Course detail


FEKT-NBFYAcad. year: 2015/2016

Interpretation of bioelectric phenomena. Electrical activity of living tissue on molecular, cellular and organ level. Methods of measurement of membrane voltage and membrane currents in isolated cells, recording of random pulse signals from membrane channels on molecular level. Origin and propagation of impulses of action voltage. Cellular basis of diagnostically significant electromagnetic field generated by organs. Coupling between electrical excitation and muscle contraction. Introduction to biomechanics. Mechanics of cardiovascular system. Introduction to biothermodynamics. Gibbs energy and electrochemical potentials in biophysics. Biophysics of ecosystem.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Having finished the subject, the student is able:
- applying the known physical laws to explain genesis of membrane voltage in the living cells and to define quantities that appear in the Nernst formula for equilibrium voltages,
- to describe electrical equivalent scheme of the cell,
- to explain origin of action voltages in excitable cells and mechanism of its propagation along cell fibers,
- to describe principles of the methods of measurement of membrane voltage and membrane current,
- to characterize electrical signals recorded on cellular and molecular level and to explain their mutual relations,
- to describe differences between the function of membrane channels and carriers,
- to describe the relation between the propagated excitation at the level of cell and genesis of electromagnetic field in the surrounding tissue,
- to describe origin of ECG signal as a result of action voltage propagation in the net of cardiac cells (syncytium),
- to prepare physiological solutions including measurement and adjustment of their pH, to measure tissue impedance and properties of the electrodes,
- to explain principles of excitation-contraction coupling in muscle cells,
- to apply physical principles to situation in cardiovascular system,
- to define the terms ‘chemical potential’ and ‘electrochemical potential’, and to illustrate their importance in interpretation of bioelectric phenomena,
- to discuss the function of the ecosystem (circulation of substance and flow of energy) from the viewpoint of thermodynamics.


The subject knowledge on the Bachelor´s degree level is requested.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

J.Šimurda: Bioelektrické jevy I, CERM Brno, 1995
Ghista D.N., Van Vollenhoven E., Yang W.J., Reul H., Bleifeld W.: Advances in Cardiovascular Physics, Karger, Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Tokyo-Sydney,1983
Peusner L.: Základy bioenergetiky, Alfa Bratislava, 1984
F. Bezanilla: Electrophysiology and the Molecular Basis of Excitability. (University of California at Los Angeles)
R.Plonsey, R.C. Barr: Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach. Plenum Press, New York, 1988
Biophysics - Wikipedie - the free encyklopedia
Weiss,Thomas Fischer: Cellular Biophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,1996

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Requirements for completion of a course are specified by a regulation issued by the lecturer responsible for the course and updated for every academic year.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

Scope of biophysics, genesis and function of electrical signals in living cells.
Physical grounding of bioelectric phenomena, model, el. equivalent circuit. Physical interpretation of resting membrane voltage and action voltage. Propagation of action voltage in cellular fibres and in syncytium. Quantitative description. Methods of measurement and analysis of membrane voltage and membrane currents.
Bioelectrical signals on molecular level. Membrane channels and carriers. Methods of measurement. Drug – channel interactions.
Excitable cell as a source of electromagnetic field. Quantitative description of electromagnetic field generated by biological sources based on Maxwell equations.
Biomechanics of muscle. Excitation-contraction coupling. Molecular basis of contraction. Mechanics of cardiovascular system (CVS). Architecture and physical properties of the CVS, quantitative modelling of CVS.
Introduction to biothermodynamics. Gibbs energy, chemical and electrochemical potential, Principles of bioenergetics. Energetics of chemical reactions. Turnover of energy and mass in ecosystem. Derivation and consequences of Nernst-Planck equation.
Thermodynamics of bioelectrical phenomena. Electrical impedance of the living tissue.


The aim is to teach students to apply physical theories and experimental methods to living organisms.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

The content and forms of instruction in the evaluated course are specified by a regulation issued by the lecturer responsible for the course and updated for every academic year.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme EEKR-MN Master's

    branch MN-BEI , 1. year of study, winter semester, 5 credits, theoretical subject

Type of course unit



39 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer