PHY3061 The Biophysics of Cells and Tissues 2022-23
Prof. J.R. Meakin
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-11
Level: 6 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 44 students (approx)


This module describes the fundamental physical properties of biomolecules, cells and tissues and introduces some of the biophysical and biomechanical challenges in understanding the behaviour of normal tissues and their failures in disease.

Module Aims

The physical properties of tissues and their constituent cells and biomolecules are central to their biological functions. Physical processes are also vital to normal growth and development and diseases, ranging from arthritis to cancer, may be related to failures in these processes.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

  1. Introduction to cells, tissues and the extracellular matrix
    1. Proteoglycans
    2. Diffusion of solutes
    3. Hydraulic conductivity
    4. Poroelasticity
    5. Viscoelasticity
    6. Fibrous proteins
    7. Fibre composites
  2. Cells
    1. Cell membranes
    2. Membrane proteins
    3. Cytoskeleton
    4. Cell mechanics
    5. Mechanotransduction
  3. Tissues
    1. Cartilage
    2. Tendon and ligament
    3. Bone
    4. Muscle
    5. Blood and vessels
  4. Experimental models
  5. Repair, replace, and regenerate

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
20×1-hour lectures 20 hours SLT
2×1-hour problems/revision classes 2 hours SLT
5×6-hour self-study packages 30 hours GIS
4×4-hour problem sets 16 hours GIS
Reading, private study and revision 82 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Guided self-study 5×6-hour packages Fortnightly 1-6 Discussion in class
0% 4 × Problems sets 4 hours per set Fortnightly 1-6 Solutions discussed in problems classes.
100% Final Examination 2 hours 30 minutes January 1-6 Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions.


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Vector Mechanics (PHY1021), Properties of Matter (PHY1024) and Thermal Physics (PHY2023)
Co-requisite Modules none


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment
Whole module Written examination (100%) 1-6 August/September assessment period

Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 22 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 128 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 0%
Written exams 100%
Practical exams 0%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • N/A this is an optional module
Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Placeholder; Main; Topic placeholder; Specific; Cells; Tissues placeholder; Tissues; Specific skill; Biophysics; .
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised N/A