Biology 446 - Unsolved Problems in Cell Biology - Fall 2012

Meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 AM-10:50 AM, Coker 119

Albert Harris:
Office 103 Wilson Hall; phone 966-1230
Home phone 493-1572 (Durham)

Office Hours: 11:00 to 1:00 Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 1:30-4:00 Friday, and by appointment



Some notes on funding for research [posted December 5]

Review Questions for Final Exam [last questions posted 9 pm December 6]

Issues for class discussion on November 28th

The immune system [posted October 29]

Monoclonal antibodies, illustrated [posted October 25]

Suggestions for the ENCODE reports [posted October 23]

Some of examples of using the ENCODE web sites [posted October 18]


the Potti and Nevins Duke scandal, notes and links for class discussion
[posted October 14; new material added October 15]

The Parable of Fighting Off Crocodile Attacks with Improved BB-guns and Fly-swatters
[posted October 15]


link to ENCODE web sites [posted September 28]

Practice for the erroneous paper assignment [posted September 25]


Some notes on Spontaneous arrangement to form shapes

Coming Attractions: notes on Scaling for a future class discussion

Read for Friday, September 21: Cell differentiation

Read for Wednesday, September 19: Some paradoxes of causation

Read for Monday, September 17: Tensegrity theory of the skeleton

Notes for Wednesday, September 12: The Stopak-Harris theory of collagen arrangement by fibroblast traction


Assignment distributed Monday, September 10: : most important points about Watson's discovery
[Same thing as Word file]


Assignment for Monday, September 10

Please read the following article before Monday's class. Try to figure out what the main arguments are, and be prepared to discuss their significance.

Jeremy B.A. Green (2008). Sophistications of cell sorting. Nature Cell Biology 10(4), 375-377


First assignment: Read James Watson's book The Double Helix and the two files linked below: 

 Questions for discussion of Watson and Crick [posted August 25th]



pictures of cartilage, collagen, bone and other connective tissue [posted September 5th]

Theories of Bone Formation [posted September 5th]

How to express amounts of solubility, mathematically [posted September 7th]


Another assignment: that reveals current and recent thinking by (mostly young) engineers about biological shapes. Wednesday after class, I googled my own name and found this URL:

It contains links in many interesting directions. Please take about a half hour to read it and follow links. Some are biological. You may be reminded of Alice in Wonderland, if she had visited The Borg. (Lots of smart people, thinking about important stuff).


Web links on the discovery of Helicobacter pylori as the cause of gastric ulcers


some notes on grading, from a past year's course

The Dreaded Erroneous Research Paper Assignment