Navigation Links
Biophysics


Biophysics (also biological physics) is an interdisciplinary science that applies theories and methods of the physical sciences to questions of biology. Biophysics research today comprises a number of specific biological studies, which do not share a unique identifying factor, or subject themselves to clear and concise definitions. This is the result of biophysics' relatively recent appearance as a scientific discipline. The studies included under the umbrella of biophysics range from sequence comparison to neural networks. In the recent past, biophysics included creating mechanical limbs and nanomachines to regulate biological functions. Nowadays, these are more commonly referred to as belonging to the fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology respectively. We may expect these definitions to further refine themselves.

Contents

Overview

Traditional studies in biology are conducted using statistical ensemble experiments, using molar concentrations of macromolecules. Because the molecules that comprise living cells are so small, techniques such as PCR amplification, gel blotting, fluorescence labeling and in vivo staining are used so that experimental results are observable with an unaided eye or, at most, optical magnification. Using these techniques, biologists attempt to elucidate the complex systems of interactions that give rise to the processes that make life possible. Biophysics typically addresses biological questions similar to those in biology, but the questions are asked at a molecular (i.e. low Reynolds number) level. By drawing knowledge and experimental techniques from a wide variety of disciplines (as described below), biophysicists are able to indirectly observe or model the structures and interactions of individual molecules or complexes of molecules. In addition things like solving a protein structure or measuring the kinetics of single molecule interactions, biophysics is also understood to encompass research areas that apply models and experimental techniques derived from physics (e.g. electromagnetism and quantum mechanics) to larger systems such as tissues or organs (hence the inclusion of basic neuroscience as well as more applied techniques such as fMRI).

Biophysics often does not have university-level departments of its own, but have presence as groups across departments within the fields of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, physics, and neuroscience. What follows is a list of examples of how each department applies its efforts toward the study of biophysics. This list is hardly all inclusive. Nor does each subject of study belong exclusively to any particular department. Each academic institution makes its own rules and there is much mixing between departments.

  • Biology and molecular biology - Almost all biophysics efforts are included in some biology department somewhere. To include some: gene regulation, single protein dynamics, bioenergetics, patch clamping, biomechanics.
  • Structural Biology - angstrom-resolution structures of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and complexes thereof.
  • Biochemistry and chemistry - biomolecular structure, siRNA, nucleic acid structure, structure-activity relationships.
  • Computer science - molecular simulations, sequence alignment, neural networks, databases.
  • Mathematics - graph/network theory, population modeling, phylogenetical analysis .
  • Medicine and neuroscience - tackling neural networks experimentally (brain slicing) as well as theoretically (computer models), membrane permitivity, gene therapy, understanding tumors.
  • Pharmacology and physiology - channel biology, biomolecular interactions, cellular membranes, polyketides.
  • Physics - biomolecular free energy, biomolecular structures and dynamics, protein folding, stochastic processes, surface dynamics.

Many biophysical techniques are unique to this field. Many of the research traditions in biophysics were initiated by scientists who were straight physicists, chemists, and biologists by training.

Topics in biophysics and related fields

Famous biophysicists

Other notable biophysicists

References

  • Perutz M.F. Proteins and Nucleic Acids, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1962
  • Perutz M.F. The haemoglobin molecule.- Proc.Roy.Soc., B 173, 1969, pp. 113-140
  • Dogonadze R.R. and Urushadze Z.D. Semi-Classical Method of Calculation of Rates of Chemical Reactions Proceeding in Polar Liquids.- J.Electroanal.Chem., 32, 1971, pp. 235-245
  • Volkenshtein M.V., Dogonadze R.R., Madumarov A.K., Urushadze Z.D. and Kharkats Yu.I. Theory of Enzyme Catalysis.- Molekuliarnaya Biologia (Moscow), 6, 1972, pp. 431-439 (In Russian, English summary)

See also

External links


'"/>


(Date:8/6/2015)... Germany , August 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) shows the world,s first ... based on Epson,s Moverio BT-200 see-through head mounted display ... new solution, unprecedented quality and efficiency is brought to ... displays. For the first time, professionals and researchers can ...
(Date:8/5/2015)... August 5, 2015 According to ... Management Market by Software, Services, Vertical (BFSI, Airport, IT & ... - Global Forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, defines ... globally into various segments. The global PIAM Market is ... $546.2 Million by 2019, at a CAGR of 14.9 ...
(Date:8/5/2015)... Calif. , Aug. 5, 2015 The ... continuous growth in applications, penetration into newer sectors, and ... year. The global biosensors space has seen the entry ... the market so far. (Photo - ... & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Biosensors Market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):SMI Shows First Eye Tracking Upgrade for Augmented Reality Glasses 2SMI Shows First Eye Tracking Upgrade for Augmented Reality Glasses 3Physical Identity and Access Management Market Worth $546.2 Million by 2019 2Physical Identity and Access Management Market Worth $546.2 Million by 2019 3Physical Identity and Access Management Market Worth $546.2 Million by 2019 4Innovative Biosensors Incite Use in Non-Traditional Applications 2Innovative Biosensors Incite Use in Non-Traditional Applications 3Innovative Biosensors Incite Use in Non-Traditional Applications 4
... 16, 2010) Researchers at Tufts University School of ... sequence that promotes increased numbers of specific microRNAs (miRNAs), ... The discovery helps researchers understand the links between miRNA ... findings are published in the August 13 issue of ...
... called microRNAs, control protein production primarily by causing the ... to be disabled by the cell, according to Whitehead ... microRNAs control protein production by causing the mRNAs to ... microRNAs impart by jamming the process that translates mRNAs ...
... Madrid, August 16, 2010.- Over 1.500 breast pathology experts will ... 16th World Congress of the Senologic International Society (SIS). This ... Senology and Breast Diseases (SESPM) will take place in the ... According to Dr. Carlos Vzquez, president of the SIS and ...
Cached Biology News:Newly identified RNA sequence is key in microRNA processing 2RNA snippets control protein production by disabling mRNAs 2RNA snippets control protein production by disabling mRNAs 31,500 worldwide experts debate the latest advances in breast pathologies' treatments in Valencia 2
Other biology definitionOther Tags