Harvard:Biophysics 101/2018

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Biophysics 101: Genomics, Computing, and Economics


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Spring 2018 Course overview

Focuses on modern technologies with exponential growth and their impact on global quality of life through weekly updated Wiki class project (in-depth case studies on synthetic biology and personal genomics). Integrating knowledge, tools for research, and commercial decision-making concerning new aspects of bioengineering, personalized medicine, genetically modified organisms, and stem cells. Interplays of biophysical, ecological, economic, and social/ethical modeling will be explored through multi-disciplinary teams of students, and individual brief reports.

This course can be cross-registered through MIT under HST.510. Also listed as Harvard Biophysics 242r.

Potential course projects

  • Genome-wide codon recoding : Industrial microbes, agricultural plants & animals, human therapies
  • Global warming reversal
  • H. sapiens 2.0  : Space Genetics & Colonies
  • Aging Reversal Roadmap : GenAge Database


  • Meeting time: Tue & Thu 10-11:30 AM or 4:00-5:30pm or other (TBD soon, so please feel free to make suggestions)
  • Location: TBD, suggestions welcome.
  • No exams ; no prerequisites
  • Grading: Based on problem sets and project milestones.


Day / Date Lecturer Topic Day / Date Lecturer Title
Tue Jan 23 George Church (1) Exponentials : r/K, Logistic, Poisson. Existential risks, communication. Thu Jan 25 TF (1) Problem set discussion
Tue Jan 30 George Church (2) Finishing a human genome & sequencing the Biosphere Thu Feb 1 TF (2) Problem set discussion
Tue Feb 6 George Church (3) Genome Edit/Write (far beyond CRISPR), Codon Recoding Thu Feb 8 TF (3) Problem set discussion
Tue Feb 13 George Church (4) In situ Sequencing : Mammalian Cell Atlas & BRAIN Initiative Thu Feb 15 TF (4) Problem set discussion
Tue Feb 20 George Church (5) Epigenetic programming, signaling pathways, SynEvoDevo Thu Feb 22 TF (5) Problem set discussion
Tue Feb 27 TBD (6) Microbiomes Thu Mar 1 TF (6) Problem set discussion
Tue Mar 6 George Church (7) Synthetic Organs for VUS & Transplantation Thu Mar 8 No class Biophysics recruitment
Tue Mar 13 No class Spring break Thu Mar 15 No class Spring break
Tue Mar 20 George Church (8) Aging Reversal Thu Mar 22 TF (7,8) Problem set discussion
Tue Mar 27 George Church (9) Global Warming Thu Mar 29 TF (9) Problem set discussion
Tue Apr 3 George Church (10) Germline editing & H. sapiens 2.0 Thu Apr 5 TF (10) Problem set discussion
Tue Apr 10 TF Pre-presentation 1 Thu Apr 12 TF Pre-presentation 2
Tue Apr 17 Students Final Presentations Thu Apr 19 Students Final Presentations
Tue Apr 24 Students Final Presentations Thu Apr 26 TF Follow up

Additional Documentation

Please visit the Documentation page for information on publications, computational resources & team projects.

Previous & Related Course Links