The Center for Biological Physics (CBP) at ASU currently has 15 faculty. The CBP teaches a survey course each year to incoming graduate students, which is designed for new graduate students with a background in Physics, Chemistry or Math, who have an interest in quantitative biology.
Faculty interests range from molecular imaging and modeling of biomolecules to understanding human disease and models for growth of cancerous tumors etc. This research emphasizes physics techniques and methodologies applied to problems of current interest in biology. Examples of the research include simulations of proteins at the atomic level, using molecular dynamics and also geometrical modeling methods. The CBP has expertise that ranges from the molecular to the cellular level. Different levels of detail are required to model different biological processes, and the key in many of the new research projects is to understand what level of detail is appropriate to model a particular process. New simulations are actively under development, and applied to both fundamental problems such as protein folding and the connection between mobility and function in proteins and protein complexes, as well as applications to drug design and the interaction of infectious proteins (prions) that cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Research is continuing in neural hypersynchrony, a state where many neurons in the brain become become synchronized in their activities and can lead to seizures. Researchers in the CBP are involved with commercial interests with software development for big Pharma and biotech companies and with further development of the Atomic Force Microscope for use in biological systems.
Transportation of energy in biology is driven by moving charge across membranes. Such processes, well studied in physics and chemistry, are vital for photosynthesis and respiration, and are being modeled by researchers in the CBP. Optical studies involoving single molecules are yielding insights that would have been impossible just a few years ago. On the cellular level, biological models describing tumor growth and embryonic development have been developed and validated against experiment.
There are many ongoing interactions with researchers in Chemistry & Biochemistry, Physics, School of Life Sciences and the Biodesign Institute at ASU as well as with numerous groups around the world. Outreach opportunities are available both to the scientific community as well as the general public. The CBP fosters continued interest in biological physics and related sciences through seminars, public lectures, special Q&A lunch sessions with students, conferences/workshops and sponsoring visiting faculty. Links to these and other activities can be accessed through these pages.
We welcome inquires which should be addressed to the appropriate researchers that you can find through these www pages or to the program coordinator Deanna Clark .