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

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26
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2answers
592 views

What are the trajectories of flying insects?

Many flying insects tend to have very jagged trajectories. For moves of a fruit fly looks like a random walk. Is there any research on the properties of trajectories (e.g. their fractal dimension or ...
20
votes
1answer
542 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi ...
13
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2answers
918 views

Is the EC50 of an activating protein for an enzyme a good indicator for the binding affinity Kd?

We work with a membrane protein system where measuring the affinity between the enzyme and the upstream activating protein has been difficult, and when measured in detergent solution, it is almost 100 ...
12
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1answer
315 views

Quantum mechanics in biology

There is a growing interest in the applications of non-equilibrium quantum dynamics to describe biological processes (I'm not talking here about Penrose's old theories, but new stuff -- quantum ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is saltatory conduction faster than continuous conduction?

How does spacing apart sodium and potassium channels allow the action potential to travel faster down the axon? This is the reason always cited for saltatory conduction and myelination, but my mental ...
9
votes
2answers
398 views

How do small animals make loud sounds?

Walking past the park today, I heard a cicada so loud I thought at first it must be some sort of large power tool. How is it that that very small animals like cicadas (crickets, etc.) can make such ...
9
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1answer
133 views

Is there a biophysical causation from local field potential (LFP) to spikes?

Many experiments showed that neurons tend to fire at some phase (usually trough) of local field potential (LFP) oscillations, such as theta or gamma rhythm. LFP is supposedly generated by a population ...
8
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4answers
1k views

How do trees lift water higher than 10 meters?

The atmosphere pressure is 10 meters of water (approx). This means that it is impossible to lift water higher than 10 meters with vacuum or сapillary action (on Earth, under normal conditions). There ...
7
votes
2answers
337 views

Can a living organism run on electricity?

Each time I'm too lazy too cook I think it'd be cool to be able to just plug myselt into an outlet. Yet I know it is not possible - I need amino acids and a lot of other stuff that electricity can't ...
7
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2answers
214 views

Is “exhaustion” of the Hodgkin-Huxley membrane at constant stimulation a real phenomenon?

I was playing around with a simulation of the Hodgkin-Huxley model using their original parameters for the squid giant axon. By applying a constant stimulation current to the model in resting state, ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

How do warm-blooded animals keep their temperatures constant?

Warm blooded animals like us keep their temperature constant irrespective of their surroundings. But how do they do that? Energy should be supplied from the inside. I assume that reactions like making ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

PDB Mining: Why Do I Find Atoms Less than 1 Angstrom Apart?

I am attempting to find potential Hydrogen bonds between Hydrogen donors and aromatic ring acceptors. I do this by predicting the location of Hydrogens on residues and then calculating how far these ...
7
votes
2answers
121 views

Can a single axon propagate multiple simultaneous action potentials?

I have not been able to locate any research that indicates whether a single axon of a neuron or nerve cell can conduct multiple simultaneous (i.e. spatially separate) action potentials. I am aware ...
6
votes
1answer
327 views

Why human cannot stand still in one place?

When a human stands in one place, he cannot stand still but we can see the body slightly swings. Is this due to the Earth rotation or it has something with biology and muscles relaxations? I have ...
6
votes
4answers
257 views

Is human vision sensitive to frequency or wavelength?

In a vacuum, there is a one-to-one correspondence between light frequency ($\nu$) and wavelength ($\lambda$), ie. $\lambda=c/\nu$. But in a refractive medium, $\lambda=v/\nu$, so while the frequency ...
6
votes
4answers
340 views

Does darker skin color make it easier to live under sun?

I have always thought darker colors absorb more heat from the sun, so if you are wearing a white T-shirt you will be cooler under sun than wearing a darker T-shirt, or a black piece of steel will be ...
6
votes
1answer
48 views

What regulates the timing of the motion of molecular machines during DNA Replication?

This question is about this video I found on Youtube. I just want to know what is the mechanism which regulates the timing of motion of the parts of these molecular machines. I know that those big ...
6
votes
0answers
74 views

effect of pupil responses on the electroretinogram

The electroretinogram is generally considered to reflect the retinal processing of a light stimulus, typically a photoreceptor response followed by secondary neuronal activity. However, I am wondering ...
5
votes
2answers
52 views

Problems understanding membrane potential

I understand that membrane potential is the difference of the extracellular and intracellular ionic charges, due to their concentrations. We say that the extracellular space has a charge of 0 and then ...
5
votes
2answers
74 views

How do diving marine mammals avoid decompression sickness?

