Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Physics of Biological Systems

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and NPTEL via Swayam


The application of physical principles to biological systems is an exciting and rapidly evolving feld of research. Methods of equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical physics, stochastic processes, non-linear dynamics and polymer physics, among others have helped understand the guiding principles of a variety of biological processes. In this course,we will attempt to provide an introduction to the physics of biological systems using theoretical tools, with examples from diverse areas of biology such as pattern formation, low Reynolds number fows, cytoskeleton and motors and transport in cells, gene expression and chromatin organisation, among others.

INTENDED AUDIENCE : All Engineering studentsPREREQUISITES : Statistical Mechanics (Preferred, not a hard prerequisite)INDUSTRY SUPPORT : NA



Week 1 : Introduction to Biophysics, Spatial and temporal scalesWeek 2 : Random walks and diffusion in biology, FRAP, cell signalingWeek 3 : Diffusion and capture processes, Mean capture timesWeek 4 : Fluid flows in biology, viscosity and Navier Stokes equationWeek 5 : Life at low Reynolds number, Scallop theorem and bacterial flagellaWeek 6 : Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics: Energy, entropy, free energyWeek 7 : Two-state systems, cooperative binding, HaemoglobinWeek 8 : Polymers and biopolymers, Entropic elasticity, persistence lengthWeek 9 : Force spectroscopy, HP model of protein folding, Chromosome modelsWeek 10 : Life in crowded environments, Depletion forcesWeek 11 : Biological dynamics and rate equations, motors and filamentsWeek 12 : Pattern formation in bology, Reaction-diffusion systems

Aditya Sharma

Aditya Sharma is pursuing his B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay. His interest in Physics has motivated him to pursue a Minor in Physics from the Department of Physics. He has taken several courses related to the fields of Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Physics and Physics of Biological Systems. He has also worked on a project in Biological Physics.
Sougata Guha

Sougata Guha is currently a research scholar at Department of Physics, IIT Bombay. His area of research is broadly in the field of Soft Condensed Matter and Biophysics. After completing his M.Sc. from S. P. Pune University, he also worked in a DST funded project at IISER Mohali for 1.5 years. He has previously acted as a reviewer for the transcripts of the course ‘Physics of Biological Systems’ on NPTEL.

Taught by

Prof. Mithun Mitra

Related Courses


Start your review of Physics of Biological Systems

Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free