Research

Biophysics research within the Center spans many scales, from the structural organization of polymers to the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of populations. Prof. Benedek is one of the pioneers in the biophysics of “soft” materials, and currently works on various forms of protein condensations and phase transitions. Prof. Cisse uses physical techniques to visualize weak and transient biological interactions, to study emergent phenomena in live cells with single molecule sensitivity. Prof. Gore uses experimentally tractable laboratory populations to test fundamental ideas in theoretical ecology and evolutionary dynamics. Prof. van Oudenaarden studies the statistical physics of biological networks, such as the role of noise in cellular decision-making, development, and differentiation. On the theoretical front, Prof. Kardar is a statistical physicist with interests in pattern formation, protein knots, and the immune response. Prof. England and his group focus on structure, function, and evolution in the molecular biophysical realm. Finally, three theorists have joint appointments in the Department. Prof. Mirny is a computational systems biologist with major efforts devoted to characterizing the spatial organization of the genome and the evolutionary dynamics in cancer. Prof. Seung is a computational neuroscientist trying to elucidate the “connectome” of the brain. Prof. Chakraborty’s work is focused on developing and applying statistical mechanical methods that can complement biological experiments and clinical data to understand how the adaptive immune system works.