Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session
This course develops and applies scaling laws and the methods of continuum mechanics to biomechanical phenomena over a range of length scales, from molecular to cellular to tissue or organ level. It is intended for undergraduate students who have taken a course in differential equations and an introductory course in molecular biology. In addition, some background in either statistical or classical thermodynamics is useful. Prerequisites: 18.03 or 3.016; 7.012; 2.370 or 2.772. Topics include:
Mechanics at the nanoscale: Intermolecular forces and their origins; Single molecules; Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; Formation and dissolution of bonds: Mechanochemistry; Motion at the molecular and macromolecular level; Muscle mechanics; Experimental methods at the single molecule level - optical and magnetic traps, force spectroscopy, light scattering.
Elastic (time independent), viscoelastic and poroelastic (time-dependent) behavior of tissues; Continuum and microstructural models, Constitutive laws, electromechanical and physicochemical properties of tissues; Physical regulation of cellular metabolism; Experimental methods - macroscopic rheology.
Static and dynamic cell processes; Cell migration; Mechanics of biomembranes; The cytoskeleton and cortex; Microrheological properties and their implications; Mechanotransduction; Experimental methods - passive and active rheology.
Most of the material will come from journal articles and notes to be handed out by the instructors.
Texts in the library that are useful as general references include:
20.310/2.797/6.024 will be taught in lecture format, but with liberal use of class examples to motivate the course material and link it with various biological issues. Readings will be drawn from a variety of primary and text sources as indicated in the attached lecture schedule. Problems will be assigned each week to be handed in and graded. There will be two in-class exams and a term paper due at the end of the term (details to be described in class).
A term paper will be assigned that will require you to delve more deeply into one of the topics of the course. Additional information concerning the term paper will be provided at a later date.
The term grade will be a weighted average of exams, term paper and homework grades. The weighting distribution will be:
Homework grading is intended to show you how well you are progressing in learning the course material. You are encouraged to seek advice or help from other students and/or to work in study groups. However, the work that is turned in must be your own. The homework exercise should be viewed as a learning experience, not a competition.
The Term Paper is meant to be an individual effort. However, you should feel free to discuss your project with fellow students. The report is to be written entirely by you. You should acknowledge other sources with proper citations.