Biophysics

Undergraduate Program

BiophysicsBiophysics is a highly interdisciplinary field which attempts to bridge the gap between biology and physics. The bridging of the two sciences can be either experimental (e.g., applying novel spectroscopies or microscopies to important problems in molecular or cellular biology) or theoretical (e.g., applying soft condensed matter theories of mechanical, phase transition, or thermodynamic properties to biological membranes or complexity theory to understanding biological self-organization). Often in biophysics, both experimental and theoretical work is done in the same group. In the Physics Department at the University of Michigan, a number of physics faculty members devote all or much of their research efforts to biophysics, and over the years many students have achieved Physics Ph.D.'s with a specialty in biophysics.

Some of the biophysics research at Michigan is centered in the LSA Biophysics Unit located in a contiguous complex of modern laboratories near the Physics Department. Faculty from several departments - Physics, Biology, Biological Chemistry and Chemistry - comprise the division, and faculty from Pharmacy, Physiology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, Dermatology, Pharmacology, the Dental School, and others frequently collaborate in research.

Related Programs
An entirely distinct program available at the University of Michigan leads to a Ph.D. in biophysics (rather than physics). The LSA Biophysics Unit is centered in the Biophysics Research Division. Several physics groups are involved in the Biophysics Ph.D. Program, which also involves numerous non-Physics groups that emphasize structure and function of biological molecules.

Faculty

Theory:
David Lubensky - Theoretical computational modeling - circadian clocks, pattern formation, epitheli
Kevin Wood - Theoretical and computational biophysics, complex systems
Michal Zochowski - Synchronization and dynamical control in simple nonlinear systems

Experiment:
Chris Meiners - DNA molecular dynamics, femtonewton force spectroscopy, optical tweezers
Jennifer Ogilvie - Ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy, protein dynamics, biological energy transfer
Roseanne Sension - Chemical reaction dynamics in fluids, sculpted light pulse control of reactions
Duncan Steel - Ultrasensitive laser spectroscopy applied to single DNA molecules
Sarah Veatch - Influence of lipids on cellular functions at the plasma membrane, fluorescence microscopy
Kevin Wood - Experimental microbial ecology, cancer biology and multi-drug resistance
Michal Zochowski - Optical imaging of large neuronal populations