp? (that can be easily implemented in matlab). I have found some step-by-step protocols on (...
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82 views

Why don't membrane proteins move?

I understand that based on their tertiary structure, intrinsic proteins have hydrophobic non-polar R-groups on their surface and that they 'interact with the hydrophobic core of the cell membrane to ...
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2answers
9k views

How do trees use Adhesion and Cohesion to move water against gravity?

I have an AP Bio class where I have to name 3 properties of water and I chose adhesion and cohesion for one of them. I'm having trouble finding out how exactly trees use adhesion and cohesion to move ...
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3answers
259 views

Action Potential Distribution On Synapses

This is a biology+physics question. Since there is no biology section, I am asking here. In brain, when a neuron reaches to threshold value, it fires an action potential. In most graphics, that is ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the relationship between UV wavelength and penetration depth into human skin?

Some background - Some recent research has strongly suggested that UVA penetration into the skin is far more dangerous than UVB, a very good example is this paper by Agar et al. (2004). My query is, ...
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160 views

How to estimate the DNA density in human sperm head? [closed]

I have got an estimate of sperm head volume from internet.Like consider it as a disk of order 4-5µm. Now I wanted to find the DNA density in the sperm head. How to find that?