Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of chemistry and physics—among others—in order to study biological systems. Biophysicists conduct research concerned with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interactions between DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis, as well as how these interactions are regulated. The Department of Physics works collaboratively with JILA as well as academic departments across campus in order to conduct research in this field.
The Molecular Biophysics Program at the University of Colorado is a collaborative effort involving students, postdocs and faculty from four departments on the Boulder campus, including the Department of Physics. The program is jointly sponsored by NIH and CU. Participants share a common interest in biological systems, and seek to understand these systems in terms of physical and chemical principles.
The program sponsors Biophysics Supergroup Seminars throughout the school year.
The Biophysicists at JILA-NIST apply tools and concepts from physics to the understanding of living systems at the molecular level. This field promises to yield answers to important questions about the structure, dynamics, function, and interactions of biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. New instruments are allowing researchers to measure distances much shorter than the wavelength of light (nanometers) and forces as small as one trillionth of the force required to hold an apple against Earth's gravity (piconewtons). Biophysics researchers study protein dynamics, RNA folding dynamics, and single molecule biophysics.
The physics department participates in the IQ Biology graduate program, which allows physics PhD students to take interdisciplinary courses in biophysics, do research rotations, and receive a certificate in IQ Biology as part of their PhD. More information and application information available at iqbiology.colorado.edu.