Cell biophysics

A.A. 2024/2025
Crediti massimi
Ore totali
BIO/04 BIO/09
Obiettivi formativi
Students will learn how quantitative approaches are used to identify physical principles that control several aspects of cell biology, from membrane transport to vesicle trafficking and mechanobiology. Emphasis will be given on how the integrated activity of biomolecules fulfill a cellular task, such as generation of action potentials self-sustained oscillators and signaling cascades propagating and amplifying a signal in time and space. The aim is to show what quantitative tools can achieve beyond the mere collecting and archiving of facts. The final goal is to understand in detail an action potential and to translate it into mathematical equation for modeling. The course consists of lectures, experimental lab work and solution of practical problems meant to facilitate a quantitative understanding of cellular functions.
Risultati apprendimento attesi
At the end of this course the students will be able to measure and analyze single channel data, macroscopic currents and action potentials recorded from electrically excitable cells. Students will be further able to reproduce action potential using a mathematical model and perform basic prediction of how cellular factors can influence its duration and shape. Student will compute neurophysiological simulations using the program "Neuron" ( https://neuronsimulator.github.io/nrn/). Students will also learn how a cell perceives and translates physical stimuli such as voltage, light, pressure, into cellular pathways. During the course students will read and critically discuss original papers and will be trained to present them in front of the class to learn how to correctly interpret and communicate results.
Corso singolo

Questo insegnamento non può essere seguito come corso singolo. Puoi trovare gli insegnamenti disponibili consultando il catalogo corsi singoli.

Programma e organizzazione didattica

Edizione unica

Primo semestre

Module Mazzanti: Cell electrical excitability will be discussed in terms of membrane protein dynamics belonging to different type of ionic conductance. The mechanism of action potential generation will be instrumental to underlying the functional differences of neuronal, cardiac or skeletal muscle excitability.
Module Moroni: Moreover, because cell-to-cell communication is directly related to the modality of excitation, cell network analysis, signal spreading and message interpretation will all be presented and discussed in details. Cell motility, described in terms of mechanical interaction of contractile protein, will be another example of protein population dynamics and cooperativity. Finally, biological membrane fusion and dynamics, perception and processing of physical stimuli, are among the issues of the course that will be analyzed from the cellular to the atomic level.
Basic knowledge of cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, general physiology.
Metodi didattici
Lectures and practice in dedicated teaching lab (Physiology lab 14 @ dept. of Biosciences)
Materiale di riferimento
Molecular Biology of the Cell (Alberts et al. 4th edition)
Physical Biology of the Cell, (Philips et al, Second edition)
Modalità di verifica dell’apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
Learning assessment will be through a written exam that will last two hours. Students attending the course can opt for a mid-term examination plus a second partial exam at the end of the course.

The text of the exam includes open questions (40%), charts and graphs to complete (10%) and multiple choices tests (50%). These proportions broadly reflect their contribution to the composition of the final score. Multiple choice tests are aimed to broadly verify the understanding of concepts and definitions taught during the course whereas open questions/charts are designed to evaluate problem solving skills.
Note that unanswered questions will be counted as wrong answers. Examples of multiple-choice questions and their evaluation will be provided during the course.
Esercitazioni: 32 ore
Lezioni: 32 ore
Appuntamento via e-mail
Milano - Via Celoria 26 _ Torre B, Sesto Piano
martedì 8,30 -9
Torre C , piano IV