Cooper Union Fall 2008

ECE 401.1 Selected Topics: Bioelectricity


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It is widely known that not only are many cells within the body sensitive to electrical stimuli, but that much electricity is generated within the body during daily life.  This course will begin with a presentation of the principles of ion transport and electrochemical equilibrium that are the basis for the resting potentials of cellular membranes. Circuit and cable theory will then be applied to model the passive charging and discharging behavior of cellular membranes. The Hodgkin-Huxley model for the transient changes in membrane conductances underlying the action potential will then be presented. These principles will then be extended to understand the generation and propagation of signals within the nervous system and the heart, the largest bioelectrical source in the body.

Experts from the field will present current ongoing research incorporating an understanding of bioelectricity including topics in developmental biology, regenerative medicine, neural prostheses and tissue engineering. In addition, students will present on topics of their own interest within the field. 

50% Homework assignments (weekly, 10 total, best 9 counted)
30% Final exam
10% Student Presentation
10% Class Participation

Homework (50%)
1. Each student is required to submit an individual solution for each assignment.  While students are encouraged to discuss the homework assignments, the submitted solutions must reflect individual effort; solutions suspected of being tainted by direct plagiarism will receive no credit, and the case will be referred to the appropriate Academic Dean.

2. Solutions must be done neatly on 8.5” X 11” paper, portrait orientation.  On the first page, indicate name and assignment number. At top of subsequent pages, include name.

3. Unless other arrangements are made 24 hours in advance, late homework will discounted with the following formula:
within 1 hr of due time: 10%
1-24 hrs late: 25%
24-48 hrs late: 50%
48-72 hrs late: 75%
72-96 hrs late: 100% (but brownie points earned)

Keep in mind that delivery of late homework must be arranged--I will accept faxes or emails of scanned pages with hard copy to follow since I will only be on campus once per week.  

Exam (30%)
This 3-hour final exam will be cumulative and based upon the homework assignments given throughout the semester.  Some rules:

1. Alternate exam times must be approved and scheduled with me at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled exam time.  An unexcused absence from your exam will result in a grade of zero.
2. Allowed materials: Course books, your notes, class notes.
3. Prohibited materials include: homework problems.
4. Use of wireless / cellular devices during exams is not allowed.
5. A scientific or basic calculator is needed for exams--buy one now if you don't have one!  However, computers, graphing calculators or handheld computer/calculators will not be allowed.

Student Presentation (10%)
Students will each give a 10-15 minute presentation on a topic of their choosing with relevance to the course.  Creativity in the choice of topic is HIGHLY encouraged and I am available to help with brainstorming. 

Class Participation (10%)
I hope this class will be a fun learning experience for all parties involved, and one of the best ways for this to happen in my view is by engaging in as lively a discussion as possible.