Biophysics: Wikis

  
  
  
  

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biophysics (also biological physics or biophysical chemistry) is an interdisciplinary science that employs and develops theories and methods of the physical sciences for the investigation of 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.

Fluorescent imaging techniques, as well as electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are often used to visualize structures of biological significance. Conformational change in structure can be measured using techniques such as dual polarisation interferometry and circular dichroism. Direct manipulation of molecules using optical tweezers or AFM can also be used to monitor biological events where forces and distances are at the nanoscale. Molecular biophysicists often consider complex biological events as systems of interacting units which can be understood through statistical mechanics, thermodynamics and chemical kinetics. By drawing knowledge and experimental techniques from a wide variety of disciplines, biophysicists are often able to directly observe, model or even manipulate the structures and interactions of individual molecules or complexes of molecules.

In addition to traditional (i.e. molecular and cellular) biophysical topics like structural biology or enzyme kinetics, modern biophysics encompasses an extraordinarily broad range of research. It is becoming increasingly common for biophysicists to apply the models and experimental techniques derived from physics, as well as mathematics and statistics, to larger systems such as tissues, organs, populations and ecosystems.

Contents

Focus as a subfield

Biophysics often does not have university-level departments of its own, but has presence as groups across departments within the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, physics, and neuroscience. What follows is a list of examples of how each department applies its efforts toward the study of biophysics. This list is hardly all inclusive. Nor does each subject of study belong exclusively to any particular department. Each academic institution makes its own rules and there is much overlap between departments.

Many biophysical techniques are unique to this field. Research efforts in biophysics are often initiated by scientists who were traditional physicists, chemists, and biologists by training.

Topics in biophysics and related fields

Molecular biophysics

Cellular biophysics

Techniques used in biophysics

Other

Famous biophysicists

Other notable biophysicists

See also

Notes

References

  • Perutz MF (1962). Proteins and Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. Amsterdam: Elsevier. ASIN B000TS8P4G.  
  • Perutz MF (1969). "The haemoglobin molecule". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B 173 (31): 113–40.   PMID 4389425
  • Dogonadze RR, Urushadze ZD (1971). "Semi-Classical Method of Calculation of Rates of Chemical Reactions Proceeding in Polar Liquids". J Electroanal Chem 32: 235–245.  
  • Volkenshtein M.V., Dogonadze R.R., Madumarov A.K., Urushadze Z.D. and Kharkats Yu.I. Theory of Enzyme Catalysis.- Molekuliarnaya Biologia (Moscow), 6, 1972, pp. 431-439 (In Russian, English summary)
  • Rodney M. J. Cotterill (2002). Biophysics : An Introduction. Wiley. ISBN 978-0471485384.  
  • Sneppen K, Zocchi G (2005-10-17). Physics in Molecular Biology (1 ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-84419-3.  
  • Glaser, Roland (2004-11-23). Biophysics: An Introduction (Corrected ed.). Springer. ISBN 3-540-67088-2.  
  • Hobbie RK, Roth BJ (2006). Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology (4th ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-0387309422. http://personalwebs.oakland.edu/~roth/hobbie.htm.  
  • Cooper WG (2009). "Evidence for transcriptase quantum processing implies entanglement and decoherence of superposition proton states". BioSystems 97: 73–89.  
  • Cooper WG (2009). "Necessity of quantum coherence to account for the spectrum of time-dependent mutations exhibited by bacteriophage T4". Biochem. Genet. 47: 892.  

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Simple English

Biophysics is a science where the laws of physics are used to study biology, the science on life and living things. Unlike biochemistry and molecular biology, sciences where macromolecules or "large" groups of molecules are studied, biophysicists study single or small groups of molecules.








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