Biophysics

Biophysics

Biophysics uses physical methods to study biological systems and the field can be broadly divided into three main fields: molecular, cellular, and systems biophysics.

At Berkeley, molecular biophysicists detect and manipulate single molecules to elucidate molecular motors, protein folding, polymer (biopolymer) physics, single molecule rheology, dynamics of complex processes such as transcription, replication, translation, etc. Cellular biophysicists look at molecular mechanisms of channel gating, the design and building of alternative chemical network wiring inside cells, the imaging of fundamental cell processes, and they create computational models of cellular metabolic control and molecular switches.

The field of systems biophysics, also represented in the Physics Department at Berkeley, aims at describing collective phenomena and addresses evolutionary and ecological dynamics of populations, biofilm development, sensory studies, neural development, synapse organization, neural transmission, as well as the functional imaging of the brain and spatio-temporal coordination of movement. 

Physics Faculty

Theorists

Oskar Hallatschek

Assistant Professor

Biography

Research: Biophysics Theory and Experiments

Research Interests

The complexity of the biological world demonstrates that chance can produce powerful results since evolution is ultimately driven by random mutational events.

Rainer Sachs (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Professor of Physics and Mathematics, UC Berkeley, since 1968, Emeritus since 1993. B.Sc. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D. from Syracuse University, 1958. 1959-62. Postdocs and Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Experimentalists

Carlos Bustamante

Professor

Biography

Carlos Bustamante received his B.S. in 1973 from Universidad Peruana Cayatano Heredia; M.S. in 1975 from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos; Ph.D.

Research Interests

Fifty years ago, biochemists described cells as small vessels that contain a complex mixture of chemical species undergoing reactions through diffusion and random collision.

Michael DeWeese

Assistant Professor

Biography

Michael DeWeese received his BA (1988) in physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his PhD (1995) in physics from Princeton University.

Research Interests

Having to focus on one voice in a crowded room of boisterous speakers is a common experience for most of us, and we humans are extremely good at it, yet the latest algorithms running on the fastest modern computers fail miserably at isolating a single voice from a noisy background in all but the

Ahmet Yildiz

Assistant Professor

Biography

Ahmet Yildiz received his Ph.D. in biophysics at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2004. During his Ph.D., he developed a single fluorescent particle tracking method with one-nanometer accuracy and showed how molecular motors of cytoskeleton walk along linear tracks inside cells.

Research Interests

Yildiz laboratory combines molecular biology and biophysical techniques to understand mechanisms that underlie the cellular organization and motility.