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
623 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
559 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
votes
2answers
1k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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
votes
1answer
328 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 ...
11
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1answer
214 views

How fast can a human run?

I'm a runner (cross country) and I'm always amazed at how fast Olympic sprinters are. There's a lot of hype about those in the 100-meter dash being the fastest in the world, and we're constantly ...
10
votes
0answers
144 views

Effect of pupil responses on the electroretinogram

The electroretinogram (ERG) is generally considered to reflect the retinal processing of a light stimulus, typically a photoreceptor response followed by secondary neuronal activity. I am wondering ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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
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2answers
449 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
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
352 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
votes
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
5k 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
134 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
146 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
409 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
284 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
383 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
54 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
2answers
238 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
95 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
1answer
35 views

Stretching and compressing bones

The Young's modulus of elasticity when a bone is stretched is : 16×109 and when it is compressed, it is 9×109 N/m2. That means, change in length will be more if you compress a bone as compared to ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?

In the wiki page of Biophysics: Biophysics spans all scales of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. But after searching on the internet; the ...
5
votes
2answers
115 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
votes
2answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Why do most organisms have negative supercoiled DNA?

It has been observed that in nature most organisms have negative supercoiled DNA and that few organisms have positive supercoiled DNA. Some of the organisms that have the positive supercoiled DNA live ...
4
votes
2answers
256 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
861 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
121 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
108 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
56 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
334 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
3k 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
455 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
87 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
82 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
957 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.
3
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0answers
59 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 ...
2
votes
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
526 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
24 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
43 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
35 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
268 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
99 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
184 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
40 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
35 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
36 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 ...