Modern biology has become a quantitative science. Physically accurate measurements on biological molecules in action are wide spread. These measurements in cellular and non-cellular environments provide considerable insight into biological control, energy conversion, signaling and more, and beg for detailed physical and mathematical modeling. Unfortunately higher accuracy does not imply simplicity. The complexity of biological systems with their numerous safety mechanisms, redundancy, and intricate network of biochemical reactions and interactions is significant. Modeling the network as a whole or even a small component is a major challenge.

Molecular Biophysics (MBP) addresses this challenge by examining in detail the function and properties of the basic building blocks - the biological molecules. Examples of problems that are investigated within the framework of MBP are:

  1. protein and RNA folding
  2. ion permeation through channels and membrane transport,
  3. and
  4. conversion of biochemical to mechanical energy.

Biologists, biochemists, physicists, theoreticians and computational scientists seek advanced mathematical modeling of these systems that are subject to continuous verification and assessment by appropriate experiments. As accurate data on biochemical function continue to grow the demands for these models and for trained personnel that can use them effectively increases. Developments and applications of appropriate models require knowledge in physical and mathematical aspects of the problem, as well as comprehension of biological data and queries. To address this need we put together a selected set of courses that bridge the gap that still exists between biology and physics.

The field brings together scientists from biology, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, mechanical engineering, pharmacy, physics, mathematics, and computer science. To enhance the position of the University in recruiting exceptional students in this expanding area, to recognize the efforts of students that research in MBP, and to create a platform for furthering interactions of students and faculty from different departments and colleges, we created a portfolio program in Molecular Biophysics.