Biophysics

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Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of physical science to study biological systems[1]. Studies included under the branches of biophysics span all levels of biological organization: from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. Biophysical research shares significant overlap with biochemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering, agrophysics and systems biology.

Molecular biophysics typically addresses biological questions that are similar to those in biochemistry and molecular biology, but the questions are approached quantitatively. Scientists in this field 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. A great variety of techniques are used to answer these questions.

Examples of questions in biophysics include:

  • how molecular motors like kinesin move
  • allometry, or the relationship between metabolism and organismal size
  • questions relating to the movement of fluids in small environments, and how this affects nutrient availability
  • error-proofing mechanisms in the construction of DNA and RNA
  • how biological structures like Holliday junctions and indentations in plasma membranes form
  • how cell signaling and transport are viable on small scales

References

  1. Careers in Biophysics brochure, Biophysical Society https://www.biophysics.org/Portals/1/PDFs/Career%20Center/Careers%20In%20Biophysics.pdf
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