biophysics plasma membrane

Molecular Biophysics

What is Molecular Biophysics?

Molecular biophysics brings fundamental principles and concepts from physics, chemistry, and engineering to bear on challenging problems in biology. The unifying theme is the quantitative analysis of biological systems at the molecular level, using a variety of experimental, theoretical, and computational methods. Dramatic advances in technology and computing power now enable unprecedented opportunities to unravel the structure and function relationships that underpin biological systems and to use these discoveries to understand the molecular basis of disease.

Molecular Biophysics at UMMS

Biophysical research at UMMS explores molecular recognition and function in protein-protein, protein-DNA and protein-RNA complexes (Kelch, Korostelev, Lambright, PetersonRoyer, Ryder, Sontheimer, SternWeng, Xu, and Zamore labs); map energy surfaces for protein folding reactions (Matthews, Bilsel, and Zitzewitz labs); probe the molecular consequences of drug resistance (Schiffer lab); understand the mechanism of toxicity for neurodegenerative diseases (Bilsel, Matthews, Massi, and Zitzewitz labs); learn how membranes fuse and transport molecules across the lipid bilayer (Munson, Kobertz and Carruthers labs); probe structure and dynamics in RNA/protein complexes (Korostelev, Massi, Ryder, and Zitzewitz  labs); use molecular dynamics simulations to better understand biopolymers (Massi and Schiffer labs); develop nanoparticle tools for imaging and drug delivery (Han and Khvorova labs); examine the structure and dynamic properties of single molecules (Matthews, Bilsel, Zitzewitz, and Zamore labs); explore molecular evolution (Zeldovich, Matthews, and Bolon labs); and develop new microscopes and software to study individual molecules in living cells (Grünwald lab). All of these studies are supported by a variety of technology, including crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, NMR spectroscopy, calorimetry, fluorescence, circular dichroism and dynamic and multi-angle light scattering spectroscopy, TIRF microscopy, mass spectrometry and high performance computing.

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