CTBP Education Highlights

 

Physics Frontiers Centers - Information and Recruitment Booth
CTBP spearheaded the development and co-hosted, in concert with 8 other PFC centers, a Physics Frontiers Centers general information and recruitment booth which has been hosted at the following venues:

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High Tech Fair - San Diego County Fairgrounds
The High Tech Fair is a collaborative effort between the San Diego Science Alliance, the San Diego Congressional Delegation, the San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego City Schools. HTF is a science exhibition presented by over 50 science, technology, and engineering corporations and educational institutions, and is attended by over 2500 regional K-12 students. CTBP hosted an educational booth/exhibit that featured various modeling and visualizations, and additional hands-on activities that emphasize the physics of biology.

   

CTBP Diversity Outreach Initiative
Our outreach education activities now include a new series of interactions between CTBP researchers and faculty and students at local and national institutions granting AA/BS/MS degrees, and serving a high proportion of underserved students. These interactions include open discussions and seminars that emphasize the role of physical science in the understanding of biological processes. They are targeted toward undergraduate and masters-level graduate students to encourage scholarly career path towards biophysics. In addition to the current and planned interactions (listed below), we are currently working on establishing additional interactions with the San Diego metropolitan area community colleges.
Past & Current interactions include:

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CTBP-CSUSM "Frontiers in Science" Seminar Series
One product of our Diversity Outreach Initiative has been the establishment of a joint CTBP-California State University San Marcos seminar series on the "Frontiers of Science". These seminars are typically presented by CTBP faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, and focus upon broad science topics related to biological physics. The objective of these seminars are to give a general overview of leading-edge research and it's impact in our daily lives, and to engage and recruit undergraduate students (of all majors) into the physics program at CSUSM and collaborative research/training internships that we initiated in Fall 2006.

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Curriculum - Fundamentals of Biological Physics (Physics 175/275)
Developed by CTBP faculty member, Prof Olga Dudko, this course is intended to communicate a new style of quantitative thinking about living matter. This course is different from traditional biology/biophysics courses in that the organizational thread that links various topics of this course is based upon the underlying physics prospective. Tools of statistical mechanics will be developed and applied to a variety of biological problems. We will repeatedly make use of estimates to develop a feeling for the numbers associated with biological structures and processes. We will explore the range of spatial scales of biological entities and the hierarchy of temporal scales of biological processes, and discuss how organisms manipulate the time scales offered by the intrinsic physical rates of processes. The idea of two-state variables and the Gibbs distribution will be employed to investigate ion channel gating, phosphorylation, and ligand-receptor binding and cooperativity. Physics of random walks will be used to explore the size of a genome and the geography of chromosomes, DNA looping and gene regulation, the emergence of entropic elasticity, and protein folding. We will examine the microscopic and continuum descriptions of diffusion, the Smoluchowski equation, and discuss diffusion as a transport mechanism and a mechanism for delivering ligands to receptors. We will explore Kramers problem of hopping-over-a-barrier in the context of single-molecule manipulation experiments. The theory of rate equations will be applied to the dynamics of ion channels, enzyme kinetics, cytoskeletal assembly, and the dynamics of molecular motors. The propagation of nerve impulses as a problem in biological electricity will be explored. The course is offered every Fall quarter at UCSD.

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Curriculum - Quantitative Molecular Biology (Physics 172/272)
Developed by CTBP faculty member, Prof Terry Hwa, this couse focuses on gene regulation in bacteria. Starting from the molecular components and the physics/chemistry of their interactions, the course builds a comprehensive and quantitative approach to bacterial gene regulation including transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of individual genes, as well as feedback and stochastic effects in genetic circuits. Whenever possible, real-life examples (mostly taken from E. coli) are utilized to illustrate the principles, and to convey the immense complexity of experimental biology often under-appreciated by people of quantitative background. In addition to describing how systems operate, theoretical and experimental studies of how gene regulation evolves are also presented. The course is now offered every Winter Quarter at UCSD.

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Biological Physics Training Programs (Workshops & Summer Schools)
CTBP hosts one to two formal training activities every Summer.