Biophysics has century-old roots in the application of physical techniques, such as x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance and high-resolution microscopy, to better understand biological structures. Fantastic progress in molecular biology over the last few decades has given birth to techniques that make it possible to address whole biological systems, which are both complex (with many variables) and dynamic (changing in time), with a powerful combination of quantitative measurement and mathematical modeling that is transforming biology into a physical science. Biophysics today is expanding to embrace this trend, and BMSE at UCSB is leading the way. BMSE Biophysics is quantitative bioscience at its best: spanning the spectrum from proteins to pathways to cells, tissues, organisms and even ecosystems, and pioneering new techniques in single-molecule measurement, biomimetic molecular assembly, automated image analysis, high-throughput computation and mathematical modeling.
The origin of life; principles of biomolecular function and design; evolutionary systems biology; phage therapy.
Biochemistry; protein structure and function relationships; protein dynamics; chemotaxis in bacteria.
Physical foundations of macromolecular technology: self-assembly, polymer mechanics and stability, energy transport, diffusion, and DNA-based nanotechnology.
Intermolecular and surface forces in colloidal and biocolloidal systems and materials, adhesion, and friction.
RNA folding and evolution; nucleic acid-based bionanotechnology and biomaterials; emergence of complexity in living systems.
Optical methods for the study of single biological macromolecules; applications of microfluidic devices.
Nanomedicine and bioengineering to explore fundamental biology, construct new approaches to disease diagnosis, and develop effective means for disease prevention, therapy, and cure.
Bio-nano technology including molecular mechanisms controlling self assembly, emergent properties of biomolecular systems from minerals to dynamically tunable color in octopus skin; translation to revolutionary new routes to semiconductors, optoelectronics and energy.
Soft condensed matter theory including biopolymer and biomembrane electrostatics, protein-membrane interactions, biopolymer solutions, and solution properties of conjugated polymers.
Bioengineering and protein biophysics.
Enzymology of enzymes that modify nucleic acids, including bacterial and human epigenetic enzymes with biomedical relevance. Protein engineering, inhibitor design. Drug development. Nanoparticle-based delivery of siRNA, proteins, and drugs into cells (cancer/embryonic stem cell) and animals. Laser-dependent spatio-temporal control of drug targeting.
Structures and interactions in complex fluids and biological systems; new materials for gene delivery into mammalian cells.
We use ideas and concepts from physics, computer science, and mathematics to ask how embryos get in shape, and how organs function. To answer our questions, we develop and use methods that enable quantitative analysis at the level of whole organs.
Design, synthesis, and characterization of new bioinorganic materials with an emphasis on understanding interface assembly & control of bioprocesses.
Ion channels in the nervous system and cardiac muscle; molecular mechanisms of ion channel trafficking, regulation, and signal transduction.