How do marine mammals, whose very survival depends on regular diving, manage to avoid decompression sickness or "the bends?" Do they, indeed, avoid it?
5
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2answers
91 views

How do marine mammals control buoyancy?

Presumably, as a whale or seal dives, its lungs get compressed by the increasing water pressure, and it gets less buoyant. Under this model, for a given amount of air taken in at the surface, the ...
4
votes
2answers
231 views

Question about equilibrium potential formula

My biology book says, that the equilibrium potential for an ion with a charge of +1 is: $$E_{ion}= 62mV \biggl(\log\frac{[ion]_{outside}}{[ion]_{inside}}\biggr)$$ Where does the 62 mV come from? How ...
4
votes
2answers
773 views

Bone conduction . Different from the normal hearing phenomena in humans?

Bone conduction, is it something different from the normal phenomena of listening through the ears. I checked on some literature . Is it so that Bone conduction has very less to do with the ears and ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

How efficient is the human body at metabolizing food?

My friend and I were having a discussion over how "efficient" human digestion is. If a human ate a 1000 calorie hamburger, how many of those calories (how much energy) does the body process into ...
4
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
53 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? ...
4
votes
2answers
203 views

How is membrane capacitance related to the increased speed of saltatory conduction?

Here is the original question which inspired my question. As explained by the answers there, the reason saltatory conduction in myelinated neurons is faster than non-myelinated conduction is because ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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. ...
3
votes
3answers
402 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
831 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.
2
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2answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
453 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Does coloring affect the perception of depth?

I have a question about the mechanics of human vision which may be as much of a physics question as it is a biology/physiology question. I noticed that if I try to imagine a clear blue daytime sky ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

What is the biding site code recognized by the parts of the spliceosome

Another question about another Youtube video. At 0:50, the splicing process begins to remove the non-coding section of the DNA (intron), so the different parts of the spliceosome attach to the borders ...
2
votes
1answer
245 views

Are Bovine serum albumin, Avidin, Ficoll-70 and Dextran-70 positively charged or negatively charged? [closed]

Bovine serum albumin, Avidin, Ficoll-70 and Dextran-70,are they positively charged or negatively charged ? And which other solvents can be used as a substitute to water for preparing solutions in each ...
2
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Kinesin-5 / cytoplasmic dynein spatial density distribution in neurons

Is there some way to experimentally determine the density distribution of Kinesin and Dynein in a Neuron? Fluorescence labeling would be impossible(?) as GFP markers would probably alter the motor ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

Muscle force/energy relationship

I found the Hill muscle model, which helps relate the force a muscle can generate to its change in length over time (its "contraction velocity"). Is there a similar model to get an idea of the energy ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Protein Conformation Modeling

I'm interested in learning about computational modeling in biophysics. I have heard some amount about people modeling proteins as a network of ideal springs to examine things like conformation ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

What's the best way to measure/calculate the size of a light beam at the sample of a microscope?

I am using a microscope with an LED derived light through the epi-fluorescent port of a microscope. I know that the "field of view" for a given objective is equal to the field number/magnification ...
2
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
203 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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?
1
vote
2answers
50 views

Useful physical information of a protein

Beside energy and heat, I don't know any useful physical information of a protein. Can you help me list some of it. Somethings like Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to provide protein structure ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

Which types of hydrogen bonds are known to exist in RNA secondary structures?

I'm programming an implementation of an algorithm for pattern matching in RNA structures. The algorithm assumes the following types of base pairs: Plain: No base pairs (just the primary structure of ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

What is the energy balance of cooking?

If I cook some food, I get apparently several energetic advantages: thermal : the temperature of the food is closer or superior to the temperature of my body or internal organs, so I do not have to ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

How to measure the total number of cells in an average human body?

I have got one assignment to calculate the approximate sum total of all cells in the human body. How to tackle this problem? I know that the current statistics is $10^{13}$ cells. I wanted some hints. ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

How Ants know about Earthquake?

How does an ant know about Earthquake is it because of an organ or due to other factors?